The Idiot Proof Diet

We’ve had a lot of requests for information about this diet plan over the last year or two. We were not impressed with the lack of information or even simple contact information on their website. There was no indication that the creators of the diet had any interest or knowledge in nutrition. Instead, the website and subscription program were created by a company called “Internet Made Simple”. This left us feeling a little more than leary about the plan and we had difficulty recommending that anyone hand over their money for a mysterious and anonymous diet plan. We believe that everyone should be well aware of what a diet plan has to offer before paying for it. We’ve also heard from people that did pay for the subscription and were disappointed. The best review of all came from a Toronto newspaper journalist, Megan Ogilvie, who graciously gave us permission to reprint her article on Fat Loss 4 Idiots from her Diet Decoder column.

DIET: www.FatLoss4Idiots.com ($27 U.S./$31.47 Cdn for 90-day access to website)

CREATOR: A California-based company called Internet Made Simple.

CELEBRITY EDGE: None. What celebrity would endorse a diet with that moniker?

CLAIM: Lose nine pounds every 11 days. The diet’s creators claim that the key to weight loss is to rotate eating patterns and to shift calorie consumption. They say the body’s metabolism burns calories based on past eating habits and that it assumes these habits will stay the same. If people eat different types of calories every day, they will trick their body’s metabolism into burning all of the calories consumed, as well as the “nearest available fat tissue” on the body.

PROGRAM: The diet sells itself on being “idiot-proof.” That is, people who sign up for the website don’t have to count calories, read labels or come up with meal plans. The website relies on an “online diet generator” to automatically compute a “customized diet.”

To start, dieters choose up to 30 foods from a list of 46 choices. The diet generator creates an 11-day meal plan with four meals per day that can be eaten in any order. There are no calorie limits at any meal; dieters eat until they are satisfied, but not full. After 11 days, dieters can eat whatever they like for three days. They can then use the diet generator again to create a new 11-day plan.

SIDE NOTES: The website offers a second weight-loss plan that also relies on the idea of rotating calories. This one consists of 10 rules and comes in the form of a 45-page e-book. Rule 9 recommends one hour of gentle walking every day; the diet’s creators claim that non-strenuous exercise burns fat.

ALLOWED: Only the foods listed on the 11-day meal plan and any low-calorie condiments. Diet soft drinks, coffee, tea and water are also allowed.

PROHIBITED: Anything else.

EXPERT OPINION: This is a very misleading website, says Toronto-based registered dietitian Stephanie De Maio. It promises a fast, easy and customized weight-loss plan comprised of people’s favourite foods. But the diet is, in fact, extremely restrictive in terms of food choices, she says.

“People who log on to the website will fall for its promises,” De Maio says. “People feel in control of their diet when they can choose foods they like to eat.”

Meals created by the diet generator are bizarre. De Maio lists some of the meals on her 11-day plan: “Day 1, Meal 1 is cheese sticks and cottage cheese. Another meal is 1 ounce of cheese and low-calorie salad dressing.”

Foods on the meal plan are generally low in calories and carbohydrates and higher in protein. De Maio points out that many of these foods, such as luncheon meats, are high in sodium. These are poor choices, she adds, since the average Canadian already eats more more than the daily sodium allowance. The diet is also low in nutrient density and people who stick with the plan are in danger of becoming nutrient deficient.

People who do lose weight on this plan are likely losing water, not fat. As soon as the 11 days are up and people return to their old eating habits, any lost weight will be gained back, De Maio says. While there is a weight-loss concept based on zigzagging calories to increase metabolism, De Maio says it hasn’t been proven scientifically.

“This is a very discouraging plan,” she says. “Any weight loss will be extremely temporary. This is not a healthy, balanced way to lose weight.”

The website’s second weight loss plan is equally bizarre, De Maio says. “Their recommendation to avoid strenuous activity to burn fat is wrong,” she says. “It is a fact that the harder you work out, the more calories you burn. Strenuous activities and weight-bearing activities that push muscles to 80 to 90 per cent heart rate do burn the most fat.”

EXPERT VERDICT: “This is a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate diet that relies on foods low on the glycemic index. It’s high in sodium and low in nutrients. People who try this diet will only last 11 days before they crave other foods, eat them and gain back any weight they lost. It’s not worth the 20 pieces of paper I printed it on.”

OUR VERDICT: Please, please, please don’t try this diet.

