Why isn’t my low-cal diet working?  A friend who had 100 pounds to lose started following a strict 1,200-calorie diet devised by a nutritionist, and she dropped 8 pounds in two weeks. I want to lose 30 pounds, so l began the same diet but in two weeks I’ve lost only 1 pound. Why isn’t it working for me?

New science in “The Journal of Nutrition” shows that when women have less than 60 pounds to lose, calorie restriction rapidly leads to a weight-loss plateau. In your case, the better alternative is a controlled plan of eating more, which will trigger a 72 percent metabolic uptick as the body processes the extra calories. To do: On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the first week, have a large breakfast that contains carbs, lean protein and healthy fats (like a wrap made with two scrambled eggs and avocado slices). The next week, have your mega meal on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; repeat the cycle. This staggered approach “surprises” the body to keep metabolism high—for a weight loss of about 3 pounds per week.

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