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The Rotation Diet

A book by Martin Katahn

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Becoming the super dieting idiot...

  • Oct 6, 2010
Pros: you will lose weight

Cons: very unhealthy weightloss concepts, will result in more weight gain.

The Bottom Line: This diet really isn't a good idea for anyone because of the huge adverse effects of it's crash dieting principles.

As a personal trainer for the United States military, I have seen so many different dieting concepts over the years. The biggest problem with the large majority of these diets is that they are only capable of short term results, because they don't take into consideration the different hormones and chemicals currently in the body, and the ones that are needed for different processes in the body, including those required for metabolism.

Some of the biggest flawed diets that I have seen include the ones that are focused on high protein levels, low carbohydrates, and the so called 'starvation diets'. These diets are just unrealistic and result in a major loss in muscle mass, which results in a quick weight reduction, but increases weight gain over time as the body loses it's capability to burn calories on it's own. These diets almost always reduce the bodies natural metabolism over time, and result in drastic negative implications over the long haul.

But even with all of these worthless diets, there still seem to be new ones that pop out of thin air and surprise you with even more seemingly idiotic concepts. One of these stupid concepts comes from Martin Katahn in his book The Rotation Diet.

About the Author
Martin Katahn is a weightloss moron marvel! Katahn is somehow the director of the University of Vanderbilt Weight Management Program and is the author of several other weightloss books, which I am sure offer other seemingly stupid weightloss concepts that are horribly flawed, poorly planned out, and only work in the land of the idiots where weight is lost through voodoo trickery and by a crew of small nearly invisible weight removal trucks that cruise into the body and remove load after load of unwanted fat.

About the Diet
Essentially the diet is all about doing exactly what you aren't supposed to do in a diet, CRASH YOURSELF!!! Katahn apparently hasn't read anything in the Journal of Medicine, he hasn't read any studies, reports, or anything about the topic of weightloss, because if he had, then he couldn't possibly think that this diet is a good idea.

The premise is that the body loses or gains weight in three week cycles. How he came up with this concept of three week cycles is beyond me, but I'm sure it involved as much intelligence as my son eating cereal out of the trash can regardless of how many times he gets in trouble for it.

Women start their first week with 600 calories a day and men get 1,200 calories per day. This isn't even really enough food to keep your body energized. On a 600 calorie a day diet, your body is going to feel starved, when your body feels starved it is going to start storing fat, and breaking down muscle to convert to energy. What is ultimately going to happen from this first week is you are going to lose weight, but it is going to be a combination of water weight, fat weight, and muscle weight. The weight that most concerns me is the muscle weight, because the amount of muscle that you have ultimately determines the amount of calories that are burned on a daily basis. The less muscle you have, the less energy is needed by you body each day. So if you were to eliminate 3 pounds of muscle weight, then you would lose a substantial chunk of your body's natural ability to lose weight, which would ultimately result in your gaining more weight back once the diet is completed.

The next weeks get a little bit easier allowing women to consume 900, men 1500, then the third week 1200 for women and 1800 for men. While these are still unacceptable calorie levels for women especially, really all you are accomplishing is completely confusing your body. After the three weeks is up, you are essentially allowed to do whatever the hell you want, eat whatever you want, etc. The author however stresses the importance of eating somewhat restricted, for example avoiding 'caloried' beverages. So essentially you can eat whatever you want, but if you drink nothing but water, then you should be fine.

The author really stresses throughout the book that most diets fail because people get bored with the diet and can't finish it. By allowing the users increased calories week after week and then allowing for an off week allows the dieter a chance to slowly rebuild themselves psychologically so that they are able to stay motivated and continue the diet.

My Thoughts
The concepts in this diet can be used, however, they shouldn't realistically be used in full. The crash dieting concept over and over again isn't a healthy one. You are going to do more long term damage to your body, than it is worth. You will notice some short term weightloss, but it will be at the cost of your metabolism, which is the only thing that is going to keep your weight off during the long term process.

The concept of taking a week off is a smart one. I would suggest using parts of this diet, simple concepts in order to make your own diet plan stronger. I like the concept of gradually increasing your consumption of food, then taking a week off, but don't do it at the extreme levels that the author suggests and I would do it on say a 5 day cycle. Maybe increase your calorie intake from 1500 calories the first day to 2000 the last day for men and start at 1300 for women and work to 1700 for women, then take a day off. If you were to do this, that would be more than acceptable without getting too crazy and causing more harm than good. Or maybe you could diet during the week and take the weekend off. Regardless of what you do, crashing dieting is never good, and that is all this diet is, a really well organized crash diet.

