The Dash Diet Weight Loss Solution: 2 Weeks to Drop Pounds, Boost Metabolism, and Get Healthy

The Dash Diet Weight Loss Solution: 2 Weeks to Drop Pounds, Boost Metabolism, and Get Healthy

by Marla Heller


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New York Times bestselling author Marla Heller provides readers with a new DASH diet program specifically for losing weight fast and keeping it off for good, named "#1 Best Diet Overall" by US News & World Report, for eight years in a row!
The DASH diet isn't just for healthy living anymore-now it's for healthy weight loss, too. Using the key elements of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and proven, never-before-published NIH research, bestselling author, foremost DASH dietitian and leading nutrition expert Marla Heller has created the most effective diet for quick-and lasting-weight loss. Based on the diet rated the #1 Best Overall Diet by Us News & World Report, this effective and easy program includes menu plans, recipes, shopping lists, and more. Everything you need to lose weight and get healthy!

With a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy, lean meats, fish and poultry, nuts, beans and seeds, heart healthy fats, and whole grains, you will drop pounds and revolutionize your health, while eating foods you love. In just 2-weeks you'll experience:

  • Faster metabolism
  • Lower body fat
  • Improved strength and cardiovascular fitness
  • Plus lower cholesterol and blood pressure without medication, without counting calories!
As effective as the original DASH is for heart health, the program is now formulated for weight loss!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455512799
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 12/18/2012
Series: A DASH Diet Book Series
Pages: 246
Sales rank: 44,917
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Marla Heller is a Registered Dietitian, and holds a Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where she completed doctoral course work in public health, specializing in Behavior Sciences and Health Promotion. Marla is experienced in a wide variety of nutrition counseling specialties. She has been an adjunct clinical instructor in the Department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics at UIC, teaching courses on food science and nutrition counseling, and has also taught at Dominican University, National-Louis University, and the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (a chef-training school).

Read an Excerpt

The Dash Diet Weight Loss Solution

2 Weeks to Drop Pounds, Boost Metabolism, and Get Healthy
By Marla Heller

Grand Central Life & Style

Copyright © 2012 Marla Heller
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781455512799


Conquering Weight Loss—The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

It’s about time! The DASH diet has already been named the “Best Overall Diet” and the “Healthiest Diet” by U.S. News & World Report. Now The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution turns it into America’s best weight loss diet, as well. This plan is specifically designed to supercharge weight loss, giving you the boost you need to achieve your goals quickly, easily, and with results that will last. The health benefits of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet are well known. It lowers blood pressure in 14 days. It lowers cholesterol and improves brain function. People who follow the DASH diet have lower rates of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and some types of cancer, including BRCA negative breast cancer. Additionally, people who follow the DASH eating plan are less likely to develop diabetes or kidney stones.

The DASH diet has been one of the best-kept secrets for healthy eating. And now, previously overlooked research provides the foundation for enhanced weight loss results. Based on scientific evidence, and the real world success I’ve personally seen with hundreds of clients, the program in The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution attacks weight loss with the same efficiency and effectiveness that it attacks our nation’s leading health problems. With this book, you can deploy DASH to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.

You are already reading this book, so we know you are interested in reaching and maintaining a healthier weight. And you have chosen a diet plan that will actually make you healthier as you move toward your goal. Many quick weight loss plans are very difficult to follow in a normal, active life. Or the plans are great for initiating weight loss, but they aren’t sustainable and wouldn’t be healthy if you did sustain them for any period of time. The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution is a plan that you and your family can follow for the long run. In fact, it is based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It is a two-phase plan guaranteed to boost weight loss. Phase One is a two-week transition to reset your metabolism. This protein-rich eating plan will keep you satisfied longer and will help jump-start your weight loss, resulting in fast, visible results. Phase Two includes whole grains and fruits, as well as lots of nonstarchy vegetables and lean proteins, and will help you continue to lose weight. In addition to looking and feeling better, you will also improve your cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. The results have been proven and the research backs it up. You will also find detailed meal plans, pantry stocking advice, grocery shopping tips—and dozens of delicious recipes to incorporate into your diet.

What has the research shown?

Over 67% of Americans are overweight or obese. And excess weight is not just a cosmetic problem. The yearly direct health care costs for obesity hit $147 billion in 2008, accounting for almost 10% of all health care costs in the United States. On average, someone who is obese spends $1,500 per year extra for medical care than someone of healthy weight.

What are some of the health problems that are more common in people who carry too much weight? Health issues can include hypertension (high blood pressure); type 2 diabetes; joint problems; sleep apnea; coronary heart disease; elevated cholesterol and triglycerides; certain types of cancer; stroke; gall bladder; and liver diseases.

And extra weight by itself is limiting. Imagine picking up a 40-pound bag of dog food and carrying it around all day. Then visualize how good it will feel to set down the extra 40 pounds you have been hefting. The same thing will be true in real life when you drop your excess weight. All of your routine tasks will feel easier—and you will become more active.

Now you can take advantage of this supercharged version of the DASH diet to boost weight loss, especially the muffin top fat that is associated with increased risk for heart disease and diabetes. In the old days, we talked about apple body shapes being more unhealthful than the pear body shapes. Belly fat, beer bellies, visceral fat, android fat, and muffin top are just different words for people who carry much of their excess weight around the middle. This type of fat is associated with higher risks for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and some kinds of cancer.

