The Mayo Clinic Diet is the official diet developed by Mayo Clinic, based on research and clinical experience. It focuses on eating healthy foods that taste great and increasing physical activity. It emphasizes that the best way to keep weight off for good is to change your lifestyle and adopt new health habits. This diet can be tailored to your own individual needs and health history — it isn't a one-size-fits-all approach.
The Mayo Clinic Diet has two main parts:
- Lose It! This two-week phase is designed to jump-start your weight loss, so you may lose up to 6 to 10 pounds (2.7 to 4.5 kilograms) in a safe and healthy way. In this phase, you focus on lifestyle habits that are associated with weight. You learn how to add five healthy habits, break five unhealthy habits and adopt another five bonus healthy habits. This phase can help you see some quick results — a psychological boost — and start practicing important habits that you'll carry into the next phase of the diet.
- Live It! This phase is a lifelong approach to diet and health. In this phase, you learn more about food choices, portion sizes, menu planning, physical activity, exercise and sticking to healthy habits. You may continue to see a steady weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week until you reach your goal weight. This phase can also help you maintain your goal weight permanently.
Follow the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid
The Mayo Clinic Diet doesn't require you to be precise about counting calories or grams of fat. Instead, the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid serves as a guide to making smart eating choices. The main message is simple: Eat most of your food from the groups at the base of the pyramid and less from the top — and move more.
Eat healthy foods and portions
The base of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid focuses on generous amounts of healthy foods that contain a smaller number of calories in a large volume of food, particularly fruits and vegetables.
This principle involves eating low-energy-dense foods and can help you lose weight by feeling full on fewer calories. Healthy choices in each of the other food groups in moderate amounts make up the rest of the pyramid — including whole-grain carbohydrates, lean sources of protein such as legumes, fish and low-fat dairy, and heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
The Mayo Clinic Diet teaches you how to estimate portion sizes and plan meals. The diet doesn't require you to eliminate any foods.
Increase your physical activity
The Mayo Clinic Diet provides practical and realistic ideas for including more physical activity and exercise throughout your day — as well as finding a plan that works for you. The diet recommends getting at least 30 minutes of exercise every day and even more exercise for further health benefits and weight loss. The diet also emphasizes moving more throughout the day, such as taking the stairs instead of an elevator.
If you've been inactive or you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor or health care provider before starting a new physical activity program. Most people can begin with five- or 10-minute activity sessions and increase the time gradually.
Typical menu for the Mayo Clinic Diet
The Mayo Clinic Diet provides several calorie levels. Here's a look at a typical daily meal plan at the 1,200-calorie-a-day level:
- Breakfast: 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal with 1 cup milk and 2 tablespoons raisins, 1/4 cup mango, calorie-free beverage
- Lunch: Quinoa and sweet potato cakes, tossed salad with fat-free dressing, calorie-free beverage
- Dinner: 1 pita pizza, 3/4 cup mixed fruit, calorie-free beverage
- Snack: 1 cup sliced bell peppers and 2 tablespoons hummus
You can have sweets — as long as you limit them to 75 calories a day. For practicality, consider thinking of your sweets calories over the course of a week. Have low-fat frozen yogurt or dark chocolate on Monday, and then hold off on any more sweets for a few days.