The 17-Day Diet

Remember this post, where I lamented all the weight I’d gained? Since New Year’s Day, I have lost fifteen pounds. Ten of those were lost in the first two weeks of the year.

I’m doing my best not to sound like an advertisement (so we’re clear, I don’t do promotions, giveaways, or paid entries on this blog), but seriously? The 17-Day Diet really works!

Before you buy the book, just know this: while the diet developed by Dr. Mike Moreno is great, his writing style is kind of obnoxious and condescending. So you’ll have to try to ignore that when you read the book.

But here’s what you’ll find in there. The name is somewhat misleading, since it’s actually three cycles that each consist of seventeen days. In Cycle 1, you can eat as much lean protein (chicken, turkey, some types of fish) and certain vegetables as you want, plus two servings of certain fruits, two probiotics such as yogurt, one to two servings of “friendly fats” such as olive oil, and condiments in moderation. You also drink lots of water and green tea. You drop weight rapidly in this stage, which encourages you to keep going, but you do it healthily—no starving yourself, no following rules that are contrary to common sense.

In Cycle 2, you alternate days that follow the Cycle 1 rules with days where you can add in some more foods—shellfish, lean cuts of beef and pork, and certain starches. In Cycle 3, you can add more foods—more dairy, whole-grain breads, one serving of alcohol a day, and certain healthy snacks—and also kick the exercise up a notch.

If you’ve lost all the weight after those three cycles, you then follow one of the three cycles during the week and strategically indulge on the weekends. If you haven’t, you start again at Cycle 1 and continue until you’ve lost the weight.

I managed to stick to the diet pretty well in Cycle 1, although I admit to a bit of cheating in Cycles 2 and 3. I also could have exercised a bit more (lately, I have been so exhausted from work that I have not been doing much exercising), so honestly, I think I could have lost even more weight. Some additional thoughts:

  • Cycle 2 was by far the hardest. In Cycle 1 I kept telling myself, “Seventeen days, you can do it!” but Cycle 2 is not much different.
  • It was also hard trying to tell people why I wasn’t eating certain things. “Diet” has a negative connotation, so I was reluctant to tell too many people that I was on one.
  • What was not hard at all, surprisingly, was not drinking alcohol for thirty-four days. While I’ve never been a big drinker, I was expecting alcohol to be hard to avoid in social situations. But whenever I found myself at a birthday party or at a bar with coworkers, I just drank water and diet soda and not very many people noticed. I was dry for most of college, even living in substance-free housing for my first two years, and this experience reminded me how much I actually do like not drinking.
  • I recommend locating recipes that work for each cycle before you start them. I went through my Weight Watchers cookbook before I started the diet, so I ended up cooking a lot more.

I am lucky that I’ve never been very overweight and staying in the healthy range has never been too difficult for me, but this helped me get back on the right track. In December, I spent too much time eating crap and not exercising, so I needed something to help me stop. And this isn’t a gimmicky diet—it just takes things that you know are common sense (i.e. eat lots of vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein) and gives you a practical way of applying it.

In conclusion: I absolutely recommend this diet to anyone trying to lose weight. If you have any questions for me, ask away!

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