Tuesday, November 18, 2008

McDougall's Maximum Weightloss Program

...and how I made it work for me.

I have several friends and family members who have used the MWL Program with great success to lose unwanted body fat. There is more than one way to make it work for you, but since I get asked so often, I decided to outline how I did it without spending lots of money -and while still feeding the rest of my family.

(For a full explanation of the MWL, go here - recommended, as this post is NOT comprehensive)

Here is a quick overview of McDougall's MWL Program. Nothing faddish. Still eating a starch based diet, just limiting flour products and processed sugar - until you loose the desired body fat, then you can go back to the Regular Program.

Warning: It takes a few weeks for your taste buds to get used to not eating added fat.

So give yourself some time.

I promise, you will start to really enjoy the flavors of simply prepared meals. But it is really important to make sure you are eating enough starches (potatoes, rice, corn) so you are feeling satisfied and not starving!

If you are a beginning cook, or just don’t enjoy it or have the time, here are some ways to still practice the McDougall guidelines while minimizing your time in the kitchen.

All of these ideas are things you can pack up and take to work too!

  1. Go to the grocery store and read labels, finding fat free (no more than 10% of calories from fat) & animal product free:

Soups - For example: split pea, minestrone, lentil, chili etc. Or make a big pot of your own for the week.

Sauces - Ketchup, BBQ sauce, sweet chili sauce, teriyaki sauce, hot sauces, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, packaged fat-free gravy mixes.

Rice - brown short grain, brown basmati, white sticky (asian kind), any other ones that you like

Potatoes - all varieties: russet, red, sweet, fingerling etc. , Frozen hash brown style (fat free)

Veggies - Lettuce & other ingredients to make salads (including frozen corn, canned beans etc.), bagged spinach, bagged coleslaw, bags of frozen mixed veggies, or stir-fry type or if you prefer, other fresh veggies

Cereals - oatmeal, high fiber cold cereal

Rice/Soy Milk- for use on puffed whole grain cereals


  1. Cook a big batch of brown rice in a rice cooker or a lot of baked potatoes in the oven, or boiled potatoes on the stove top at the beginning of the week.


  1. For lunches first eat a big salad. Dress it with your favorite fat-free dressing or (my favorite) plain balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar with a little salt and pepper. Then choose a soup, pour it over your rice or baked potato and viola! instant lunch that will fill you up (make sure and eat as much as you want).


For lunches on the run, or in the car, I often packed a plain baked potato cut in half sprinkled with salt & pepper and raw veggies. Sounds super plain - but I got used to it and it was so satisfying - for when I just needed a quick meal on the go.


  1. For dinner, start with another salad. Then for your main dish, heat up frozen or fresh veggies by sauteing them in a non-stick pan with a little water. Adding any fat-free sauce: sweet chili sauce, teriyaki, soy sauce, or crushed ginger & garlic. Eat the veggies over rice for a quick stir-fry. Or, brown hash browns in a non-stick skillet (you can use a little non-stick oil spray, to prevent sticking if you don’t have a good pan). Top hash browns with ketchup, BBQ sauce, or your own seasonings.


  1. Snacks & Desserts: *eat flourless toast (Ezekiel brand) with jam,*Chocolate Love Pudding (a super easy dessert, you can make ahead and eat whenever) - it is high in sugar, but hits the craving and a modest “cheat”, fruit (no more than 2 per day on MWL) - but I ate 3 if I wanted to, and still lost weight consistently. *Raw veggies with fat-free dips/hummus. *Toasted tortilla chips (put corn tortillas in toaster) and salsa. * Popcorn sprayed with Bragg's Liquid Aminos (you can pop popcorn in a plain brown lunch sack in the microwave - put in 1/4 cup kernels micro for 2 1/2 minutes - depends on micro).* Puffed Grain Cereals with low fat rice or soy milk.


  1. Other meal ideas: No-cheese bean burritos, with or without rice. (Can get them at mexican fast food places) , Bean n' Rice Bowls topped with salsa, Whole wheat pasta w/ marinara (not too often on the MWL -maybe once a week) Gnoucchi (pre-made potato dumplings available at Trader Joe’s and elsewhere) w/ fat-free marinara, Baked Potatoes, Yams or Sweet Potatoes with rice and other veggies on the side.


Once you get tired of these meals, then you can start experimenting with different recipes - but this can get you started and keep you going for quite some time - and remain your back up meals for nights/days when you don’t have time to cook.

Of course I cook a great variety of meals, because I love to cook. But if you don't, just find 7 meals you can eat over and over and add new ones when you get bored. You don't have to be a gourmet chef to make healthy food taste good.

Oh, and if you have little carnivores in your house too (still trying to win them over with your healthy ways) it's easy to have butter for breads (I at least try to sneak in Earth Balance - a vegan margarine) or grated cheese for topping soups and tacos, or throw a chicken breast in the George Forman for them. My kids did well very well transitioning to a plant-based diet by doing these few things. I still have a few of their favorites available - and will cook them up a burger once in a while so I'm still their favorite cook.

9 comments:

Cecilie Malene said...

thanks for the tips! I am going vegan mcdougall style for some time :)

Rease said...

Hi there -- thank you for this! I have a question -- what did you use for the bean burritos for the wraps? I can't find any tortillas or wraps (other than corn) that don't have oil -- and the corn tortillas break apart. Any ideas? Thank you!

The Keylors said...

Thank you for simplifying the MWL system for me. I am just curious for an update. Did the diet continue to work for you?

The Keylors said...

Thank you for simplifying the MWL method for me. I am just curious for an update on how this method worked for you. Did you continue to lose weight using this method?

Marsha said...

Thank you so much for these wonderful tips on McDougal's MWL program. I really appreciate it!

Peter Thomos said...

Great information in this blog.Thanks for sharing it!!
McDougalls Plain Flour

Kent said...

Thanks for posting. I love John McDougall's ideas and this is a nice refresher. Kent

Justine Duncan said...

so ezekiel bread is ok to eat on MWL?? Is so that's awesome! I'm craving carbs, but I don't know if that's a slippery slope :o

Thank you for the blog! It's very helpful :)

Justine Duncan said...

So, ezekiel is ok on MWL?

Thank you for your awesome and helpful blog!

 

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