I decided to change things up a bit this week and feature a guest post.
I’ve had quite a few people ask me about the a book called The 17 Day Diet and it is not something I have ever tried.
I knew of a girlfriend who was doing it at one time, but I have a guy friend who has been following it and has seen tremendous success so far.
Of course, it seemed logical to ask him about it and I figure why not see if I could get him to write a guest blog about his experience!
So far I have only shared my weight loss experience, so I thought it would be nice to hear someone else’s story….and a guys while we were at it. So, without further delay, here is his contribution to my blog!
Hi ladies and gentlemen! My name is John. I’m 26 years old, I’m 6 feet tall, and on May 3rd, 2012, I weighed 303 lbs. To put that into perspective for you, the normal weight range for someone with my height and build (I have a naturally large frame) is 170-185 lbs. As I’m typing up this post for Nikki, on July 21st, 2012, I weigh 248.8 lbs. I’ve lost 54.2 pounds in just under 3 months, and I’m going to tell you how I did it.
To get to the end, we have to start at the beginning. I’ve been a “soft” guy all my life – I’ve never had a 1/2/4/6/8 pack or visible muscles of any kind. I was just chubby enough to be self-conscious, but just skinny enough to dress well and be a nice guy and look normal. When I went to college, I gained the freshman 50 – I graduated high school at about 215, and I entered my sophomore year at a rotund 265. Sick of hating myself, I went on a super-restrictive “diet” and lost 70 pounds in 6 months, weighing in at 190 pounds by January 2007, the spring of my junior year.
This diet, however, was not a diet. I was counting calories without considering nutritional value. Here was my diet:
Breakfast: 2 chocolate chip Eggo waffles, plain
Lunch: Two turkey sandwiches (Sarah Lee white bread, 2 thin slices of deli turkey meat, 1 American cheese singles pack, and mustard) with a handful of Goldfish
Dinner: A Lean Cuisine or Healthy Choice meal (the pizzas, chicken bites, and beef tips, in some order) with another handful of Goldfish
Drinks: Crystal Light Peach Tea mix
That’s it. No switching it up for variety, no occasional slip of the mind and ordering Subway or Papa John’s (my two favorites on my “Rise to 265”). It was LITERALLY that staple of foods, 7 days a week, for 6 months.
To make a long story short (too late – but seriously, you’ll be surprised how much longer it could be!), because of my complete lack of fat intake, I developed gall stones (though at the time I thought it was ulcers from stress), and I suffered through them until February 2008, when they were finally correctly diagnosed, and my gall bladder was removed. I was 21 years old and I had no gall bladder.
Fortunately, I managed to keep the weight off for a while. I moved to a new city after graduating in May 2008, and once I found a job (I work inside at a desk), I saw the weight creeping up, but couldn’t manage to curtail it. 4 years later, not only had I undone entirely the pain and suffering I had endured to be skinny(er), but I had packed on 50 additional pounds. At the highest recorded weight at my doctor’s office, I was 316 pounds. My doctor told me that I was at a high risk for diabetes (it runs in my family) and that my liver numbers were high due to fat accumulation. If I didn’t start losing some weight, I could get cirrhosis or any number of liver-related diseases which could greatly shorten my life.
For my birthday, my parents came into town and spent a few weeks with me. My mom “subtly” (since when is anything your mom does subtle, y’know?) suggested I read this book that she and my dad had read and been following loosely for a while. It was called “The 17 Day Diet”.
At first, I resisted. I was hesitant to follow anything called a “diet”, for fear of losing some more-essential organ as the price for being thin. Regardless, I knew the only way to stop my mom from nagging was to either read it or shoot her….and I don’t own a gun.
The premise of the diet is simple: We eat shit. Sugar and carbohydrates are staples of the American diet these days. We want our McDonald’s, our fancy dinners, and our 44 oz. Coke to wash it down with. So how about we strip down to the basics and reintroduce ourselves to the “right” way to eat? The author of the book (Dr. Michael Moreno) asks for you to trust him, 17 days at a time for 4 cycles, and you’ll get the results you need.
How Does It Work?
