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Often I will have a patient bring in a package of some shake/bar or other protein “alternative” and ask me if this is “okay” to use in the SP Program.  The person has memorized the nutritional content, more specifically the grams of protein, carbs and fat, and the desire is to incorporate this product either as a snack or a meal replacement.  As we all know, the SP Program promotes “real food” and not the use of these products.  However, for convenience and the reality of time constraints in preparing meals, these protein alternatives make for simplicity.

Another popular question asked by a new potential patient during a consultation:  “Is alcohol allowed in this program?”  Similar questions include issues about sugar in the coffee, salad dressing usage and accompaniments such as ketchup.

After decades of seeing thousands of patients, here are my observations and suggestions:  It is amazing how different people can be in terms of what they can eat, how much they can drink, the quantity/quality of exercise performed AND how these all add up to weight control success vs. failure.  There are some people that have their week of weight loss entirely derailed by having 3 drinks on one night whereas others can have their nightly wine and still lose weight.  Some people can do splendidly using protein alternatives as meals/snacks whereas others truly need to always eat “real protein” to achieve weight loss.

Often, people have to do the “trial and success (or error)” thing to determine what they can and cannot incorporate into their eating/drinking behaviors.  It is easiest to do this “one thing at a time”, meaning that if weight control success is occurring, yet it is a royal pain in the ass to prepare a lunch when you know you will be in your car traveling, try the protein bar/shake that week.  If everything else stays the same (other meals, exercise, etc) and the only change was the use of the bar/shake, then any change seen in the weight loss progression can be attributed to that one change.

Like any science experiment, it is prudent to change only one thing at a time.  This will allow you to know what your system allows for in terms of weight loss success.