If you don’t need to lose some excess weight and generally improve your health and fitness, you are part of a lucky minority. The fact is that most people would welcome a quick and easy route to rapid weight loss, even if it’s only to kick start their resolve to adopt a healthier lifestyle. The immensely popular General Motors diet, or GM diet, may be exactly the short-term weight loss solution that thousands of people are looking for every day.
Is the GM diet really connected with General Motors?
The internet is full of references to the fact that the General Motors Company, with the assistance of the US Food and Drug Administration, developed the GM diet in the 1980s in order to improve their employees’ health. It sounds plausible and it lends credibility to an otherwise anonymous eating plan, but there are no hard facts to back up the claim.
In fact, a New York Times columnist, a self-confessed fan of the GM diet, went so far as to ask a GM executive to do some research in the company archives. The conclusion? The GM diet has no connection with General Motors, but that doesn’t reduce its effectiveness.
So, exactly what is the GM diet?
The GM diet is a 7-day eating plan designed for those who wish to lose a lot of weight in a relatively short period. Not only does it restrict the kind of foods which can be eaten, it also prescribes the order and combination in which foodstuffs are consumed. It is not intended to be a long-term nutrition strategy, and a return to normal pattern of eating is recommended once the seven days of the diet are completed.
GM diet Benefits
People undertaking the GM diet have reported losing anything from 4 to 17 lbs (from 2 to 7.5 kg) in just one week. As well as generating fast weight loss and reduced body fat, the GM diet is relatively healthy in that it is a high-fiber, low-fat, gluten-free regimen which eliminates processed foods and excludes any alcohol intake. During the seven days of the diet the body undergoes cleansing and detoxification, outwardly visible in improvements to complexion and skin tone.
Since there is no major restriction on the quantity of food intake, just the range and daily combination of ingredients, some people using the GM diet find that they avoid that most common diet drawback, hunger pangs. And the best part about the GM diet is that it is not complicated to follow. There are no obscure ingredients to shop for, no difficult recipes to concoct, and no complex weighing and measuring.
Other names for the GM diet
You may have come across the GM diet, or similar variations, under other names. Perhaps the most common alternative name is ‘The Cabbage Soup Diet’. Cabbage-based soup features extensively in most versions of the GM diet. Other recurrent names are ‘Sacred Heart Hospital Diet’ and, for the grapefruit-based adaptations, ‘TWA Stewardess Diet’ and ‘Mayo Clinic Diet’, although all of these organizations deny any connection with the diets named after them. ‘GM diet’ is the title most often encountered in more recent times.
Read more benefits & risks of GM diet plan 2016.
The basic 7-day eating plan
There are several versions of the GM diet in circulation, but they all have the same essential features: large quantities of fruit (especially bananas on certain days) and vegetables (particularly tomatoes and cabbage at specified times), mainly just water to drink, and very little meat. This is a distillation of the main elements:
- Day 1
Any fruit except bananas. 10 glasses of water. Nothing else.
Read Full Day-1 Diet Plan
- Day 2
Any vegetables, raw or cooked, including at least one baked potato with butter. 10 glasses of water. Nothing else.
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- Day 3
Any vegetables and fruits, except banana. 10 glasses of water. Nothing else.
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- Day 4
Bananas and skim milk – make shakes if you like. GM diet cabbage soup (see recipe below). 10 glasses of water. Nothing else.
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- Day 5
Beef (ground, roast, braised or grilled), tomatoes, GM diet cabbage soup. 10 glasses of water. Nothing else.
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- Day 6
Beef, plus any raw or cooked vegetables. 10 glasses of water. Nothing else.
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- Day 7
Fruit, vegetables, brown rice. 10 glasses of water. Nothing else.
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Note that the diet is very specific about avoiding bananas and milk except on Day 4, which is a banana and milk bonanza day. If you can’t face the idea of eating whole bananas or drinking unadulterated skim milk, just blast them together in a blender for a delicious, easily-digested shake.
The addition of tomatoes on Day 5 means plenty of tomatoes, not just one.
Beef serving sizes should be moderate.
Brown rice means just that. It’s not OK to substitute processed white rice, from which most of the fiber and nutrients have been stripped.
10 glasses of water is about 5 pints (2.25 L), and the best way to keep track of your consumption is to fill a large pitcher with this amount at the beginning of the day and fill your glass from it whenever you feel thirsty.
GM diet cabbage soup
The GM cabbage soup is a very important component of the diet. It’s a cabbage-based vegetarian soup, sometimes called ‘Wonder Soup’ or ‘ Miracle Soup’ because of its central position in the GM diet plan. Here’s how to make it.
GM diet soup ingredients
- 6 large onions
- 2 green peepers
- 3 large fresh tomatoes or 1 can of tomatoes
- 1 cabbage
- 1 bunch of celery
- 22 oz (600ml) of water
- salt, pepper and herbs to taste
GM diet soup cooking method
- Chop the onions and peppers and toss them in a small quantity of olive oil until they are softened and slightly browned.