Megan Ogilvie is a Toronto writer with a BSc in environmental science and an MSc from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Email [email protected] email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

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  • Lori

    I tried this diet and it did work. Although I did not lose 9 lbs in 11 days, on the first 11 day session I lost 7 lbs. In 4 months I had lost 25 pounds (with minimal exercise – I walk 45 min 3 days a week). Although I agree that the diet is very restrictive, it’s only for 11 days, then you have three days off to eat what you crave. Although I have since gained the weight back, I do not feel the diet was to blame for this. In fact it took almost two years of my “carefree” eating to gain the weight back. I have just started this diet again. I believe there is a diet out there for everyone and for me, it’s the only one that has worked.

  • Kim

    My mom has lost 35lbs on this diet and my dad has lost almost 50. Both of my parents struggled with many different diets for years and this is the only one that has seemed to work. Part of its success is that is is only restrictive for 11 days and then you get 3 free days, so they get to eat the foods they like and they actually don’t gain back the weight they’ve lost.

    It’s not for everyone though. I only wanted to lose 5lbs and I tried it and couldn’t do it, but for people who have a lot of weight to lose I think it’s good.

  • Kelly Besant

    Hi There, over a year ago I signed up to this diet and did the first 11 days then on the 3 day break I’d lost nothing but I then thought I’d continue for the next 11 days as it says to do and in that next 11 days and the 3 day break I lost 10 kilos!!!! it was fantastic and because in the 3 day break you can eat what you like it breaks the diet up I never felt hungry because you eat 4 small snacks a day which works with my lifestyle, and you do eat salad and vegetables not like the atkins danger diet!!

    I felt I ate fish, meat, salad, nuts, vegetables and cheese and the occasional slice of bread is allowed if quoted in the diet plan. I thought this seemed quite well balanced and then in the 3 day break you can eat potatos, rice, pasta & choccy cake!

    I could have stayed on this diet forever but I lost what I wanted to and then stopped. I have kept the weight off for the whole year and only since the Christmas season a few kilos have snuck back on but that is because I’ve eaten like a hog lol.

    I’m about to go on it again as I’ve paid my subscription I still have the generator and I’ll lose the extra kilos I’ve gained in the New Year and I might just lose a few extra to fit into a lovely little black dress I bought accidently in a size 10 instead of a 12 so that will work great.

    I don’t feel this is a bad diet, it’s not a long term eating plan of course but for 28 days it does what it says on the tin and more and as long as after the diet (as with any diet) you are sensible with your portions and food types you will not regain the weight.

    I swear by this diet but I’m not exactly fat or undiciplined with my food so to lose the odd stone this works, maybe it’s not great for severely overweight people.

    I was 82 kilos when I started and a size 14 (I’m 5′ 8″) I went down to 72 kilos and a size 12. I’m currently 75 kilos after 14 months & a glutenous Christmas this year which isn’t bad and I’d like to go to 65 ish which will push me to a size 10.

    I can acheive this by the end of January with this diet.

    I’ll try and come back in early Feb and tell you if for the second time this diet has worked for me.

    PS. I’m not exactly very excersize crazy either! I try and walk the dogs a couple of times a week and I do go to a keep fit class twice a week but that’s really about it.

  • Scott

    So the strong recommendation against this diet on this site is based on not a single person actually trying the diet? The “experts” said training morbidly obese people like professional athletes wouldn’t work, and look how the Biggest Loser has turned out. I know a number of people who used this diet and had very good results. What kind of dietician couldn’t come up with an idea like “taking vitamins” in order to avoid nutriet deficiency? It sounds like the main problem that the writer had with the diet was with the marketing on the diet’s website. It certainly was not based on any factual evidence.

  • Rhonda

    I have successfully lost 65 pounds with this diet (in 8-months)- my husband has lost 40 (in 7 months). I’d still like to lose another 20 pounds and I WILL. The nice thing is about this diet is the fact that if you gain a pound or two on a cruise or holiday sweets event, you simply diet again for 11 days and lose it and no, I don’t believe that I retained 65 pounds of water!!! People who say “you just lose water weight” are just looking for an excuse to not lose the weight they need to lose.

    I hate dieting, believe me, but I can live with this for 11 days and look forward to something good on my 3 days off. I try not to pig-out, however, so I don’t undo the good I’ve done. I have felt great! My joints don’t ache and I can actually run up the steps at school! So if it is the “diet for idiots”, then, here’s to being a successful idiot! Cheers!

