Waist Watchers: The LeBron Diet

Waist Watchers: The LeBron Diet

(WVUE) - For weight loss motivation, look no further than the shrinking stars. Celebrity before-and-after pictures are splattered all over the Internet, and they make losing weight look so easy.

LSU Health Sciences Nutritionist Rebecca Miller says looks can be deceiving.

"We're not seeing their day-to-day struggles, so we perceive it to be easy," says Miller. "We think if they can do it, we can do it."

But of all the recent diet plans, programs and promises out there, one that's been getting a lot of attention is the one basketball great LeBron James followed for 67 days during the off-season.

"He said he cut out sugar, carbohydrates, and dairy, a lot of your sugar sources essentially," Miller says.

She also says his description of the diet isn't completely accurate, since he still ate fruits and veggies which have carbohydrates and natural sugar. LeBron basically followed a low carbohydrate-Paleo hybrid diet.

Either way, the "what's allowed" list is pretty short.

You're allowed lean meats, healthy fats like nuts and olive oil, any fruit and most vegetables, except for potatoes, which are higher in starch and sugar. And the "off-limits" list is fairly long. You can't have any processed food, any simple carbohydrates, which includes baked goods and cereals, or anything with sugar.

Also no grains, no dairy and no alcohol is allowed.

LeBron lost roughly 20 pounds in the process, but Miller says 67 days on such a strict diet isn't ideal.

"You really don't want to go low carb for an extended time," says Miller. "It's probably not that realistic for you, plus carbs and sugars are your main source of fuel for your body and your brain, so you don't want to do no carbohydrates."

We found a couple of fellow Raycom Media employees, both with busy lifestyles and both wanting to knock off what they would call a few pounds. Misty Stiver and Kevin Smith jumped at the chance to put the so-called LeBron diet to the test for one month. First, they learned the ins and outs of grocery shopping from a nutrition coach. And they found out fast that to win on this diet, you need a play book, serious meal planning and willpower.

LeBron's meals were picture perfect. He even posted a snapshot of a dessert made just for King James that he says he didn't even taste while vacationing in Greece.

In the end, Smith dropped 10 pounds in one month and Stiver was 12 pounds lighter. Both say sticking to the diet was hard. Smith missed eating carbs and Stiver says she didn't realize that sugar is in just about everything you eat.

LeBron was able to pull off this diet, not only because of his athleticism, but also his resources.

"He has a whole team that he's working with. He has a doctor, dieticians and cooks probably working with him to make sure he's getting all the nutrients he needs," Miller points out.

But health experts advise against doing what LeBron did if you're thinking long-term.

"So I think people like the idea of doing something short term and drastic to get the weight off, but they don't keep it off and in the process, they lower their metabolism," Miller says. "People unfortunately want quick changes and they see that from celebrities sometimes. It's just not the best way to go about reaching your weight loss goals."

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