Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The 17 Day Diet

In answer to some tweets and comments here's some more info on the diet.

The book is called the 17 Day Diet. It's a newer diet book. I think it came out towards the end of last year and I know the author has been on a lot of TV shows and in the news about it. So yeah, it's a bit fadish, but I don't think that it's anymore so than some of the other diet books out there. My favorite thing about the diet is that I never really felt limited and I was never hungry.

Basically it's three phases and then a maintenance phase. The only counting that you have to do is that you have to eat two probiotic and two low sugar fruit servings (no melons) a day. One of the probiotic servings can be taken through a supplement. I usually just got it through yogurt or cottage cheese. You also have to drink eight, eight oz glasses of water a day. Sodas and coffee count as negative so you have to drink an extra 8 oz to make up for it.

During the first phase you can basically eat unlimited amounts of fish and poultry and what the book calls cleansing vegetables. The veggie list is actually pretty long and is made up of very normal veggies that I generally ate anyways. For the meats it's several kinds of fish - tuna, tilapia, salmon and then chicken and turkey.

I honestly never felt hungry during the first phase. It took a bit of planning sometimes for meals, but I was able to eat out just about anywhere - even fast food. I would order a grilled chicken sandwich for instance, cut the mayo, not eat the bun and sub a salad or fruit for the fries. I could do the same at a restaurant and order veggies instead.

My favorite thing for breakfast was strawberries, blackberries and plain yogurt with a packet of Truvia sprinkled on top. That was another reason I really liked the book is that the author suggests it. I've read in other books that stevia is actually better for thyroid problems so I use it for everything but baking.

The second phase brings in more foods - lean meats and some grains. You do a day on day off. So day on phase 1 and then day on phase 2. I haven't done the 3rd yet and haven't read up on it again, but I think it's pretty much every food and it's just managing portions.

The fourth phase is the maintenance where you get to choose which of the 3 phases you want to "stick" to. You stick to it Monday - Friday lunch which is usually pretty easy right? It's the weekends where we generally go wild. During the weekend you can have anything within reason and then get back on plan on Monday. He says in the book that when you see the 5 pounds added on the scale or to prepare for the holidays to go back to phase 1.

You also don't have to do every phase. If you hit your weight loss goal in phase 1 or 2 go on to phase 4. You can mix it up until you hit your goal. My favorite part of this whole diet is that it's flexible. Yes, phase 1 is limiting, but it's not extreme. I never felt like I was missing anything (except tortillas), I ate out quite a bit and really didn't have to go out and buy anything different than what I was already buying. I did stock up of large containers of yogurt and also bought more fresh fruit than usual.

Some things about the book that I don't really believe or didn't really stick to:
1. The heated lemon water in the morning. It's supposed to be cleansing, but I didn't really like it that much so I didn't really do it. I do usually have a glass of water every morning with my thyroid meds.
2. The green tea with every meal. Another thing I didn't really stick to. I do drink tea quite a bit and I did change it out or ask for green tea if they had it, but it gets mixed reviews on whether it actually helps weight loss. It also gets old having it 3 times a day.
3. Many of the reviews said not to believe in the science of this diet. The book says that you're basically tricking your metabolism by having low cal and then high cal days, but there's not a lot of proof behind it. I think the diet really is cutting carbs in the beginning, eating lean meats, lots of veggies and just eating well balanced and healthy foods.
4. The whole 17 minutes of exercise or the exercise DVD that you can supposedly buy online. Again, I've only bought the book and don't know much about the other things that are associated with the diet. It does say that you shouldn't really work out during the first phase because you're eating so few calories. This I believe. I still can't do a lot of excercise because of my foot and have been sticking to pilates twice a week.
4. Finally I didn't really stick to the diet to a T. Like all things you get what you put in. I lost 5 pounds in phase 1 and the books says you could do 10-15. I'm not sure if that's true or how healthy that really is. In the next phases you lose less. I also didn't give up alcohol - you can add it in during phase 3 if you'd like or coffee. I have my morning coffee with cream every day. Some have told me that phase 1 is similar to South Beach (I know nothing about South Beach other than what I've been told) except it's not all carbs and therefore not as extreme and you also don't have to start the whole phase over if you have a pig out day or a drink or go off the diet. This one is all about flexibility.

Right now I'm doing phase 2, but I'm not doing well at it and it's just pure laziness on my part. It's not that the diet requires any kind of special meals, but you do need to put something together and I just haven't really taken the time to do it. I'm almost always running late in the mornings. It's much easier to make toast or grab a granola bar than cut up fruit or make a smoothie. If I don't have time for breakfast in the morning, I really don't have time to make lunch for the day either. My weight is holding though and that's what I'm happy about.

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