Over the past two decades, much has been learned about why this belly fat is different from other fat, and what kind of eating patterns are associated with it. The main culprits? Taking in more carbs than we can burn off, and having less metabolically active muscle. In this book we will target both of these problems, getting you unhooked from a carb-heavy diet, and helping you to increase your metabolism by preserving and strengthening muscles. No, we aren’t massively bulking up (relax, ladies), but you will become leaner and more toned. You can reduce bad cholesterol and triglycerides while boosting good cholesterol. And perhaps most important for many people, the lower-starch version of the DASH diet can reduce the risk of developing diabetes or improve your ability to control your diabetes and slow the progression of the disease. All of this comes with reduced inflammation and oxidative stress.

Back in the 1990s, the prevailing healthy eating advice recommended high intake of carbs—maybe that was the pasta decade. It also recommended very low fat intake, and held that most people were consuming too much protein. What happened as a result of this advice? The “diabesity epidemic” (a coined term to reflect the interaction of diabetes and obesity) took hold and led to massive increases in poor health and health care costs.

To be more specific, in 1988, 26% of the population was obese, and by 2008, 40% were obese. The yearly costs of the related diseases are about $150 billion for obesity, $157 billion for diabetes, and $445 billion for heart disease. This is an overwhelming burden for our health care system. It is time for us to turn these statistics around and make ourselves healthier.

In this book we will help you take advantage of newer research regarding the benefits of reduced intake of refined grains and added sugars, the need for higher than previously recommended levels of protein, and strategies for preparing meals and snacks that are satisfying and actually help to curb hunger. And fortunately, these new concepts actually conform to the strategies from the forgotten lower-carb DASH study.

Why wasn’t this newer information immediately pursued? It was very difficult for the traditional medical establishment to accept that their high-grain, low-fat, limited-protein diet recommendations were wrong, and were, in fact, doing great harm to the collective health of our country.

The combined benefits of the newer concepts for healthy eating, presented here, will help you find the easy way to lose weight, especially that muffin top. Even better, you will do this while learning an easy-to-sustain healthy way to eat.

Most fad diets promise quick weight loss. The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution is great for speeding up weight loss. But we also show you how to become healthier in the process. And it is a plan you can all follow for a lifetime! In the next chapter, you will learn more about why the plan works.

Before moving forward, take a moment to assess your health goals. Where are you now and where do you want to be? Having a goal will help you to succeed—and you will be amazed by how quickly and easily you will meet your targets once you are living the DASH lifestyle.

Making My Personal DASH Diet Plan

What Are My Health Goals?

Healthier weight? ____

Current ________ Target ________

Drop inches around my waist? ____

Current ________ Target ________

Lower my blood pressure? ____

Current ________ Target ________

Lower my cholesterol? ____

Current ________ Target ________

Lower my triglycerides? ____

Current ________ Target ________

Additional goals: ____________________________________________________________________


The DASH Diet Weight Loss Breakthrough

At the time that the DASH diet was first developed, in the mid-1990s, the prevailing nutrition wisdom was to encourage lots of grains and low-fat eating. But everyone got fatter and less healthy.

Next came the proliferation of low-carb diets. Because it was initially pooh-poohed by the medical establishment, imagine the surprise when research showed no adverse health effects from increased fat intake. With conventional dietary wisdom turned on its head, the DASH researchers designed a new study to evaluate the effects of lower-carb versions of the DASH eating program. In other words, they wanted to do their own side-by-side comparison to see if a DASH diet with some of the starches replaced with either higher levels of protein or more heart-healthy fats would provide the same health benefits as the original (higher-carb) DASH diet. And imagine their surprise when the blood pressure improvements were even better with the low-starch versions of DASH.

This is the first book to use the long-overlooked NIH-sponsored research and present the lower-starch version of the DASH diet. In combination with other research studies that have helped us learn about the weight loss and health benefits of lower-carb eating plans, you will now have the optimized plan in The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution.

As a dietitian in private practice and at a naval hospital outpatient nutrition clinic, I have successfully implemented this new and improved DASH diet plan with hundreds of people. Many of these were military members who needed to lose weight to maintain fitness levels required by their branch of service. These sailors, soldiers, marines, and airmen needed to stay fit and healthy, and that would not have been possible with an unhealthy quick-fix plan. Yes, the new DASH diet plan sped up weight loss. But we met the weight goal while maintaining the muscle mass required for fitness. The result: improved metabolism, lower body fat, enhanced strength and cardiovascular fitness, and improved health.

The new DASH plan, specifically designed to speed weight loss, also proved effective for the families of military and for military retirees who had diabetes or prediabetes. Lowering blood glucose levels, reducing blood pressure, improving cholesterol and triglycerides, while reaching a healthier weight, became easy for these patients. The lower-carb DASH diet kept hunger under control with filling, low-calorie fruits and veggies, while providing long-lasting satiety with lean protein-rich foods and heart-healthy fats. With an abundance of great food, the lower-carb DASH diet did not feel like a diet at all.

Never before presented to the general public, The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution is the perfect antidote to America’s obesity epidemic. Still rich in the key DASH foods—fruits; vegetables; low-fat and nonfat dairy; lean meats, fish, and poultry; nuts, beans, and seeds; moderate amounts of whole grains; and heart-healthy fats—this DASH program improves the health benefits and provides quicker, more dramatic, sustainable weight loss than the original DASH eating plan, presented in my first book, The DASH Diet Action Plan.

Before going into the full-blown version of this new DASH diet, many people will benefit from going through a “reset” phase, to wipe out their cravings and jump-start their weight loss. So in Chapter 3, we have a surefire way to wake up your fat-burning metabolism and develop a cleaner way of eating that eliminates cravings.