It’s pretty simple. The first 17 days “Accelerate” is designed to basically detox your body from all the bad shit you’ve eaten your whole life. By eating a diet that consists of mostly white meat, green vegetables, non-carb fruit (no bananas or pineapples yet), probiotics (yogurt), and LOTS OF WATER, your metabolism resets, your body begins firing on all cylinders, and you lose an enormous amount of weight quickly. In the book, I think he says that it’s not surprising to lose 10-15 pounds in the first cycle. I had more weight to drop than typical, so my weight loss was actually 20 pounds.
If you are worried that you can’t have the delicious foods you’re used to eating ever again, here’s where you see the plan that Dr. Moreno lays out start to make sense: In Cycle 2 “Activate”, YOU GET TO HAVE MORE FOODS! The thought process is that, with any diet, you (and your body) get bored with the foods you eat, and therefore to break through the plateaus that occur in diets, you mix up what you eat every day in order to keep your body confused and your metabolism blazing fast. In this cycle, you alternate days: On 1 day, you’ll eat only the foods from Cycle 1. The next day, eat the foods that you are allowed to add in Cycle 2, including potatoes, brown rice, steak, pork (all meat should be trimmed of visible fat), corn, etc. Again, the emphasis is to eat MOSTLY meat and vegetables, and supplement with snacks of probiotics and fruit. If you thought your weight loss should slow down significantly, think again! You should still lose weight in a similar fashion to Cycle 2, about 7-10 pounds! For my efforts, I lost about 15 pounds.
Cycle 3, called “Achieve”, is where you’ve essentially lost most of the weight you have to lose, and now you need to “be reintroduced back into society” meal-wise. You can have just about everything you want on this cycle, including whole wheat bread, just about any fruit or vegetable, and even 100-calorie fudge bars! The name of the game in this cycle is to utilize portion control and begin eating foods (especially the ones you’ve missed!) in a more disciplined way. This is also the cycle where you start working out more intensely. For the first two cycles, you are not supposed to work out more than 17 minutes per day (walking or running) due to the low amount of carbs you consume (I don’t fully understand it, but I think you weight lifter peeps probably know what that means). The third cycle challenges you to work out 5 hours a week.
To be completely candid, I have not started Cycle 3 yet. Because I have so much weight to lose, I feel more comfortable not “rewarding” myself with the joys of the things (Bread! Pasta! Pineapple! Fudge bars!) that you can eat on Cycle 3, so I’ve shuffled back and forth between Cycle 1 and 2 for these 3 months. When I get closer to my goal weight (200 pounds), I’ll go down that road.
To round it out, Cycle 4 “Arrive” is all about maintenance. Since many of us are following the diet because we’re Recovering Fatties, it’s just not smart to EVER make it ok to eat how we’ve been eating ever again…right?
What Dr. Moreno suggests is that, instead of sentencing yourself to a life without the foods you love, you put yourself on a reward system. During the work week (and you can modify this, of course, to fit what works best for you, as long as you keep the spirit), pick your favorite Cycle (Accelerate, Activate, or Achieve) and follow that plan throughout the week. Then, on your weekend, eat whatever you want! No, this doesn’t mean I can literally order Papa John’s 5 times (Friday night counts!) and blame Dr. Moreno, but if I want to go to dinner with my friends and enjoy a slice of pizza, or a roast beef po-boy, or get that delicious chocolate-y thing for dessert, do it! Just keep portion size in mind, so don’t eat a whole pizza, just a slice or two; or instead of eating that whole dessert, split it with your spouse or amongst everyone at the table.
Learn the discipline while you’re dropping the weight, gradually reintroduce yourself back to the foods you know and love, and never go back to the soda-drinking, takeout-eating lifestyle again.
That’s pretty much it. I highly suggest you pick up a copy of the book if for no other reason than to get a different perspective on a healthy lifestyle. I’ve still got 48.8 pounds to go on my journey, and hopefully Nikki will have forgotten how badly this post sucked by the time I get there and let me write an update to share with you all!
All the best,
I’d like to thank John for sharing his story with myself and my readers. If you have any questions for him regarding “The 17 Day Diet”, please feel free to comment below and I’m sure he will comment as he can.
I think it’s important to educate yourself on different options that are out there and to keep in mind that weight-loss needs to be approached in a healthy and safe manner. Most of us didn’t gain the weight over night, so looking to lose it over night just really isn’t smart and wont help you obtain long term health.
If you have had success with weight-loss and would like to share your story here, please feel free to contact me! I’d love to hear about you became fit and feature your story here.