  • Rhonda

    I have successfully lost 65 pounds with this diet (in 8-months)- my husband has lost 40 (in 7 months). I’d still like to lose another 20 pounds and I WILL. The nice thing is about this diet is the fact that if you gain a pound or two on a cruise or holiday sweets event, you simply diet again for 11 days and lose it and no, I don’t believe that I retained 65 pounds of water!!! People who say “you just lose water weight” are just looking for an excuse to not lose the weight they need to lose. And, you can buy low sodium deli meats and cheeses like I do.

    I hate dieting, believe me, but I can live with this for 11 days and look forward to something good on my 3 days off. I try not to pig-out, however, so I don’t undo the good I’ve done. I have felt great! My joints don’t ache and I can acatually run up the steps at school! So if it is the “diet for idiots”, then, here’s to being a successful idiot! Cheers!

  • Lizzy

    I am currently on the hcg diet and I have lost 13.2 pounds in 8days. Much of which could be water weight but either way I lost the weight. I am interested in trying the 11 day challenge because I can not continue on the HCG diet after this round and I need a diet that will allow me to eat a greater variety of foods. The HCG Diet works but it is very restrictive and I get bored easily. I would rather not eat at all if I have to eat the same thing everyday. I would love to hear other people’s feed back who have acutally used the diet.

  • indra

    hallo….saunds wery interesting…. can somebody send me a link, please?????because, i can faund this site…. i am from Latvia… and i realy want to try this diet.

  • Paula

    I love this diet!! I am on my 7th day out of the 11 days and when I got up this morning and I have lost 10 pounds so far!! I am so excited and pleased with it. Yes it is a litte difficult to start with gettin use to eating this way, but now its so simple and I DO NOT crave sugar anymore. When I first bought this plan I thought OMG I think I just waisted my money because I can not do this type of diet. But I figured I spent the money I better try it out and I had read all the reviews and they seemed to good to be true BUT THEY WERE TRUE!! I have recomended this diet to all my friends. You can not go wrong with it….

  • Sheila

    I am interested in trying the 11 day challenge because I can not continue on the HCG diet after this round and I need a diet that will allow me to eat a greater variety of foods. The HCG Diet works but I would like to eat more variety. Excited to get going on it!!

  • Sue

    “Another meal is 1 ounce of cheese and low-calorie salad dressing.”

    WRONG. Perhaps you should read the diet closer. That is the amount of topping you are allowed on your salad!!

    Better yet – try the diet. It includes all kinds of fruits and vegetables, dairy products, fish, and other proteins.

    I have used this diet in the past and lost weight. I agree that it can be difficult to stay with, but with the idea that you get a break after 11 days, it is doable.

    My husband and I have currently gone back on the diet to lose some more weight. I actually encouraged my husband to go on it because he needed to get his blood sugar down and I told him I would go on it as well. We just finished our 11 days, and he is down 8 and I have lost 9. We are taking our three days off and will be back on the diet to lose more on Monday.

    Whenever I used another diet, I only lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, and if any event came up and/or I ate just a little bit more than usual, I would quickly regain anything I lost. I never regained what I lost on this diet. I am only on this time around to get down down even lower – and try on my wedding dress to see if it will fit for the first time since I got married!!

  • MissJ

    Here’s a link to the diet which is also called the Idiot Proof Diet:
    http://www.ultimatefatburner.com/prolinkz/pl.cgi?idiotproof

    I’m on day 3 and I am surprised at how filling this diet is. I do miss some foods but realize it’s the result of the idle snacking I used to do. I haven’t weighed yet but absolutely expect that it’s working as the food combinations – though weird are satisfying.

    Good luck everyone!

  • Lanie

    Hello, everyone.

    See, this is why the internet has to be taken with a grain of salt (oh no, Canadian doctors, I said salt!!). The diet specifically states to watch your sodium intake, and there are many lunch meats available with lower sodium levels. Also, if you drink the required water and eat all of what you’re supposed to, the diet WORKS. As with any well-structured diet, you must follow ALL the rules, not just the ones you like best. And, for the skeptics out there, the same applies to the disdain of a diet you’ve either never been on or never done correctly. Science itself will tell you this diet is true to its claims.

    Also, this is not a “diet!” It’s a way to change your eating habits. There are so few restrictions that you can’t call it a diet unless you’ve been sitting around eating twinkies with a side of Big Mac! Sure, if you’ve been eating junk, it must seem like a diet. But you just can’t beat a plan of action that includes eating 4 times a day and as much as it takes to satisfy your hunger, and then taking 3 days off at the end of every 11!

    Good luck to everyone trying this plan. It DOES work, and even better if you add in the moderate exercise (also specifically stated in the plan).