How do you reconcile low-carb and the DASH diet? First, you don’t need all the refined starchy foods that most of us overconsume. They are certainly not part of making the DASH diet a healthy plan.

And getting more of the protein-rich foods is important as we get older. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the RDAs for protein were set very low. The target level was that which was needed to prevent muscle wasting during starvation. But it was not high enough to prevent muscle loss on aging. And nutrition professionals, at that time, were taught to make weight loss plans in which calories from all the food groups were lowered proportionally. Today we know that when you help people reduce their calories, you want to keep the protein level high enough to preserve muscle mass. It is primarily the carb calories that you want to reduce.

Certainly, whole grains are healthful. The fiber, lignans, vitamins, and minerals are beneficial. But we do have to be careful not to consume more than we can burn off. And often grains come in foods packed with sugars. From Barbara Rolls’s research studies that resulted in the Volumetrics program, we know that foods that contain water are more filling than drier foods. Most of the grain foods, such as breads, pastries, cookies, dry cereals, and even popcorn, are relatively low in moisture. Since they are not filling, we are more likely to overeat these types of foods. A diet that “forgets” these refined grain foods actually makes it easier to curb calories without having to think about it too much.

Another reason why starchy foods tend to provoke hunger is that they break down rather quickly to sugar. More accurately, they break down to glucose. Glucose is the blood sugar that we monitor in diabetics. When there is a surge of glucose into the blood, it triggers the body to pump out insulin to regulate blood sugar. When we are younger and relatively fit, we respond well to the insulin, blood sugar does not go too high, and the glucose moves into our muscle tissue to provide energy for physical activity. However, as we get older, and if we are less fit, the muscles do not respond as well to insulin. The bad news is that our mid-body fat does respond well to insulin, so the sugar gets stored in our belly fat and is then converted into more fat. And it is possible for the insulin to overshoot its target, causing our blood sugar to drop, triggering even more hunger. These up-and-down spikes of blood sugar can lead to more cravings and feeling out of control with your hunger. Meals that are just based on starches and/or sugars will leave us feeling hungry again relatively quickly.

On the other hand, fruits and vegetables also contain carbohydrates. They are rich in fiber, contain naturally occurring sugars, and pack in lots of water, so that they are relatively low in calories for their size. Fruits and vegetables are bulky and filling, which makes these foods wonderful choices for filling your plate. And of course, they are rich in all kinds of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other healthful plant nutrients. Some vegetables contain more starch and are more caloric than others, so we probably want to watch the portion sizes more carefully with these foods, such as potatoes, winter squash, and peas. But with all the rest, an abundance makes it much easier to stay on track.

Protein-rich foods are also more satisfying than foods made from refined grains. Protein takes longer to digest, and it doesn’t cause the blood sugar spike of the starchy foods. You are much more likely to feel full longer if you add some protein-rich foods to your meals and snacks. With The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution, you will learn to mix it up. For example, if you have a snack with fruit and some light cheese or a handful of nuts, you will feel full longer. Include a hard-boiled egg at breakfast. If you are having some pasta, be sure to add a meat sauce or beans to make the meal more satisfying. We need more protein as we get older. Our goal as we age is to keep as much muscle as possible.

Heart-healthy fats are also an important part of the mix in providing satiety. Fats slow down digestion so that energy from your food enters your bloodstream more slowly. Yes, fats have more calories than carbs or protein. However, in moderate quantities they are very beneficial for keeping hunger under control. Often when recipes reduce the amount of fat in the food, they don’t reduce the calories. How can this happen? One of the things that fats do in recipes is to help hold in air introduced during mixing. So without the fat, the food is denser, and a serving might have the same calories with or without the fat. Remember the low-fat cookies popular in the early 1990s? They had exactly the same amount of calories as the full-fat cookies they replaced. Life isn’t fair. But that does provide another example of where the high-carb, low-fat diets went awry.

What about the health issues around fats, carbs, and protein?

In the 1980s and 1990s, it was generally believed that low-fat, low-protein, high-carb diets were best for heart health. The experts told us that diets higher in fat would cause our cholesterol and triglycerides to soar. Higher protein would cause our kidneys to fail. However, in actuality, the high-carb diets can cause triglycerides to spike, especially if someone is insulin resistant. Elevated triglycerides can be an early sign of impending type 2 diabetes. And high-carb diets tend to stoke the production of bad cholesterol, while depressing the level of good cholesterol.

Research has shown that people who consume heart-healthy fats, especially olive oil, nuts, and seafood rich in DHA and EPA, have lower rates of cardiovascular mortality. Add in their anti-inflammatory properties and these heart-healthy fats are definitely on our must-have list.

It was once thought that high-protein diets would be bad for everyone since excess protein would create extra work for the kidneys. However, we are not recommending excessively high levels of protein. And of course, traditional diets with high levels of salt, sugar, and starch do create extra work for the kidneys, and elevated blood sugar can harm the small blood vessels of the kidneys. Fortunately, the balanced approach of the DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution is consistent with heart health and is less likely to aggravate the kidneys than the traditional American diet. Of course, people with existing kidney disease who have been told to follow certain dietary restrictions by their physician or dietitian should check with their health care professional before adopting any new eating plan.

Another theorized health concern was that high-protein diets might impact bone health. Newer research shows that moderate intake of protein is associated with improved bone health and reduced risk for bone thinning as compared with a lower-protein diet.

Weighty Issues

With this book, you will learn that the most important things that you can do to lose weight are to get on track with healthy eating and become more physically active. Not only will you be healthier, but you will feel better and look better, too.

What Is a Healthy Weight?

