More than half of the United States population is overweight or obese, and many suffer from resultant health complications. Eating disorders abound, and we are flooded with conflicting advice and false promises to attain our dream of health. Confusion seems to be the norm.
One of the greatest ancient physicians and philosophers in history tackled these issues. He gives us the means to make this dream a reality. I am referring to Rambam, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (1135/1138 to 1204).
In no uncertain terms, Rambam writes the following mind-boggling guarantee to someone who follows his main principles of nutrition:
"Whoever conducts himself in the ways we have set forth, I will guarantee that he will not get sick throughout his life…. He will not need a doctor and his body will be in perfect shape and remain healthy all his life." (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot De'ot 4:20.)
One may wonder if we can rely upon information that was written about over 800 years ago, regardless of the stature of the author. Here are some reasons why we can rest assured that the foundation of this system is perfectly up to date and reliable:
• Rabbis, doctors and nutritionists have read through this book and verified its principles.
• The commentaries on Rambam's works maintain that his advice about health and the prevention of disease remains relevant today.
• A large part of the Yemenite Jewish population, which followed Rambam's main principles and teachings, had an average life span of one hundred years!
• Real life results that many people have experienced following the principles of the Life Transforming Diet.
• Excerpts from Rambam's writings display that while many health and nutritional concepts have only become popular in the last decade or so, Rambam already wrote about these concepts almost a thousand years ago. Some examples include many amazing excerpts from his medical works on exercise, fiber foods and fats.
In the Life Transforming Diet, there are three main aims:
- Knowledge of health and nutritional principles
- Knowledge of behavior modification
- The internalization of this knowledge through a precise plan of action
Often we really want to change; but we don't because we are creatures of habit. Rambam writes:
"One of the most powerful forces of human nature is habit, irrespective of whether these are actions or preconceived perceptions…. For instance, a person might choose bad foods to which he is accustomed over good foods to which he is not accustomed¹ [even though it is the less correct choice]." (Treatise on Asthma 13:51. See also Guide to the Perplexed 1:31)
But even the most entrenched habits, addictions and cravings can be overcome by new accumulated motivations, although initially they are much weaker. By implementing a new habit at the right pace, old entrenched desires start to fade. Old habits are slowly replaced by new ones. Eventually, a real change can and will take place.
In accordance with Rambam's caution, ours is a system of behavior modification and habit formation. We introduce one positive habit each week. It is important to make only the one change of the new week. The rest of your schedule should stay exactly the same. The program will guide you step by step, and will tell you exactly what to do.
Phase 1 is called the 'foundation' phase because we are setting firm foundations in place. We are changing one thing at a time so that our changes will remain permanent. In the first week, you will most likely choose to change your breakfast meal. In the second week, we add a five- to ten-minute exercise workout. If you are already following a balanced exercise program, you can continue with what you are doing. In the third week, we will introduce changes to your snacking habits between meals. In the fourth and fifth week, we will apply the principles of Rambam to the remaining main meals. This ends Phase 1.
Phase 2 is called the 'accumulation' phase because you will experience a significant part of your Subconscious Accumulation Process. Weight loss accelerates and feelings of energy and health abound. In fact, most people lose five to ten pounds during Phase 2.
Phase 2 is simply a continuation of Phase 1. The only thing that will change is your exercise program. Otherwise you will simply continue with the guidelines of Phase 1 for at least three weeks. Many people lose five to ten pounds in this Phase alone.
Phase 3 is called the 'integration' phase because you can eat any type of meal and you will have more desert options. In Phase 3, we introduce the Mixed Meal and low calorie dessert options. You will continue in this Phase until you are at your goal weight.
At goal weight, you will be allowed more snack options between meals as well as dessert options called Smart Exceptions.
The Life-Transforming Diet is a program that can be realistically sustained. We restrict neither food quantities nor any type of nutritious foods. We propose 'eating principles'. You can choose which nutritious foods to eat when implementing these positive eating habits. If you follow the principles then you do not have to weigh, count or restrict your food.
In addition, the Life-Transforming Diet develops an awareness of habit formation and implements behavior modification, which increases self-awareness on a motivational and behavioral level. This is fundamental to the success of the program and clearly distinguishes it from other systems. We offer you a realistic system that allows you to go on living your own particular lifestyle while you transform your life.
If you need to lose weight, your body fat will melt away, transforming your outer appearance. You will feel and actually be much healthier and more energized. And you will even see an improvement in your emotional and spiritual outlook. For all these reasons, I have called my program The Life-Transforming Diet. This system of gaining health and losing weight will become a gateway to fulfilling your multi-faceted potential.