PREVIOUSLY, I answered some of your most common questions about The UltraSimple program.
But I wanted to take another stab at helping where I can.
You asked — and I’ve answered!
Here are even more questions — and answers — about the UltraSimple program.
Note: Reminder, you can always find out more about the UltraSimple program by going to the our website.
Q. How can I exercise less and lose more weight?
A. It seems unbelievable, but it’s true. If you exercise smarter — not longer — your metabolism will improve. And the way to exercise smarter is by doing interval training. This is what athletes use to increase their performance.
But that extra edge is available not just to highly trained athletes — it’s available to everybody. It’s simply a matter of alternating high levels of exertion with lower levels of exertion. I describe how to do this in UltraMetabolism.
The goal is to increase the rate at which you burn calories, not just while you exercise but all day. So, yes, you can exercise less and lose more weight. (If you’re over 50 and haven’t been exercising or you smoke or have diabetes or high blood pressure, you should have a stress test from your doctor before you start.)
Q. What data do you have that proves I will truly be able to keep the weight off if I follow the program?
A. I wrote a chapter on dietary influences on health for The Textbook of Functional Medicine.
In that chapter, I cite 350 medical references. I outline, step-by-step, how food is not only calories, but also information. I also discuss how food talks to our genes and turns on messages of health and weight loss.
Real, whole, high-quality food may help us to avoid the deep-rooted conditions that lead to disease. This is firmly based on science. I also have my own data from my medical practice.
I have documented the changes in my patients’ blood work; reduction of blood sugar and inflammation; and improvement in thyroid function, metabolism, and detoxification.
Much of the medical literature on nutrition has been ignored by conventional medicine. But for the last 20 years, I have been studying this rich treasure trove of data on health and nutrition. Nutrition gets second-rate status in the medical profession.
It’s ironic. This is the most important thing that determines health and disease, and yet there’s no medical specialty that addresses it.
And when you’re paying for your pharmaceutical medications in the latter part of your life because you didn’t eat healthfully, you’re going to really be paying for it.
There is a group of dedicated scientists and practitioners trying to change this.
I’m on the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine. It is a nonprofit organization created by Dr. Jeffrey Bland to educate physicians in a new model of medicine.
Our goal is to educate physicians to understand how to take this revolutionary medical data and incorporate it into the practice of medicine now.
In addition, The Center for Mind-Body Medicine has an exceptional course designed to educate physicians about integrating nutrition into their practice called “Food as Medicine,” co-directed by my nutritionist, Kathie Swift.
Current scientific discoveries take 20 years to become incorporated into the practice of medicine. This is the most exciting time in the history of medicine.
Unfortunately, our current healthcare system (which should be known as a disease-care system) is not able to incorporate these findings into its existing structure.
That is why I feel that it’s so important for me to work with other doctors, do research, talk to consumers, and write books to bring awareness to the public that this medical revolution is here, it is now, and it is available to us. We don’t have to wait for the future.
Q. I’ve been on yo-yo dieting plans for a long time now. How do I know that this program will not only help me lose weight, but keep it off for good?
A. While The UltraSimple program is a quick start into a healthy way of living, it’s not a quick fix — despite the fact that you can lose up to 10 pounds in one week.
Instead, it is the beginning of a process of reprogramming your body for life. It is a way for you to understand how your body works. Once you learn how to work with your body rather than against it, you can maintain weight loss and good health.
You can always slip back into bad habits, increased stress, lack of exercise, and bad eating. And you might slip back. I find that the biggest trigger to fall away from caring for yourself is stress.
Most people can manage their biology better when they’re not stressed. My recommendations for journaling, stress reduction, sleep, and breathing are powerful tools that you can use to keep yourself on track.
Most people don’t understand how to find the “pause button” or their “off switch” that shuts down their nervous system. It’s chronically activated.
Most people stay up late, watch TV, answer emails, surf the net — and then expect to roll over and fall asleep. That’s not how our nervous system was designed. We need to wind down, calm ourselves, and sleep adequately.
Not getting enough sleep is a significant cause of metabolic imbalances. Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night is critical. These are some of the things you can do to arrest the yo-yo dieting pattern that people fall into.
Look at The UltraSimple program as a way of getting your health and your life back on track and your first step toward achieving UltraWellness.
UltraWellness is a way of life — a lifestyle that can help you correct the underlying issues that plague most of us in this society. That includes the 125 million Americans with chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, dementia, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, and so on. Also, two-thirds of us are overweight and more than 30 percent are obese.
This is an epidemic. It’s a juggernaut that’s not going to stop until we take control. We have to do it on a personal level and we have to do it on a political level. These are things that require persistent efforts. If we work collectively as citizens we can make a difference.