There are many definitions of what makes a healthy weight, but the most obvious one is the weight at which you have no health problems. And unfortunately, even individuals whose weight fits the definition of “healthy” can still have habits—such as eating too many processed foods and being inactive—that are causing them to be at increased risk for certain diseases. This is called “metabolic obesity” or “normal weight obesity.”

Currently, BMI (Body Mass Index) is the most common measure used to define healthy weight. If BMI is between 19 and 24, it is considered to be healthy. Between 25 and 29 is considered overweight. BMI over 30 is considered to be obese, and in excess of 40 is extreme obesity. These categories aren’t just arbitrary distinctions. Health risks go up in each category. For example, women in the overweight category are about 70% more likely to have high blood pressure, compared with normal weight women, and twice as likely if they are obese. The concerns are much more dramatic with diabetes, with women who have a BMI over 35 being 30 times more likely to develop the disease, and even women who are just in the overweight category having about 18 times higher risk for diabetes.

Now, BMI cannot tell you how fit you are, and it is certainly possible for someone to have a BMI in the obese category, but not actually be “overfat.” Football players, for example, are normally very muscular and will have weights that appear to be too high by BMI standards. But they are likely to be very fit. A measure of fitness could be percent body fat. This can be evaluated through underwater weighing, DEXA x-ray evaluation, bioelectrical impedance (BIA) done by professional equipment with electrodes, or even home scales that perform BIA to give a percent body fat reading.

Waist size is a very simple measure of whether your weight is healthy. If your waist is over 35 inches (88 cm) for women or over 40 inches (102 cm) for men, there are health concerns that you will want to have evaluated. You may have elevated blood pressure, blood sugar, and/or triglycerides. Even if your BMI is in the healthy zone, with too much belly fat you need to change your eating habits and start to exercise more. Fortunately, the DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution attacks this mid-body fat. At one time, no one believed in being able to “spot reduce.” However, since excess belly fat is mostly due to overconsumption of starches and sugars, following this program will help you lose your muffin top.

Your Healthy Weight Goal

Setting targets, and especially short-term targets, can be very motivating and help keep you on track. Your weight target should fall somewhere in the healthy to overweight categories. If you have a lot to lose, setting a more modest goal, say, 5% to 10% of your current weight, would help you feel successful as you meet and exceed your targets, and make you healthier. In the Diabetes Prevention Study, losing as little as 7% of body weight significantly lowered the risk of diabetes.

What are your personal health risks?

  • Waist size too large?  

  • Blood pressure too high?  

  • Cholesterol or triglycerides too high?  

  • High-salt diet?  

  • Eating too many sugary or starchy foods?  

  • Eating too many fried foods?  

  • Not eating enough vegetables?    fruit?    dairy?  

We are not going to calculate your target calories. That’s right, you will not need to count calories. Instead you will focus on including food groups, and learn to watch portion sizes, especially for the high-calorie foods. This is so much simpler. After all, we eat food, not calories. Focusing on how to include a variety of food groups will teach you habits that you will use for a lifetime.

Further, you want to be sure that you are losing fat, not muscle. A balanced plan with plenty of protein, calcium, and magnesium will help preserve muscle. Adding exercise, especially strength training, will also help with maintaining lean body mass and help keep metabolism as high as possible.

The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

With this plan, you will stay full, crave less junk food, and feel like you are eating in a way that is cleaner and lighter. You will want to continue to have this feeling. This makes it much easier to stay on track with your plan.

During the first phase, you will relearn how to make meals. Your focus will be on choosing protein-rich foods that add satiety. You will learn to pair the protein foods with vegetables that provide bulk and happen to be very healthy and very low-calorie. This phase will reset your taste preferences, and turn you on to lighter, healthier eating. It is a two-week transition to reset your entire approach to eating. And it will boost weight loss. The faster, initial weight loss is very motivating, because of the visible changes. You will quickly notice that your clothes fit looser, especially around the waist.

The only key DASH diet component that is missing during phase one is fruit. The good news is that it is missing only during the first phase. We are giving your digestive hormones, liver, and pancreas a break from your typical diet. It is especially important to allow your blood sugar to be calm and stable. By not including starchy and sugary foods, you will ensure that you won’t have blood sugar spikes. You will avoid the highs and lows that are typical of most eating patterns. This immediately calms your hunger.

Other side benefits that have been reported during the initial phase include reduction or elimination of gastric reflux, reduced “brain fog,” and reduced symptoms of allergies. Because there are no grains, of course, this part of the plan is gluten-free. It does contain dairy since that is a key part of the DASH diet, but you can also choose dairy substitutes if that is a problem for you.

After this initial reset phase, you are ready for Phase Two, which is a lower-carb plan. You will have already learned to make your meals more satisfying with proteins, nonstarchy vegetables, and heart-healthy fats. In Phase Two, you get to add whole grains and fruits. You will continue to lose weight, although slightly more slowly after the initial reset phase. This becomes a plan that you can enjoy for the rest of your life.


Developing Your Own DASH Diet Solution


Phase One: 2 Weeks to Reset Your Metabolism, Turbocharge Weight Loss, and Shrink Your Waistline

The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution does not require you to count calories. You will, however, focus on getting a balance of food groups. We will mainly have a positive focus on foods you want to include rather than spending too much time on what you should avoid.