  • anna

    I will say I was skeptical about any “fad” diet. I am very nutrition conscious and beleive in solid research. I did however, need a jump start to losing some pounds as being in my mid-4os, my hormones make it very difficult to drop even a few pounds even though I eat well and exercise 3 times per week, vigorously.

    The first time I tried the diet, I lost 6 pounds. Every time thereafter over the past 3 years, maybe 4 times, I have lost about the same. Altogether, since I started the diet I have lost 15 pounds and kept it off in 3 years. Thats all I needed to switch up my metabolism so that the good foods and exercise that I was doing actually maintained my health and weight. IT WORKS! ITS REAL! Its not harmful. I eat veggies, fish, fruit, organic and low salt lunch meats, dairy, nuts. All healthy foods. If you can get past the “strange” things you may eat at one meal or another, ie–turkey slices & cashews, you will do well.

    Personally, I can’t stay on it as a permanent diet (which it is not intended nor would I recommend), but do it a couple of times a year to jump start my metabolism and drop a few. Makes me feel good about myself when I feel more sprightly and can move to play tennis or work out.

    I learned of this diet from my aunt who was deseperate to lose weight and has lost and kept of 25 poinds over 5 years occasionally reverting back to it.
    Yes, its a bit strange, Yes, its not on most nutritionists top 10 list but it does work and you are not really eating unhealthy foods if you make the right choices.
    I figured, I’m strong and I could be worse off in this world so for 11 days, I can watch what I eat. You can do anything for 11 days and this you won’t regret.

  • caro

    My fiances mother did the diet and lost weight. So she had me chose the foods that I wanted to eat and printed out the 11 day meal plan for me. (I didn’t pay a dim). Brian and I began this diet on Monday. I’m on day 4 and yes I’m starving! But I think its all the junk food I would normally eat in between meals like chips, cookies, chocolate, bread etc.. I drink a lot of water daily and am super active all day long. I haven’t weighed myself yet but I can see I’m losing something because my pants fit me loser! If I don’t lose the 9 lbs by the 11th day I’m gonna shove this diet up someones ass. But if I do lose the pounds I’m gonna stick to it for longer because I want to wear shorts this summer!

  • Mr. 47

    I first used the idiot proof diet about 4 years ago and was blown away with the results. I started it in late Aug, early sept and by Halloween I had shed approx 25-30 lbs. I was consistently losing 8,9,10 lbs a week. Unforunatly I stopped using the diet after the holidays and gained back all the weight and then some, albeit over the course of about 4 years and due to an absolute disregard to what I was consuming. Iv been trying to get back on it but for some reason I can’t seem to adhere to it like I was back when I first used it. I just need a boost of willpower because the diet DOES WORK. My goal is to start using it and not stop until ALL the weight I want off is gone. If u are unsure of the diet, just take a browse around the net. Damn near every one who has used the diet claims it works as advertised and I can tell u first hand it does, but you have to follow it to the letter. That’s been my problem as of late.

  • elveta dryer

    i would like try this diet

  • It works for me

    This diet does work if you follow the rules. I do agree that it shouldn’t discourage exercise. I work out for 40 minutes to an hour at least 3 times a week (sometimes more) regardless if I’m on the 11 day cycle and even off the cycle I still follow the guidelines it gives. After I gave birth to my 3rd child in 2006 I bought this diet for $45 assuming it was probably a waste of money but in the first 6 months I lost over 50lbs. I felt like I had lost too much weight and stopped using it for about 6 months and only regained 15lbs. This diet has kept me at a healthy weight ever since and people always tell me how great I look for someone who’s given birth to 3 children. It is high in sodium but what isn’t these days?? The diet recommends drinking at least 10 large glasses of water a day to help flush it out. I do calorie count even though it says you don’t have to. I believe you should always know exactly what you are putting into your body. The only reason this diet doesn’t work for certain people is because they don’t have the will power to stick to it. It is as only restrictive as you make it but most of it is just basic common sense. Drink water, eat smaller portions, get up and move, and don’t constantly pig out on junk food. If you are hungry in-between meals, eat an apple. If you don’t want an apple, you aren’t really hungry.

  • Pam

    This is a great diet. There is specific information explaining how your body adjusts to the foods you eat. It’s available with the diet and it works.

  • http://jackasstrump.com Jat Trump

    Bogus and inaccurate review. The science is clear and accepted by HMOs.
    That woman is not a dietician but a charlatan.
    There are luncheon meats or portion sizes. What a liar.