I recently set myself the goal of helping my mother and father make a shift from 'dangerously obese' to 'slightly overweight' in the next year. My father is 5'10" and is shifting 260lbs around right now. My mother about 5'5" and 205lbs.
They've both 'tried every diet under the sun', which basically means weight watchers, weigh-less and some other crap. They constantly yo-yo back up after some small success. They're both victims of the 'fat is bad' myth and I believe this, coupled with infrequent meals, dehydration and a tendency to fall off the wagon because they don't allow themselves cheat days, is the reason that they can't keep weight off. My father is reasonably active, rushing about everywhere for work, but my mother is pretty sedentary.
So that's half the situation. Here's the other half:
I'm not on the same continent as them, and thus our usual means of communication are email and Skype. I can't personally train them, monitor them or be there to smack them on the wrist when they start teetering. For this reason, I'm hesitant about recommending any kind of set exercise regime. I'll suggest strongly that they go for walks, take the dogs out, park far away at the shopping mall, take the stairs instead of the lift and all that jazz.
Unfortunately they have a history of short-term manic cardio that they drop like a sack of cats when their lack of results or feelings of hopelessness surface.
So the first question is: If I sort out their calorie reqs, get them to eat 6 times a day, make them drink much more water and basically follow Mr. Berardi's 7 habits of highly effective nutrition, will that be enough to effect a major change in their body composition. I'd imagine the answer is 'yes, to a limit', but I could be horribly wrong, and I don't want to be.
Secondly, is it worth troubling them with macronutrient timing? Does it make a big enough difference to explain to them the whole "fat+carbs=bad" equation?
Thirdly, seeing as they're obese, and seeing as I have no idea what their bodyfat might be, what's the best method for working out their caloric requirements?
Fourthly, What macronutrient ratio should I use? I made some nice progress on Mr. Waterbury's 33/33/33 angle until I changed to the Anabolic Diet (which is great btw).
Lastly, any idea of how much weight they can realistically expect to lose with no real increase in physical activity and a deficit of about 750 calories, over a period of about 3 months? And as a sub-question, do you think 750calories is a good figure?
If I can figure everything out, and I can prod my folks into maintaining a more healthy lifestyle, I'll try to keep a thread updated with their progress.