During Phase One, you will follow a more restrictive diet than in Phase Two, but this will help you develop the eating habits that will make you very successful with DASH. These habits will help you reach your weight loss goal and maintain that healthy weight. What are these key habits? First, you will learn to consume lots of vegetables and to rely on them for bulk in your diet. You will also learn to include protein-rich foods that increase satiety, help reduce in-between-meal hunger, and keep your blood sugar more stable. Without starchy and sugary foods, your metabolism will operate more efficiently, since you will have a reduced demand for insulin. You will notice that you are eating much lighter and cleaner, which will feel good. Within the first few days, you will also notice that your waist is shrinking because you are losing belly fat. People who have frequent complaints of heartburn may notice that they are not experiencing problems on this plan.

If you have diabetes and are on medication for it, please consult with your physician and/or dietitian about adopting this plan. It can significantly reduce your need for medication. But do not alter your medication intake without consulting first with your health care professional. This is also true for your blood pressure. If you find that your blood pressure is low, please contact your doctor before changing your blood pressure medication dosage.

During the first phase, you will improve your metabolism, and your need for insulin will drop significantly. While insulin promotes muscle development in children, in adults it promotes fat storage. With almost no starch or sugar during this phase, you will stop feeding the belly fat. Along with noticeable weight loss will come a reduction in waist size. Insulin can also trigger hunger. With less insulin circulating, and a more stable blood sugar, your hunger will finally get under control.

Many people who struggle with weight and health issues have what is known as metabolic syndrome (also called dysmetabolic syndrome, or Syndrome X). Women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) may have metabolic syndrome. It is related to a combination of symptoms, including elevated triglycerides, blood pressure, blood sugar, and waist circumference, and/or low HDL. Current estimates suggest that 25% of Americans have this syndrome. Fortunately, the DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution addresses all of these symptoms. In addition to your waist size shrinking, your blood pressure should become more normal, along with your triglycerides, HDL, and blood sugar.

As I mentioned earlier, instead of counting calories, you focus on including the key food groups. How does that work? During the first phase, you will learn to fill your plate with low-calorie vegetables and sufficient protein to make the meal satisfying. This instantly reduces your normal mealtime demand for insulin, and keeps your blood sugar on a more even keel.

Phase One: The Intuitive 14-Day Plan

Our ultrasimple introduction will provide you with an overview of how Phase One works. Sample meal plans will be found in Chapter 4.

Include Moderate-Sized Servings of These Foods

Foods That Are Protein-Rich and Low in Saturated Fat

  • Lean meats, fish, and poultry

  • Beans, lentils, soy foods

  • Low-fat or nonfat cheeses

  • Egg substitutes and some whole eggs if desired

  • Unsweetened or artificially sweetened yogurt (one per day)

Heart-Healthy Fats

  • Avocados

  • Vegetable oils, especially olive oil, canola oil, and nut oils. (Coconut oil and palm oil are excluded, since they are high in saturated fat.)

  • Salad dressings, especially those based on the above oils

Foods That Are Protein-Rich and Contain Healthy Fat

  • Nuts (preferably nonroasted and unsalted) and seeds

  • Fatty fish

Enjoy as Much of These Foods as You Want

  • Sugar-free gelatin. (This becomes your fruit and dessert substitute.)

  • Nonstarchy vegetables. (Exclusions include potatoes, winter squash, corn, etc.)

Avoid These Foods

  • Starchy foods (other than beans). This means no bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, etc. No foods fried in batter.

  • Sugary foods, including fruit

  • Alcohol

  • Milk

  • Caffeinated beverages other than with meals or snacks

Seven Steps to Success

  1. Do not skip any meals or snacks. This will keep your blood sugar steady, and help you avoid hunger. People who think that they will speed up the weight loss by skipping meals or snacks have reported feeling shaky or light-headed. Your goal is to learn how your hunger is easily controlled when your blood sugar is more modulated.

  2. Limit exercise to no more than 30 minutes of light or moderate activity per day during the initial phase; you do not want to drive your blood sugar too low. While exercise is not essential during Phase One, we know that moderate activity such as walking helps with burning belly fat, without burning off muscle.

  3. Go to sleep earlier. You will feel less energetic during the “jump start,” and will find yourself wanting to go to sleep earlier than normal. This is okay; don’t worry about it. Your energy level will go back to normal at the end of the first two weeks.

  4. Don’t be overly restrictive with salt, and get plenty of fluids, at least eight glasses per day. (Yes, even caffeinated beverages count, as does the gelatin.) This will help boost energy. The initial 14-day program can be dehydrating. Without starchy and sugary foods in your diet, your body will flush out excess fluid. Allowing yourself to have a moderate amount of salty foods will help prevent too much fluid loss.

  5. Tell yourself that you just need to stick with the program “today.” You can stick with the plan for just one meal, then another, and then another to get through one day. Build a series of these days to complete the two weeks. The one-meal-, one-day-at-a-time philosophy does work.

  6. Try to relax. You may get cranky in the middle of the jump-start period. It is not unheard of for someone to have a mini-“meltdown” in the middle of this phase. Walk away and try to relax. Your body is going through a lot of changes, all for the better. Keep going; it will get easier tomorrow.

  7. Focus on your weight loss results. Your success will keep you focused and make it easier to stay on track. It is absolutely okay to weigh yourself daily, especially during this phase; it will build an aura of success. For women, you may find that your weight loss gets a little stalled at the end of the second week. Don’t worry about this; it will pick up again when you start the next phase.

Phase One Eating

In Chapter 4, you will find detailed menus for the next 14 days. Below, though, are general guidelines and suggestions when preparing meals during Phase One.


