Deal-A-Meal is meant to help you get a handle on your diet, including portion sizes. It's not a quick fix, but rather a method for slow and steady weight loss. In general, slow weight loss trounces fast weight loss when it comes to long-term success. Always consult a health care provider before trying a new diet plan.
Deal-A-Meal was developed by well-known weight loss and fitness personality Richard Simmons. Simmons was a pudgy child who continued to fight his own battle of the bulge as an adult. He swapped fad diets for a healthy eating and exercise plan. To help himself keep track of his daily food intake, he created a packet of cards, which he kept in a plastic wallet, according to "As Seen on TV," by Lou Harry and Sam Stall. The cards listed the items and portions of the various food groups that he allotted himself each day. Each time he ate a portion, he transferred the card representing it from one side of his wallet to the other. He quit eating that day when all the cards were gone.
The theories behind Deal-A-Meal are portion control and calorie control. Each card represents a serving from a food group. You basically follow a healthy and balanced diet that includes about 60 percent carbohydrates, 20 percent proteins and 20 percent fats, according to Diet.com. All of the food groups are included, so you consume low-fat dairy, fruit, vegetables, starches and lean proteins. Each food group has a prescribed number of servings, or "exchanges," for the day that are based on caloric needs. The diet falls in line with the U.S. Department of Agriculture food pyramid guidelines, according to bestdietforme.com.
The Deal-A-Meal principles are a key part of Simmons' other diets, including its more modern counterpart called the Richard Simmons Diet. This diet relies on the "food mover" tool, which can fit into a purse or pocket, instead of the cards. In this visual system, you move the type of food you consumed after each meal to indicate what you've eaten that day.
The smallest number of calories you would eat in a day on the Deal-A-Meal or Richard Simmons Diet is 1,200. That's the minimum daily caloric need for a woman, says Dr. Ray Sahelian of Los Angeles. Men need a minimum of 1,800 calories. Your minimum can vary, however, depending on how active you are.
Simmons always encourages exercise in his weight-loss programs. In fact, the Richard Simmons Diet is designed to be done along with one of the exercise programs on his extensive list of offerings, notes Diet.com. Simmons has pumped out more than 50 exercise videos or DVDs.