March 2006 "How the Rich Get Thin"

The Park Avenue secret to weight loss
by Lindsey Unterberger

You can never be too rich or too thin.

Or so the saying goes. Whether you agree with it or not, you have to wonder how those Park Avenue princesses do it. They can't all have hit the genetic lottery or be slaves to plastic surgery. So what's their secret to looking beyond fabulous in those couture suits? They dine at the finest restaurants, have drivers ready at their beck and call and certainly don't live in fifth-floor walk-ups, so what's responsible for their perfect-at-any-age bodies?

Behind many a socialite's figure is Jana Klauer, MD, a Park Avenue diet doctor. Klauer has taken the excuse she hears from many of her high-powered clients and turned it into a diet plan. She capitalizes on the drive of her rich and famous patients and uses it as a key to success.

Her clients, she says, are motivated. They're somewhat driven, status conscious, and they see themselves as achievers.

So how do these traits translate into the world of dieting?

"They see themselves as being able to do it," Klauer says, "and when they have a plan, they just go for it. I guess that's the best way to put it. I think that's it. It's just believing that you can do something and being willing to work hard for it that has worked for them in business and has worked for them in other aspects of their lives, and it works for them here. And, in fact, it can work for anybody."

Klauer's plan is based on five nonnegotiables, as she calls them:

1. Daily exercise for healthy muscles and to prevent flab and fat
2. Protein included in every meal
3. Calcium to boost metabolism
4. Conquering your food cravings
5. Elimination of all processed food

The nonnegotiables, she says in her book, are those things that absolutely cannot be skipped. They make the difference between losing weight and keeping it off. By sticking with these principles and adopting a Park Avenue mind-set, Klauer claims you'll lose at least two to four pounds in the first week.

Her plan even includes a "jump-start" three-day program to kick your metabolism into high gear, which helps you lose weight quickly.

Although Klauer's book explains how she helps the chicest of chic trim down, she stresses that the plan she prescribes is for anyone. "It's not just for rich people. It is a healthy way of life that we all can easily adapt."

She recently shared her best tips for starting and succeeding on her Park Avenue plan, whether you live in New York City or New Mexico.

Why do you think your plan works?
I think a lot of it is common sense. Inactivity and empty calories make us fat and sick. If you get rid of that and learn a little bit about nutrition, eat in the right way, you will become well and slim. That's it. People didn't always look like this; people used to be normal weight.

What's the biggest excuse you hear when it comes to daily exercise? Is it that people don't have a enough time?
That is the number one thing that I hear. The number one excuse, and in fact, it is just that, an excuse. You do have the time. It is there. That is exactly what I say.

Even for those working 110 hours a week?
The time is there. You have to put it in. It will make you more efficient if you do. A 110-hour work week, hmm… I think I used to work that as a medical resident. Did I exercise? You bet I did. Did it help me out? Sure did.

Convenience food is much easier for those on-the-go, what do you tell your clients about grocery shopping?
When you shop at the grocery store, if you just buy the pre-made foods or the processed foods -- things in the middle of the store -- it's not good nutrition. You are paying extra money for that. It is better to shop the periphery, and get some vegetables, fresh vegetables or even frozen vegetables. Just keep those in your freezer or your refrigerator. Just be mindful of what you're eating. Take real nutrition for your snack. Have a few nuts. Have a little piece of cheese and some fresh fruit. That doesn't cost a lot of money, and it is certainly benefiting your body rather than the empty calories of anything that you are going to get out of a vending machine.

How can those low on time make eating healthily work for them?
On the weekend, make one day marketing day, and make sure that you purchase for yourself and for your family enough snacks that are healthy. You buy enough fruit and, say, cheese in quantity. Slice it, make little cubes of cheese. You can even get it cubed in the supermarket, low-fat cheese. Cube it so that you have 1-ounce portions, and just put it in those little snack bags with a piece of fruit or some nuts, and put it into the refrigerator. So, now everything is portion controlled.

What are some other ways to save money on your plan?
Don't purchase soda. Don't buy soda for the family. In fact, a way to save money on one area, and perhaps spend a little money in the vegetable section is to cut out carbonated beverages. Whether they're sugared or they are diet-carbonated beverages, which also increase your drive for sweetness, just cut those out. Don't get those, and instead, go and buy some green tea or some herbal tea. Make up some herbal tea, and just keep that in your refrigerator. And you can take that, then you have lovely herbal tea for your snack beverage.

Eating healthy during the weekends is often the hardest part of a diet. What advice to you have for sticking with your eating plan, even at a restaurant?
Many of my patients dine out every night of the week -- in the finest restaurants in New York City -- it is a challenge. What I tell them is: Don't go to a dinner hungry. Have something to eat before. I suggest a hard-boiled egg; that seems to work for almost everyone. The wonderful thing about having a hard-boiled egg is that is stays with you. It gives good protein, and as far as the yoke, if you get the Omega-3 eggs, then the yoke is going to be a source of healthy fat for the body.
Then, cocktail time. Never take the doughy hors d'oeuvres. Take something that is healthful. Take the crudités, perhaps a shrimp. Those are always at cocktail parties. If you're going to a restaurant, maybe you're the hostess. Pre-order a tray of crudités for the table. You can even tell the restaurant when you make the reservation, "Oh, sorry but we have a wheat allergy." Just say that, and they'll go along with that… And order a large bottle of mineral water for the table. So now the tone is set. Everything looks healthy, and it looks beautiful. And you have something wonderful to nibble on before deciding on what you are going to eat.
Find out what the menu is in advance. Most restaurants have their menus online, or you can call the restaurant to find out what they are serving. Decide what you will be eating before arriving at the restaurant. You have your plan. It's just like a business plan. Don't walk into a meeting and say "Oh my goodness, what should we talk about today," and you don't walk into a restaurant and say, "What shall I have to eat?"
Also, another thing to keep in mind for restaurants is that restaurant portions are too darn big. They are huge. And the thing is, they don't know when they are making the food back in the kitchen whether they are making it for a man who is 6'6" and weighs 250 or they're making for a woman who is 5'2" and weighs 110 pounds. They don't know. So it makes sense to me that a woman who is 5'2" should, perhaps, cut that in half. So that's what you start with, especially if you are trying to lose weight, you cut the restaurant-sized portion in half.

Once you begin to lose the weight, what is the key to keeping it off?
The key to keeping it off is being mindful and taking care of your health. And thinking, "What benefit does this food have to my body? What have I done for myself to benefit my health?" Even on the days you are sick, you can still do things. If you have a cold or you really don't feel like going for a five-mile run in the morning, you can still have a stretch. Drink plenty of water to hydrate yourself. Don't eat food that is bad for you. It's a better quality -- it's not about deprivation. I think that's the key.
For more diet secrets of the rich and famous, buy Jana Klauer's How the Rich Get Thin.

Copyright © 2006, Dr. Jana Klauer, M.D., P.C.

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