  • Egg substitutes (may use real eggs with some cheese 1–2 days)

  • 1–2 slices Canadian bacon or ham (both are considered lean meats), or soy alternatives

  • Tomato juice or V8 juice if desired

  • Egg alternatives: the lunchtime roll-ups, or an unsweetened or artificially sweetened yogurt

Midmorning Snacks

At least two of the following:

  • Low-fat cheese, such as The Laughing Cow Light Wedges, Mini Babybel Light, light string cheese, or light cottage cheese (4-ounce size)

  • Veggies, including celery, radishes, carrots, cucumbers, sliced peppers, grape or cherry tomatoes

  • Nuts, ¼ cup or less. If having nuts and cheese, limit nuts to 1 tablespoon.


Choose one of the protein-rich main courses, and all of the other side dishes.

  • Salad loaded with a variety of veggies and protein foods. No croutons. Although light cheese is preferred, you can occasionally have regular cheese.

  • Stuffed tomato with egg salad, egg white salad, chicken salad, and/or tuna salad

  • Roll-ups made with ham, turkey, or lean roast beef and low-fat cheese and/or lettuce as the wrap

  • Veggies and/or side salad with dressing

  • Sugar-free Jell-O

Midafternoon Snacks (and Before-Dinner Snack, If Needed)

Same as the morning snacks. Additional choices include:

  • Pepper strips dipped in guacamole or salad dressing

  • Peanuts in the shell. A serving is 10, which would be 20 individual peanuts.


Include all of the following:

  • Lean meat, fish, poultry, or meat substitute

  • Nonstarchy veggies

  • Salad with dressing

  • Sugar-free Jell-O

Dining Out Suggestions


  • Eggs or omelets

  • Some bacon is okay.

  • Tomato or V8 juice (6 ounces or less)

Hint: Instead of toast and/or potatoes, ask if you can have sliced tomatoes.


  • Salads topped with lean protein-rich food

  • Burger or chicken without the bun, with side vegetables and/or salad or coleslaw

Hint: Eating burgers without the bun will become a habit. Remember, there is no rule against having vegetables (other than French fries) with a burger. Ask what kinds of side veggies are available. The salads work for fast-food options, or get a side salad and cut up the burger or chicken for your salad—without the bun.


  • Lean meat, fish, or poultry

  • Side vegetables

  • Side salad with dressing

Hint: Leave before dessert.

Hit the Grocery Store to Stock Up On…

  • Individually packaged light cheeses such as: The Laughing Cow Light Wedges, Mini Babybel Light, light string cheese, light cottage cheese (4-ounce size), and Kraft 2% Singles

  • Eggs or Egg Beaters or other egg substitute, with or without vegetables

  • Sugar-free Jell-O packages

  • Sliced light cheese and lean deli meats

  • Nuts, preferably not roasted in oil, such as ballpark peanuts or dry-roasted or raw almonds, cashews, or walnuts. Choose nuts that are not addictive for you. Nuts in the shell slow you down, which will help you avoid overdoing it.

  • Guacamole

  • Canned tuna, salmon, or other fatty fish

  • Extra-lean ground sirloin

  • Beef cuts such as round, chuck, or with “loin” in the name

  • Skinless chicken breasts

  • Lean pork chops, pork loin, or tenderloin

  • Turkey breasts

  • Fish and other seafood (not breaded or fried)

  • Fresh vegetables such as lettuce, fresh peppers, baby carrots, radishes, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, jicama, etc.

  • Frozen vegetables (without sauce) such as broccoli, mixed vegetables, green beans, peas, cauliflower, spinach, Brussels sprouts, etc.

Note: Please choose the foods you like from the above list. This plan would be much too hard if you were trying to eat foods that you hate.

Fast and Easy Tips

Check out the salad bar for sliced peppers, cucumbers, radishes, celery, etc., and for salads.

Hit the deli counter for coleslaw; egg, tuna, and chicken salads; and poached salmon.

Pick up a rotisserie chicken or roasted turkey breast from the ready-to-eat section.

Stock up on ready-made Jell-O cups (artificially sweetened).

Plan, Plan, Plan

  • Take your lunches and snacks to work. Either stock your fridge at the office, or bring an insulated bag with all the right foods.

  • Make sure you keep all the key DASH foods on hand.

  • Do not skip any meals or snacks.

  • Plan what you will eat for each meal and snack, each day.

  • Cook foods ahead for quick meals.

    • On weekends, grill several chicken breasts, which can be used for other meals, as salad toppings, or for chicken salad.

    • Make lots of hard-boiled eggs. Peel, and pop into zipper bags to store in the fridge. Use for quick breakfasts, salad toppings, egg salad, or tuna salad.

    • Grill several burgers on the weekend, to use for quick meals.

    • Make chili, spaghetti, or sloppy joes to use for several meals.

  • Plan what you will eat before you go into a restaurant.

Remember your goal. Then plan to succeed.

Overview of Phase One Diet Patterns

The following table will help you understand the daily food group patterns for the DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution, Phase One.

Phase One Food Group Servings per Day


Smaller appetite


Moderate appetite


Larger appetite


Nonstarchy vegetables


Unlimited, minimum of 5










Nuts, beans, seeds








Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs


5–6 ounces


6–8 ounces


8–11 ounces










What will you have accomplished?

During Phase One, you will have learned to fill your plate with lots of colorful vegetables, and to complement them with lean meats, fish, and poultry or other protein-rich foods, and you will have added low-fat dairy to your regimen. You will have also learned that your hunger is easy to manage when your blood sugar doesn’t have highs and lows. And you will have calmed your body’s response to your previous intake of excess calories, especially the sugars and starches. Your body won’t be overproducing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, or the fat storage hormone, insulin. As a result, you will lose weight and feel great! What a great start to a weight loss plan that will improve your health, and be easy to follow. It is a new way of eating, one that will become your way of eating for a lifetime.

