The Diet That Consumed Nashville

By Stoddard, Maynard Good | The Saturday Evening Post, July-August 1986 | Go to article overview

The Diet That Consumed Nashville


Stoddard, Maynard Good, The Saturday Evening Post


THE DIET THAT CONSUMED NASHVILLE

"Women will average a loss of approximately two-thirds of a pound a day for 21 days. Heavier women will lose as much as a pound a day. Men may lose even more.

"If you have a tendency to retain water, as many overweight persons do, you may lose as much as two, or even three, pounds a day during the first three days.

"Many individuals lose two to three inches around the waist and buttocks in just three days. And in three weeks or less, you can be one or two dress or pants sizes smaller."

Who has the nerve to make such statements? His name is Dr. Martin Katahn, Ph.D., the director of the Vanderbit Weight Management Program in Nashville, Tennessee.

Katahn looks nothing like a man who used to be overweight. At 57 he is slim and wiry; he exercises regularly, and his pulse rate "hovers right around 120/80."

Twenty years ago, however, Katahn was 75 pounds overweight and hypertensive. "I had to lie down on a couch for an hour in order to bring my blood pressure down to 140/90," he says. "I certainly know the effort involved in lugging around an extra 75 pounds of fat."

Recollections of his "butterball" days go back even further. He was, he confesses, "one of those fat kids who had no memory of ever being thin." Instead, he vividly recalls "not being able to run fast enough to keep up with my playmates. . .and becoming so fat by the age of four or five that I couldn't even bend over in my snowsuit to make snowballs."

By the time he was 12, Katahn's weight problem and genetic predisposition had given him varicose veins and attacks of thrombophlebitis that put him in bed every few years for as long as a month. No doctor could provide a successful treatment: "I had to discover it for myself at the age of 50," he says.

Katahn tried several reducing diets, but he always regained the weight. Then, while playing table tennis in 1963, in the Vanderbilt University psychology department, he suffered a heart attack and realized he would have to reduce his weight if he wanted to go on living. And he did. He developed a new method for taking off weight quickly enough to provide motivation, yet allowing some "forbidden" foods.

In his book The Rotation Diet, just published by Norton, Katahn outlines the specific methods that allow overweight people to lose up to a pound a day and "never get it back." The diet recently gained nationwide attention after the city of Nashville, Tennessee, adopted it and set a goal of losing one million pounds of fat. Wendy's, a fast-food hamburger chain, is also promoting the diet in 35,000 restaurants across the country.

"When you use the Rotation Diet, you alternate your calorie intake over a three-week period, in order to achieve a dramatic, quick weight loss," Katahn says. "Women use a mixed diet consisting of a wide variety of foods, rotating from 600, to 900, and then to 1,200 calories a day. Men rotate from 1,200, to 1,500, to 1,800 calories a day.

"When you stop dieting," he says, "weight loss has been so easy and so successful that, if you have more wieght to lose, you will want to continue. But it is very important to the success of the Rotation Diet that you take at least a brief vacation from it." You can return to the diet in a week, or even in a month--it's up to you--and begin "rotating" for another 10-, 15-, or 20-pound weight loss.

Your motivation will never be greater. Katahn points out: "How many times have you had to force yourself to stop dieting in order to ensure success? With other diets, you soon begin to feel so deprived, and weight loss becomes so frustratingly slow, that you end up quitting in disgust.

"Not so with the Rotation Diet," Katahn says. "You will be itching to get going once again. The rotation is the key to your success. "Even if you have up to 75 pounds to lose, the Rotation Diet is the surest way to get that weight off easily and quickly, and keep it off. …

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