Q. The cost of some of the foods is really beyond my budget. What shortcuts can I take to save money?
A. Actually, studies show that eating healthy is not more expensive. And when you’re paying for your pharmaceutical medications in the latter part of your life because you didn’t eat healthfully, you’re going to really be paying for it. And your children will be paying for it too. There is no free ride.
There’s a hidden cost to every French fry from McDonald’s, to every Coca-Cola on the market — but it’s not built into the price of these foods. Instead, we’re paying it as a society, we’re paying it in our healthcare system (in our health insurance), and we are paying it in the goods and services we use for treating disease.
It is important to see that it’s not factored into the cost of foods we see on the label. With that said, eating whole, real foods doesn’t have to be expensive.
Whole grains, beans, and vegetables are generally inexpensive, and you can buy them in bulk. In fact, they’re a bargain, if you take into account the amount of nutrients in those foods compared to processed and junk food.
Wal-Mart and Safeway are now getting into the whole-foods market to compete with Whole Foods Market, our local food co-ops, and Wild Oats. These stores have an abundance of whole foods. It is important to look at all the choices you make and deliberately choose how to spend your health dollars.
Think about the cost of your lattes and your sodas and the convenience foods you buy here and there. The cost adds up, and these choices do not serve you. By doing a little bit of preparation and cooking ahead, you can cook great food and save a lot of money.
Q. How important is breakfast, and what should I eat for this meal?
A. Breakfast is probably your most important meal, because it sets you up for the entire day.
Because it sets up your metabolism for the entire day. People who eat breakfast sustain long-term weight loss. In a study of 3,000 people who sustained a weight loss of 70 pounds and kept it off for 6 or more years, all but 4 percent ate breakfast regularly. The other thing they had in common is that they exercised more than people who didn’t keep the weight off.
That was it — eating breakfast and exercising! It’s important to eat protein for breakfast, as in a protein shake, eggs, nuts, or dairy or soy yogurt. This is critical for setting up your metabolism to work the rest of the day. Even if you hard-boil some eggs the night before, put them in the fridge, and run out the door the next day with a bag of 2 hard-boiled eggs to eat on the road, it’s better than not eating anything. Plan in advance and you can even have something quick and tasty, like a protein shake or an UltraShake.
Q. What recommendations do you have for menopause and what do you prescribe to help the symptoms of menopause?
A. The UltraSimple program helps control inflammation and toxicity, both of which are contributors to postmenopausal weight gain.
Moving on to UltraMetabolism, which is a hormonally balanced way of eating, will help you cope with changes that occur around menopause. This way of life provides fiber, omega-3 fats, and low-glycemic-load foods, along with hormone-balancing phytonutrients. Reducing caffeine and alcohol will also help, because they promote menopausal symptoms and weight gain. Addressing stress is also critical.
Other recommendations of the program — like flax seeds, broccoli and other fresh vegetables, soy foods, and wild fish — all help control the symptoms of menopause, too. I’ve been taking care of menopausal women for a long time. And I only have to use something other than food, lifestyle changes, and herbs to help address menopausal symptoms in about 10 percent of my patients.
It is very important to understand that the principles I’ve outlined in The UltraSimple program and UltraMetabolism are designed for everyone — including menopausal women — because they were designed to support and enhance the body’s normal core functions.
Q. How do I eliminate allergies?
A. As I described in the UltraSimple book, there are two types of food allergies — acute and delayed. Conventional allergists using desensitization allergy shots given over a period of years can often treat the acute allergies effectively. These are the IgE allergies to foods like peanuts or shellfish or environmental allergies. The delayed allergies usually arise because of a leaky gut and are not permanent.
They can be reduced or eliminated by healing the leaky gut. This involves eliminating the allergenic foods for 90 days while eating a whole-foods, high-fiber diet and taking probiotics, vitamins and minerals, and omega-3 fats to heal the gut lining.
Some of these reactions may remain, but the trigger foods can often be eaten occasionally without much of a problem in many cases. However, they can become a problem when eaten on a regular basis.
Q. What are the sizes and amounts of meals I should have throughout the day and why?
A. The size of the meals depends on your size and your metabolic rate. The minimum number of calories you need to sustain your body is called your basal metabolic rate. You can calculate it as follows: 10 X your weight in pounds (for example, 150 lb. X 10 = 1,500 calories a day).
However, I recommend tuning into your body’s signals, needs, and natural appetite instead of counting calories. Once you eliminate sugar and allergenic foods, your body’s appetite control systems will regain balance and you can then eat when you are hungry and stop when you feel gently satisfied.