My Actions to Get Started with the DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution

I will go to the grocery store to buy the right foods.

Key new foods for me will be: ______________________

Key favorites for me will be: ______________________

Challenges that might interfere for me: __________________________________________________________________

How I will deal with these challenges: __________________________________________________________________


14 Days of Metabolism-Boosting Menus

Our ultrasimple diet instructions in Chapter 3 provide virtually everything you need to know to follow Phase One. Even better, you will enjoy seeing a variety of ways to put together the meals and snacks. It can be much easier to get on track with a new eating plan if you can visualize how everything fits together. In this chapter you will be provided with a sample 14-day menu plan. These meals are just suggestions. You can substitute similar types of foods for any of the meals or snacks, or you can repeat any days that are particularly easy to follow or suit your taste preferences. You may also want to repeat dinners if you are cooking for one or two. It is absolutely fine to choose meals or snacks from any of the days and match up with meals from other days.

Remember, you do not want to skip any meals or snacks, and you want to have a balance of the bulky, filling foods along with the protein-rich foods. If you start to feel a little light-headed or dizzy, have another snack (or make sure you had the snack in the first place).

You are probably wondering about portion sizes. Filling your plate with lots of vegetables helps to provide satisfying meals. It is hard to go overboard on the nonstarchy vegetables. When you think about portion size for meats, fish, and poultry, at dinner try to choose a portion that is about the size of your palm. Larger men need more protein than smaller women, and will have larger palms. It is relatively proportional to your appropriate amount of protein. As you go through the initial phase, you will find that your appetite decreases. Stop eating when you have had enough and are comfortably satisfied. However, if you find that you are getting hungry shortly after meals, then your serving sizes are too small, especially the protein part. There is also a certain amount of boredom that will set in toward the end of the first 14 days. That is normal, and actually helps to keep your appetite under control.

It may seem repetitive to have sugar-free Jell-O cups with almost every lunch and dinner, but they really are refreshing and do a great job of being your fruit substitute. They are a wonderful, super-low-calorie treat, and are very satisfying. You will learn to look at them as a diet staple. Keep them stocked in your kitchen or at work. And if you need to have two or three at a meal, it has very little impact on your calorie intake. (Go ahead, go wild!)

Where possible, we have tried to suggest foods that require minimal preparation time by you. For example, for your side salads, you can use bagged mixes, such as a romaine mix, a spring mix, an iceberg mix, grated carrots, coleslaw blend, or broccoli slaw. Or you could combine some of these mixes and top romaine with one of the slaws. Hitting a salad bar at the grocery store would be another quick, low-prep way to add variety to your salads, and a great place to pick up hard-boiled eggs.

Speaking of eggs, there are a lot of eggs and egg substitutes in the plan. When choosing eggs, the ones that are high in omega-3s are good, since they are also reduced in cholesterol. And even the American Heart Association says that one regular, large egg per day fits into a heart-healthy diet.

We also have used some brand names in the menu plans, as they are easily recognizable. Do not feel that this is an endorsement of any of the brands. You may use any substitutes that you like, as long as they have similar nutritional properties.

Other than juices, we have not specified beverages in this part of the plan. Your choices include water, black coffee, unsweetened or artificially sweetened tea, and diet sodas. Do not have any alcoholic beverages. They may contain sugars, they definitely contain calories, and they do a very good job of reducing willpower and leading you down the path to diet ruination. So no alcohol in this phase!

Meal items that are marked with an asterisk (*) have associated recipes in Chapter 16. Since many people get bored with eggs for breakfast so often, try the Egg Beaters website ( for additional fun, healthy breakfast ideas. (Stick with the egg recipes and skip the waffles, French toast, and pancake recipes.)

Day 1


  • Hard-boiled egg. Hint: Make several hard-boiled eggs, and peel. Store in a zipper bag in the refrigerator. Then you will have them when you need them, for super-quick breakfasts. You can also find prepackaged, peeled hard-boiled eggs in some stores. I like the Eggland’s Best version, since they are lower in cholesterol and I think they have better taste.

  • 1 or 2 slices Canadian bacon

  • 6 ounces tomato juice, low-sodium

Midmorning Snack

  • 1 stick light cheese

  • Baby carrots


  • Acapulco Tuna Salad*

  • Cherry tomatoes

  • Small side salad: dressed with Italian or oil and vinegar dressing


Excerpted from The Dash Diet Weight Loss Solution by Marla Heller Copyright © 2012 by Marla Heller. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Conquering Weight Loss-The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution 1

Chapter 2 The DASH Diet Weight Loss Breakthrough 7

Part I Developing Your Own DASH Diet Solution 19

Chapter 3 Phase One: 2 Weeks to Reset Your Metabolism, Turbocharge Weight Loss, and Shrink Your Waistline 21

Chapter 4 14 Days of Metabolism-Boosting Menus 33

Chapter 5 Phase Two: Take It Up a Notch! 53

Chapter 6 Your Plate Overflows! An Abundance of DASH Diet Menus for Weight Loss 67