Other concepts in the book
other areas of the book talk about eating healthy with healthier recipes that are low fat. Most of these recipes that are included in the book are so bland and boring, that if you are capable of making it through a few of them, you are going to lose all of your motivation to continue on the diet. There is a certain point when it just isn't worth the pain of the diet to continue on with it and the dieting foods are pretty painful and they have to be in order to hit the calorie requirements of the first week especially.

The book also includes a calorie counter to help out with the weightloss program. This sort of takes the guess work out of everything for you. However, it's a pretty worthless calorie counter that doesn't include very many items, so it would just be in your best interest to buy one of the larger calorie counter handbooks, which retail for around $8 at most bookstores. They are pretty readily available, especially at amazon.com and I highly suggest them for anyone that is on a diet as a means of better understanding your diet.

The book also includes a 21 day menu so that it takes all of the guess work out of eating for you. While this is extremely essential if you are going to stick to this diet, the eating guidelines are quite boring and make it even harder to stick to the diet, because you quickly become bored with what is offered to you. Also the biggest problem is that you can't really just jump into a 600 calorie a day diet without a little preparation. You have to shrink your stomach prior to starting this diet otherwise it's going to be damn near impossible to keep to the 600 calories a day without a TON of willpower. I would suggest slowing down your eating habits substantially the week prior and then starting up the diet, it will make it MUCH easier on yourself, if you feel like you absolutely have to do the diet.

My personal experience on the diet
I did this diet long before I knew anything about dieting, healthy eating, and nutrition, back when I was in high school trying to lose weight prior to basketball season to make it somewhat easier on myself to get back into things. Every year I would find myself working hard, exercising in an attempt to lose 5-10 pounds the month prior to the start of football, basketball, or baseball season. Losing this extra weight would prove to be monumental in my overall performance in the first weeks of practice, which would ultimately determine where I stood against the other players on the team and where I would spend my season.

I was capable of sticking to this diet exclusively for the entire 21 day program and found myself worse off in the long tun than I was before I started. What I found was that the diet left me feeling extremely week, lacking energy that I needed in order to achieve my workout goals. By not working out as much, because of the lack of energy, my opportunity cost, was my missing out on the potential to lose a lot of easy pounds. The diet grew old extremely fast and I found myself craving everything, even things that I normally would hate. I became much more irritable and reclusive. I would come straight home from school and often times hide out in my room and sleep so that I wouldn't think about the food that I was missing out on. This got slightly easier to deal with as the weeks went on and I was able to increase my calories per day, but essentially resulted in me sitting on my current weight rather than trying to actively burn it through activity.

What ultimately ended up happening was that I was incapable of maintaining my level of activity, prior to the diet, so I ended up losing weight, but probably nowhere near as much as I would have lost from just doing my workout program on it's own and eating sensibly. By the time I had completed the diet, I was feeling so week that it took me a week or two before I fully recovered and regained the same energy level that I had prior to the diet.

Final Thoughts
I diet based upon crash diets is never a good one. The body doesn't respond well to a massive drop in calorie consumption so the first week is where the diet truly fails and it never lets up after that. The diet forces the body to use muscle mass for energy, which results in an unfavorable long term result, although short term you will definitely lose a few pounds.

If you plan on using this diet, I highly suggest that you truly consider ways o fslightly modifying the diet. If it was slightly altered I'm sure that some of the concepts could truly work towards weightloss, but as it stands, the weightloss concepts are more dangerous and wreckless dieting than anything else.


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Clacky McSnackins ()
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About this book


Anyone with a weight problem can lose up to a pound a day and never gain it back with Martin Katahn's fabulous and famous Rotation Diet. It's simple . . . it's safe . . . it's fast . . . it lasts . . . and it's a bestseller. To keep "rotating", Bantam also offers Maintaining the Rotation Diet audio cassette in a mixed book/cassette floor display. Each display contains 30 books and 6 cassettes and each book/cassette display is net priced. A 36-copy Rotation Diet (books only) floor display is available at standard Ingram discount.
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ISBN-13: 978-0553276671
Author: Martin Katahn
Genre: Health & Fitness
Publisher: Bantam Books
Date Published: December 01, 1996
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