There is no calorie counting on The UltraSimple program or when you are living the UltraMetabolism lifestyle.
Q. When should I eat my meals?
A. Eat your meals according the schedule outlined in The UltraSimple program.
You don’t have to follow the times exactly, but make an effort to follow the general outline — breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, and dinner.
You will feel more balanced, eat less, and lose more weight.
Q. What can I do to rid my body of harmful toxins?
A. Basically, eating organic, whole foods; drinking clean water; having daily bowel movements; and sweating daily will go a long way toward keeping your detoxification system functioning well.
In addition, taking the essential supplements I recommend, along with a liver detox-supportive formula, can help your body get rid of toxins over the long term.
A wonderful way to get rid of stored petrochemical toxins and metals is by using an infrared sauna. Of course, if you are very toxic, you will need the help of a physician trained in functional or environmental medicine.
Q. I want to lose my belly fat, what should I do?
A. Simply follow The UltraSimple program — the fat will take care of itself! The biggest causes of belly fat are sugar and other refined carbohydrates and stress. The program outlined in The UltraSimple program takes care of both.
Q. How can I integrate the supplements you recommend with the ones I already take?
A. First, I encourage you to seek out and find the best-quality supplements because you will be taking these daily for the rest of your life.
If you are taking a multivitamin or calcium product, be sure it conforms to the guidelines I outline in the book. You don’t want to be ingesting coloring agents or chemical preservatives in your supplements every day for the rest of your life.
If you are taking good-quality supplements regularly, then you can safely add the supplements in the enhanced program to your regimen for the week and for a few weeks afterward. In fact, all of the things I recommend — magnesium, vitamin C, probiotics, and liver detox-supportive herbs — can all be taken safely over the long term if you find them helpful.
Q. Why are bowel movements so important? If I am constipated on the program, what should I do?
A. Your body is designed to eliminate toxins through the bowels. Imagine if you never flushed the toilet or took out the garbage. Your house would be very toxic, very soon!
Something similar happens to your body when you don’t have regular bowel movements. Follow the guidelines in Chapter 5 of The UltraSimple program to deal with constipation. They work for nearly everyone.
Q. What if I don’t like vegetables — I mean, what if I REALLY don’t like them?
A. My guess is that if you really don’t like vegetables, then you probably haven’t had them prepared in delicious ways. Overcooked, canned, or processed vegetables taste horrible.
It is also likely that your palate has gotten so used to fats and sugars that you will crave those substances and shun whole, real food. But you will be surprised at how you can appreciate, enjoy, and savor the foods you never thought you would. Just try it!
Q. Can I use frozen veggies instead of fresh? Can I use canned broth instead of homemade? If not, why not?
A. If you want to do the program and don’t have time to cook vegetables and broth, there are substitutes. I recommend a variety of frozen vegetables from Cascadian Farm and the low-sodium, organic vegetable broth from Pacific Foods.
Q. Do you have any specific recommendations for good yoga DVDs?
A. Yes. Try the Kripalu Yoga Gentle or the Kripalu Yoga Dynamic videos. They are excellent, easy-to-follow classes led by highly skilled yoga teachers.
For useful yoga and relaxation programs for home, see:
Q. Why are all these restrictions necessary? Does it really have to be this strict?
My goal is to give people a powerful experience of good health that they can feel in just one week. Remember, you spend a lifetime in behaviors that don’t support your health — poor-quality food, junk food, caffeine, alcohol, stress, lack of exercise, and more.
So for just one week I encourage people to do ALL the things at once that can transform their health practically overnight. Then what you choose to do will be up to you.
But you will know how bad you have felt all along (which most people think is “normal”) — and how great you can really feel.
Q. What’s so good about the foods included in this program?
A. The foods chosen for this program are low-allergy, whole, organic, fresh foods with scientifically proven anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties. They are designed to provide the right information to your cells and to your genes to turn on messages of health and healing and turn off messages of sickness and disease. Choosing the right foods provides healing medicine for your body.
Q. Are there any problems with using stevia as a natural sweetener?
A. Stevia is plant-based sweetener. It can be used in moderation; however, I recommend avoiding any type of sweetener (artificial or otherwise) that can stimulate your cravings for sweets. Give yourself this opportunity for one week and watch your cravings disappear!
That’s all for today.
Now I’d like to hear from you…
Have I answered all your questions about The UltraSimple program?
Are you ready to put these tips to work in the plan?
How are you doing on the program?
If you haven’t tried it yet, is there any particular reason?
Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, MD
PS – If you’d like to get your own copy of the UltraSimple program, you can pick one up on our website, at Amazon or your favorite retailer.