The Sonoma diet is a plan that is promoted as “the most flavorful weight loss plan under the sun.” The plan emphasizes the enjoyment of eating flavorful foods, rather than its restrictions.
The diet was developed by Connie Guttersen and is based on the cultures of the Sonoma region of California and of the Mediterranean coast of Europe. The concept behind her diet is based on the lifestyle of the people who live in the Sonoma Valley region of California, which is known for its wineries.
The Sonoma diet plan can be acquired by her books or by the online program, which cost $5 dollars a week. Either resource will guide you through the types and the amount of food to eat. And like many diets, it involves three phases, or, as she describes, waves that dieters go through.
Each phase involves different guidelines and recipes. However, a unique part of the Sonoma diet involves changing the sizes of plates and bowls along with a moderate consumption of wine.
The diet also has its version of “power foods”, which Guttersen encourages dieters to use as often as possible. Some of these foods are spinach, bell peppers, blueberries and broccoli. These foods are low in calories and high in nutrients and are frequently included in many of the plans weight loss recipes.
Wave 1 The first wave or phase last 10 days and is designed to change eating habits. Like the South Beach diet, foods that contain large amounts of sugar and process flour are restricted. Of course this includes any types of desserts. During this phase you are told that you will see quick weight loss.
The basic purpose of wave 1 is to ween you off of high calorie, low nutrient foods. At times you may feel irritable and sluggish. This is just your body ajusting to its new eating regimen. If you can stick it out, this usually goes away as your body learns to make better use of its new energy sources.
Wave 2 During this phase, weight loss is slower, but consistent. The time spent on this phase is determined by the amount of weight that you need to lose. An important part of this phase is learning how to enjoy meals more slowly. As for the meals themselves, the recipes are more varied and wine is included with them if you like. However, desserts are still not allowed.
On this phase, you will be eating a lot of grains. The purpose of this is to take advantage of the fiber found in these foods. Besides being a source of some micronutrients, it also helps with the digestion of foods throughout your body, plus it has practically zero calories. So even though your body must burn calories to process it, no net calories are added to your waistline.
Wave 3 Once you have reached your desired weight, the Sonoma diet moves to its maintenance phase. On this wave, food is increased until your weight is maintained. This is done by increasing servings of fruits and vegetables. You are also now allowed to occasionally enjoy foods on the forbidden list.
Throughout all waves, you are to rely on a plate an bowl concept to control portion sizes. Plates are 7 inches and bowls can hold two cups. Diagrams in the books and on the online program demonstrate how the portion sizes of the food should fill your plate and bowls. According to Guttersen, this takes the difficulty out of having to measure individual portions.
Even though the Sonoma Diet likes to emphasize and market itself by stating what foods you can eat, there are still forbidden foods that you are not supposed to eat. These are mostly foods that contain refined flours and lots of sugar. So foods such as cakes, cookies, white breads, cereals, and chips are a big no-no. The exception are for foods that contain the word “whole” before it, such as whole wheat or whole grain.
Like many diets, certain foods are restricted. This can be challenging at first, but if you are able to stick to it, in many cases you start to prefer the more healthier foods. Of course, since your addiction to food and overeating is in many cases psychological, getting over that hump will be necessary as well. The book does very little to address this point.
Because the diet emphasizes whole and fresh foods as oppose to just eating less of foods you normally eat, which for many of you are foods that are high in calories, overall it is a hearth-healthy diet, in addition to functioning as a weight loss diet. And even though it does promote the drinking of wine, this part is optional, as excluding it will not effect the effectiveness of the diet.
As for the cost, the foods on the diet can be costly, which can be a drawback for some, since whole and fresh foods tend to be more expensive. However, I do not fault the diet for that. Until society makes a better effort to make these foods more affordable, the shrinking of our national waistline will not happen anytime soon.
Another important element of weight loss is of course exercise. Guttersen does not address this, which is the plan’s only serious shortcoming.
In general, the Sonoma Diet is a workable and nutrient-rich weight loss plan. The foods not only support weight loss, they also encourage good overall health. This is very important, because your aim should be to just not only lose weight, but to also develop a more healthier lifestyle. The Sonoma diet does this, which makes it an eating plan that you can follow the rest of your life.