Chapter 7 Move It to Lose It with DASH 85

Part II The Secrets of the DASH Diet Foods 91

Chapter 8 High-Carb, Low-Carb, What Should We Do? 93

Chapter 9 The Skinny on Fats 101

Chapter 10 Rock Star Foods 109

Part III The Healthiest Diet, How It Keeps You Healthier 117

Chapter 11 Taking It to Heart, with the DASH Diet 119

Chapter 12 DASHing Your Risk of Diabetes 129

Chapter 13 The DASH Diet for the Science Geeks 135

Part IV Setting the Stage for Success 147

Chapter 14 Going to the Market, Going to Get Healthy 149

Chapter 15 Making the DASH Diet Your Habit 171

Chapter 16 Super-Simple, Fabulous Recipes to Make the DASH Diet Your Own 179

Beef and Pork 179

Poultry 192

Fish and Seafood 208

Vegetarian 213

Appendix A Need Gluten-Free? Dairy-Free? Making DASH Work for You 223

Appendix B You Have Reached Your Goal-How to Maintain Your Weight 227

Appendix C U.S. to Metric Conversions 229

Resources 233

Acknowledgments 235

Index 237

Customer Reviews

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The Dash Diet Weight Loss Solution: 2 Weeks to Drop Pounds, Boost Metabolism and Get Healthy 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Aunt_Sam More than 1 year ago
In 3 months, I have lost 23 pounds, gone down 5 points in my body fat percentage, and lost 4.5 inches from my waist...after struggling with my weight for decades. (I received a copy of the of the plan guidelines and sample menus in September through the author's Facebook group.) In addition to the outer changes, my cholesterol level dropped to 121, with a commensurate reduction in triglycerides and LDLs. I do know a little bit about nutrition (what heavy person doesn't?). I wanted a plan that followed sound nutritional guidelines and had some research to back it up. This one does. Marla does a great job of explaining why the things I learned about nutrition in my 20s aren't working for me in my 40s, and then lays out, clearly, concisely, and with menus and recipes, what *will* work...and it did. I was nervous about cutting down on grains--I attempted the Atkins plan a few times and it just made me sick--but I felt fine. The menu plans are satisfying and tasty, and Marla has really helped me to re-frame the way I think about food. The 2-week turbocharge is a great way to kick off the plan: all the claims about resetting your body's expectations proved true for me. In the 3 months I've been on this plan I started a new job; celebrated my anniversary, Halloween, my birthday, & Thanksgiving, and now find myself surrounded by all the Christmas treats...and still find it easier than it's ever been to make conscious choices about what I eat. I hope you find this helpful...if you've been fighting this battle for decades and have begun to think nothing was ever going to work, give this an honest shot. It may change your life. My weigh-in this morning was the lowest it's been in ten years. Time to walk the dog~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received an advance copy in September 2012. I've never really dieted and over the years became overweight. My husband and I decided to give this a try. While it was challenging at first, we've totally changed our eating habits and follow this plan about 95% of the time. He's lost 15lbs and I've lost over 30! We feel great and can't say enough positive things about this book.
EdP-Lexington More than 1 year ago
Two phases to the book. Phase 1 is the quick loss part and I lost 14 lbs painlessly in 3 weeks. Phase II is the maintenance part that has accompanying recipes that seem like they will be tasty.. I have scheduled labs at the 10 week mark to see effects on LDL and HDL, as well as triglycerides. I works for early significant weight loss. Bottom line, you must be able to give up carbohydrates and increase your intake of veggies. Effects on my cardiovascular baseline remain to be determined.
MaryAbigail More than 1 year ago
Slipping in those skinny jeans just got easier! I just finished reading [[ASIN:B00A9YWQQ8 Blood Type Weight Loss: Change The Way You Live With Your Blood (Healthy Living Series)]] and I happened to be looking for something a bit more suited to my lifestyle when I came upon this rare pearl! I have read many weight loss books that have not quite delivered on the key points that I have been searching for as well as the Dash Diet did. Although I felt the Blood Type Weight Loss was a good contender.   I wish I had found this book a few weeks before I got married but I am not at all dismayed by the lost opportunity to sparkle just a little bit more on my big day. This effective and easy to follow diet is not at all marred by the all to famous quote 'diets don't work'. It proves that they do and as the reader would find great delight in the discovery that this book details more than just eating the right foods.  The key to making any diet work is your willingness to make the lifestyle changes that will achieve the desired outcome. When you you do this, then the diet becomes part of that change and not a pill you take and hope for the best. The Dash Diet is tested and backed by medical advisors which gives it a lot of credibility. The book isn't entirely mathematical and it contains those empowering elements that keep you keen to following it to the letter (that is if you really want the results).  Heller teaches the reader all about control a pertinent factor to achieving your weight loss goals. It's not about starving, purging or denying yourself the occasional treat. The book introduces you to a balanced and nutrition packed plan that can be followed by anyone. Heller provides a sensible approach to shedding those unwanted pounds.  I had been feeding my husband empty promises for quite a while when it came to my diet and exercise plan, but with this delightful piece of ammunition, I feel as though I can finally deliver on those promises.  Get a copy of this book if you really want to flick off those pounds.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely great book. I got amazing results without starving myself. Very easy to follow. If you make a mistake for Lunch then start back eating right for dinner- no guilt!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book makes it easy to follow the plan. The diet works! Lost 7 pounds in phase 1 alone. More than the wait loss, is how good it makes your body feel. It has actually cut carb cravings, & this is a former carbaholic. If your serious about improving your health this is the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this has worked for me. I am on the second half of it. lost some weight, but more than that it has lowered my blood pressure. very happy so far. Feeling great.
CMNC More than 1 year ago
My BP is down, weight in decreasing, I have lots of energy and very few cravings. The first 2 weeks were a little difficult, but after 2 months its worth it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy to read and follow. The diet actually works!!!!!!
Anonymous 3 months ago
Very easy and fun to read and empowering.
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