Once famous for her acting career, Suzanne Somers is now becoming even more well-known for her diet and fitness contributions. With the publication of the book “Suzanne Somers Diet: Eat Great, Lose Weight” in 1999, the “Somersizing” began. In her book, Somers lays out her case for losing weight with a low carb, high protein diet that also encourages a system of combining foods that work together to help the body burn fat instead of working against each other to produce more sugar in the body. The system has become known as Somersizing.
The Premise: Somer’s plan is a 2-Phase program that allows you to eat approximately 1200 calories a day. She encourages 30 minutes of daily exercise and is adamant about eating healthy, whole foods to lose weight and maintain the weight loss. The Suzanne Somers Diet encourages vegetables and restricts refined sugars and all processed foods.
- Phase 1: Weight-loss phase
This phase consists of no refined sugars, no processed foods, 1200 calories a day and a strict limit on carbohydrates. Dieters will also be introduced to Somer’s Super 7 Rules (see below) which are consistent throughout both phases of the plan.
- Phase 2: Maintenance phase
This phase gives you the freedom to eat what you want, as long as you follow the Super 7 Rules and continue to exercise.
- Somer’s Super 7 Rules:
1 No refined sugar or foods that simply break down into sugar.
2 Combine proteins and vegetables together at meals or snacks.
3 Combine whole grain carbohydrates and vegetables together at meals or snacks.
4 No combining carbohydrates with proteins or fats.
5 No skipping meals.
6 Only eat fresh fruits on an empty stomach and preferably before a meal.
7 When switching from a protein/vegetable combination to a carbohydrate/vegetable combination, always wait 3 hours between.
What to get excited about: Experts agree that this plan of healthy eating is a recipe for a healthy lifestyle. For dieters that love the taste of real food and dread the task of low-fat grocery shopping, Somer’s plan is right up their alley. This program is inexpensive, and everything you need to know, including recipes, is in the book. There are no special pre-prepared foods, pills, or supplements to purchase. The plan, including the Super 7 Rules, is flexible for people that cook for themselves or prefer dining out!
Things to consider: The most controversial part of the Somers Plan is the concept of food combining, which is popular in France but lacks the scientific proof to validate it. Somers maintains that combining the wrong kinds of foods together in a meal (ex.: fats and carbohydrates) causes the food to turn into sugar or glucose. Then the body stores that sugar into fat instead of metabolizing it right away. That leads to unhealthy weight gain. Somers details the dangers of bad food combinations and foods that she considers funky foods because they are whole, but high in natural sugar. Both, she maintains, feed a high glycemic index that promotes weight gain. Some also suggest that 1200 calories is a restrictive number of calories for Phase 1 and may not be doable for many dieters.
The Verdict: This is by no means your classic, low-carb diet. This plan is more of a carb-conscious program that limits the carbohydrates in the beginning phase, but returns healthy carbs to the diet during maintenance. What the Suzanne Somers diet does well is it hits all of the high points of a good weight-loss and maintenance plan: healthy eating habits, exercise, no meal skipping, and moderation with meals. To top it off, she teaches you how to manage these changes for a lifetime. However, if the idea of food combinations and not eating fruit with other foods seems cumbersome or even confusing, this plan will not be easy for you to follow.