- Chop the celery, tomatoes and cabbage, and put them in a large pot together with the cooked onions and peppers, and the water.
- Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about an hour.
- Season with salt, pepper and herbs towards the end of the cooking time.
This will make enough healthy, tasty, hunger-satisfying soup to see you through Day 4 and Day 5 of the GM diet plan, with some extra soup to share with your family. If you have any left over at the end of the week, it will freeze readily, to make your life easier the next time you choose to follow the GM diet.
The GM diet and alcohol
The consumption of alcohol while following the GM diet is not allowed. Drink plenty of water, plus skim milk on Day 4. If you absolutely can’t do without tea or coffee, take them without sugar, sweeteners or milk. Why not try a health-giving herbal tea instead?
The GM diet and exercise
The effectiveness of any diet is boosted by exercise, so try to include at least 15 minutes of moderate exercise each day. High-intensity exercises such as cardio workouts and strength training are not recommended during the diet week, however. This sort of exercise needs a higher carbohydrate intake than that provided by the GM diet, so try gentler exercises like walking or yoga instead.
Side effects of the GM diet
Although you are less likely to feel ravenously hungry than on some other diets which severely restrict food quantities, it is inevitable that you will notice yourself reacting in other ways than merely losing weight. Some people experience headaches and nausea for the first three days, but most find that these feelings reduce as the week progresses before disappearing altogether.
If you have been accustomed to eating large quantities of high-fat, sugary and salty processed foods, your body and mind are going to have some trouble adjusting to this new regime of fresh, unprocessed fruit and vegetables, with only a moderate amount of protein. Just keep reminding yourself of the benefits to come in the form of reduced weight, a trimmer figure and better health.
The GM diet is definitely not suitable for pregnant women, and anyone else with health concerns should consult their doctor before undertaking any kind of restrictive diet.
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Vegetarian version of the GM diet
Vegetarians wishing to follow the GM diet plan need not be put off by the references to beef and skim milk. Simply replace the beef with high-protein vegetarian options like lentils, beans and brown rice, and substitute soy milk for skim milk.
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Indian version of the GM diet
The GM diet is popular in India, and once again the beef on Days 5 and 6 can be replaced with other, non-meat protein sources. Try additional brown rice, soybean curd, tofu, cottage cheese, beans and bean sprouts. All of these are protein-rich substitutes for the beef component, and non-vegans can even eat fish instead.
Chicken version of the GM diet
If you are a non-vegetarian who prefers chicken to beef, you can follow the same substitution method. Just make sure you remove the chicken skin, choose a cooking method that does not rely on additional fat such as oil or butter, and most definitely do not coat the chicken in breadcrumbs.
Ring the changes with unusual fruits and vegetables
You are going to be bored out of your mind if you try to get through the GM diet on a bland program of apples, carrots and celery sticks. Why not make a list of your favorite fruits and vegetables and treat yourself to a little variety? Most people like berry fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cranberries and raspberries. Peaches, plums and apricots are available for many months of the year. Tropical fruits like mango and papaya will tempt the taste buds, while watermelon and cantaloupe are sweet and juicy and packed with vitamin C.
Now for the vegetables. Your GM diet plan meals can be something to anticipate with pleasure if you introduce artichoke and eggplant, asparagus and bok choy, zucchini, broccoli and bamboo shoots. Turn the GM diet into your opportunity to explore new taste and texture sensations in the vegetable world. Once you really get into the enjoyment that can be derived form loading your plate with fresh fruit and vegetables, the healthier your regular diet will become.
Helpful tips for GM dieters
Whichever version of the GM diet you decide to follow, here are some useful tips to help you stay on track.
- Be prepared for feelings of weakness and nausea in the first three days. It will pass.
- Once you reach Day 4, it gets easier. You’re on the home stretch.
- Try to avoid getting weighed until the 7 days are over. Success tastes sweeter if you save your reward until the end.
- Don’t be tempted to stop halfway. The GM diet only works properly if you stick to what is, after all, only a short period of discipline.
- Do your shopping for all the ingredients you need before you start. If you have to visit the grocery store in the middle of your diet, you may be tempted by the diet-wrecking treats on display.
- Packaged fruit juices often contain added sugar and other undesirables. It’s best to make your own, and they taste better anyway.
- Avoid trying to do the GM diet in a particularly stressful week, such as when a major work deadline is looming.
- Moderate exercise and plenty of sleep will help you stay focused.
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Give it a try and be prepared for success
If you stick to the GM diet for just one short stint of 7 days, there is almost no way you can avoid losing weight. Many people who try it once become converts for life, recharging and refreshing their body with this vitamin-rich eating plan once, twice, three times a year, or even more often. Why not look at your calendar right now and circle the week that is going to lead to a slimmer, healthier you? Your friends will be clamoring to know your secret, and you can send them here for all the information they need to get them started on the road to GM diet success.