Because one of my goals is to get back to 135lbs or less, I have decided to kick-start my weight loss by returning more mindfully to a healthy eating plan. The plan I have chosen is called The 17 Day Diet. I don’t really like to call this a diet, because it is more of a lifestyle change, but its creator – Dr. Mike Moreno – chose the name, and I suppose I have to honour that.
The 17 Day Diet is not new to me; I was introduced to it last February by two of my closest girlfriends. This diet plan helped me drop from 165lbs – my heaviest weight ever – to 130lbs in less than two months, and it was very successful for my husband too! Rob and I started Cycle 1 last February, then continued on through the cycles, and have basically followed Cycle 4 (the healthy eating permanent lifestyle change) on an ongoing basis since the end of April (though we are often a lot more liberal than Dr. Mike suggests!). I have since realized that when I was super active and doing a lot of cardio on a regular basis, that being liberal with the healthy eating Cycle 4 was fine for me and still kept me at my ideal weight. I could eat like more of a fat ass without actually getting a fat ass, because running and “Boot Camp” fitness classes easily burned off any excess calories I consumed. When I had to stop running and taking those classes, though, those extra calories packed on 15lbs in 2 /12 months – and Ta Da, we had the fat ass! Not acceptable. I joke about my “fat ass,” even though I know that realistically 150lbs is far from being “fat.” It is also, however, far from where I want to be to look and feel my best.
Enter Cycle 1. The concept is simple: consume lean protein from turkey, chicken, fish and eggs; plenty of what Dr. Mike calls “cleansing vegetables” (lots of veggies are allowed, but not the starchy stuff like potatoes, squash, beans, etc.); two servings of low sugar fruit before 2pm; two servings of a probiotic (like yogurt!); and small amounts of healthy fats (such as olive or flaxseed oil). Eliminate other foods (processed stuff, red meat, high sugar stuff, etc.) and reduce your sodium intake, while drinking lots of water and some green tea. Low fat dairy is okay in moderation, as are many condiments. For Rob and I, the biggest impact came with reducing our sodium* and drinking a lot more water – it basically flushed out our systems, I think.
Cycle 2 and 3 introduce other foods (like lean cuts of red meat and natural starches) back into your diet in a way that keeps your body “confused” and using nutrition in a way that helps to continue weight loss. I’ve written all of that off the top of my head just now, so for more precise and detailed information, I suggest buying or borrowing a copy of The 17 Day Diet book.
I’m not usually a fan of diets, and before we started The 17 Day Diet, I had never actually dieted in my life. To me, a diet is something that people do in the short term to lose weight; it’s not something they can keep up to live a healthy, happy life. As I mentioned earlier, though, the 17 Day Diet is really more of a lifestyle change, and I really believe that it is
sustainable mostly sustainable* for the long term. Dr. Mike provides a few recipes, and there are plenty of delicious recipes online as well. And they don’t suck – in fact, many of the 17 Day Diet recipes I found when we did Cycle 1 the first time are now in our regular meal rotation! I have even served a few of them to guests, who gave big compliments.
If you do a quick Google search it will become obvious fairly quickly that this is a pretty healthy and successful diet. There are a lot of people who have experienced a great deal of success and have managed to keep the weight off using the Cycle 4 lifestyle change. People with 20lbs and those with 200lbs have found the same successes, because it is healthy, it is realistic, and it is sustainable. The beauty of this diet is that it is pure and simply healthy eating combined with healthy levels of activity, yet Cycle 1 is sort of a catalyst to help you see real results quickly – exactly what I need to bust out of this 15lb rut. Have I convinced you yet?
I’ll keep you updated on my progress:
Day 1 Jan 5th – 150.0lbs (exactly!)
Day 2 Jan 6th – 149.4lbs (not a huge amount, but it is a start, and I suppose that I really don’t have all that far to go anyway)
Happy Healthy Eating my lovely blog readers!
* Rob especially had a salt problem. He would literally dump salt onto everything without so much as tasting it first. He even salted Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup, which is already loaded with sodium. Puke. We bought a bunch of salt-free seasonings (like Mrs. Dash), and started reading labels and making more conscious decisions about what products to buy. Rob doesn’t throw salt on everything anymore, and he actually pays attention to most of what he puts in his mouth now. [I worded that last part this way on purpose to see if he’s reading my blog; my perverted husband will be mildly upset..ha ha!]
* Staying on Cycle 1 (which Dr. Mike DOES NOT recommend) would NOT be sustainable, but Cycle 4 certainly is. If you are engaging in high calorie burn activities (beyond the two x 17 minutes of moderate activity), then you would obviously need to include more (yet still healthy) food in your daily diet to satisfy your needs. If you are not doing any cardio activity (like I didn’t) then you would need to have fewer “cheat days” to maintain.