While health experts say diets don't work on their own and it's all about lifestyle change, it's hard to make that change. Now a new approach to weight loss, called the Kick-Start Soup Diet, may bring relief.
Heart specialist, Dr Andrew Sindone, says he lost 15kg in six months on the diet without trying hard.
"I went on to one of these fad diets ... and I lost 3kg in the first week," he said.
That's not bad from a leading heart doctor who knows the downside of being overweight, with cardiovascular disease being closely linked to obesity.
Dr Sindone's rooms are crowded with people suffering the slippery slide of ill health, made worse by being overweight.
The Kick-Start Soup Diet seems to work quickly because it is low in carbohydrate and fat.
Some of the weight loss is just water but after you dust off the walking shoes and start to exercise the fat starts to fall.
"Because most healthy diets you don't lose weight in the first month but with the Kick-Start you can get some weight off and then hopefully keep losing it once you're on a healthy diet," Dr Sindone said.
If you want to kick-start your weight-loss program with the fat-free, low-carbohydrate soup, the first thing to do is take a trip to the greengrocer to pick up your ingredients.
Then it's as simple as putting all the ingredients in a pot and away you go.
Merrick Mas and Sandy Wean have tried every diet under the sun.
They are both on the "rhythm method" of girth control, where weight goes on and comes off in a never-ending cycle.
The girls are giving it one last go, trying the Kick-Start plan.
"It's got all the foods in it that I love and it has a wonderful flavour," Ms Mas said.
You can drink the soup whenever you're hungry; the more soup you drink, the more weight you lose.
And if you're going out to work, just fill up a thermos and take it with you.
There's also a seven-day eating plan that goes with the soup.
"You really have to find something that tastes good and lets you eat a lot; if you can lose weight and still eat a lot you've got it won," Ms Wean said.
Remember, you can drink tea when you're thirsty but do not have soft drinks, bread, oil or fried foods.
If the plan upsets your metabolism you may need to restore fibre in your diet by adding a cup or two of bran to your soup each week.
As for the exercise component: you don't have to run a daily marathon, just give those walking shoes a workout for 30 minutes every day.
There is one special rule about this soup diet: no booze - not even a drop.
If you have any health conditions discuss them with your doctor before starting the plan.
And most importantly, communicate, communicate, communicate: remember to discuss your eating and exercising habits with your doctor, who will help you roll on to a balanced eating program when you reach your goal weight.
"I love eating soup and if it's going to help me lose weight I'm going to love it even more," Ms Wean said.
Before starting any new eating plan you should consult your doctor to see if it is right for you, particularly if you are taking any medication.For the Kick-Start Soup Diet soup recipe and seven-day plan, click on the link below.''Disclaimer
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Low GI kick-start diet
� Reporter: Dr John D'Arcy
� Broadcast Date: June 17, 2005
You can kick-start your weight loss by simply shopping smarter with this scientifically proven way of fighting the flab.
GI stands for glycemic index, foods scientifically proven to make you feel fuller for longer.
Kaye Foster-Powell is the senior dietician at Wentworth Area Diabetes Service and co-author of the New Glucose Revolution series.
"Low GI foods take longer to digest so they'll sit in your stomach for longer giving you a feeling of fullness," Ms Foster-Powell said.
"Many studies show if you eat a high GI diet your more likely to get diabetes and more likely to get heart disease," she added.
Low GI foods have two important advantages for people trying to lose weight:
�They fill you up and keep you satisfied for longer than their high GI counterparts.
�They reduce insulin levels and help you burn more body fat and less muscle, so that your metabolic rate is higher.
The glycemic index, or GI, is simply a numerical way of describing how much the carbohydrates in individual foods affect blood glucose levels (glycemia).
The GI ranks foods from 0 to 100.
Foods with a high GI value contain carbohydrates that cause a dramatic rise in blood glucose levels, while foods with a low GI value contain carbohydrates with much less impact.
[Related story: Bread for success]
Low GI foods
Low fat dairy products
Medium GI foods
High GI foods
Keep these to an absolute minimum
Short grain white rice
Highly processed food
At the Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service, GI levels of foods available for human consumption are assessed and ranked.
The tests are carried out on humans. Thirty minutes after eating various foods the scientists at the university are able to get a reading of the GI level of the food by reading your blood sugar levels.
Too much glucose in your bloodstream can cause damage to your body.