The 17 day diet, the weight loss plan that has taken the web by storm, is the brainchild of Dr. Michael Moreno.
Moreno, the author of the book, "The 17 Day Diet," says people who follow his plan will achieve results that will last for a lifetime.
The plan has four cycles. Each cycle consists of 17 days where dieters vary the carbs, proteins, fruits and other kinds of foods they eat in order to stimulate their metabolism and promote weight loss.
Each cycle unfolds in 17 days because that's right before the time when the body starts to recognize the diet as a habit and metabolism starts to slow as a result, Moreno says.
Check out an excerpt of the book below.
Just Give Me 17 Days
I can personally sum up the 17 Day Diet in two words: fast results.
Depending on your weight when you start out and your metabolism, you might expect to lose up to 10 to 12 pounds the first 17 days. Of course, the further you are from your ideal weight, the more you'll lose initially.
Let's not kid each other: When you start a diet, you want to see results right away, in how you look and in how you feel. That's because our society is geared toward to the immediate; we want things and we want them now. The same is true of weight loss. We get impatient when the pounds don't come off fast enough to meet our expectations. It seems much easier to give up than to go on.
This diet is designed to produce quick results, not because it starves you down to size but because its carefully designed balance of food and exercise adjusts your body metabolically so that you burn fat, day in and day out.
Also important: The weight-reduction portion of this diet is limited to just 17 days at a time so that you aren't demoralized by the thought of endless months of dieting.
Nor are you apt to plateau like you often do on other diets. The 17 Day Diet keeps your body and metabolism guessing. I call this "body confusion." With each 17 Day Cycle, you're changing your calorie count and the foods you eat. By varying these things, you prevent your body from adapting. The scale is less likely to get stuck. The added bonus: You'll never get bored. And it's fun watching those pounds melt off. So confusion is good!
At the end of 17 days, you'll go on to a second 17-day Cycle, then a third, and finally enter the weight-stabilization Cycle of the diet in which you get to eat a greater variety of foods, including your favorite foods within reason. (I don't want you to get too chummy with the all-you-can-eat buffets again.)
I already know what you're thinking: Is it possible to shed pounds swiftly yet safely? If done right, without sacrificing good nutrition, the answer is yes.
Despite what many nutritionists have preached for years, rapid weight-loss diets can be healthy if done correctly and can work wonders on reducing pounds and inches in just days. Brand-new research suggests that the faster you take weight off, the longer you keep it off. Now that's a reason for dieters everywhere to rejoice. Plus, if you're too embarrassed by a recent weight spike or have just gained an embarrassing eight pounds after a holiday weekend or an ice cream binge, this diet can get you back on track fast.
The 17 Day Diet thus gives your body the perfect jump-start, the kind of quick drop in weight that gives you a powerful mental boost. My whole focus is to get you thin as soon as I can. When I do, just think: You'll no longer have to move around hauling the equivalent of two 40-pound bags of cement on your body. The button of your jeans will no longer pop out and ping off the wall. You'll no longer have to wear plus-sized clothing with those expandable waistlines. This diet will make you slim, healthy, and curvy, and I won't make you slurp your way to a thinner you, or follow some hardcore exercise regime used by the Navy Seals.
But you do have to accept that this won't be a pleasure diet. You've got to stop eating unhealthy crap. You've got to eat vegetables, fruit and lean meat. I'm not going to ask you to probe your inner eater and uncover hidden emotional reasons for why you're fat. But I am going to ask you to keep your portions down, cut your intake of fatty, sugary, salty foods, and move your butt. You won't be faint with hunger or found in the kitchen at midnight, feeding on Froot Loops and tubes of cookie dough. You can do this, because anyone can do anything for 17 days.
MISTER M.D., CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME But won't a lot of the weight I lose be water weight?
Yes! And that's awesome, because water is weight too. Never dismiss those extra pounds as only "water weight"; this is a self-defeating attitude. Cosmetically, water weight can hide fat loss and be particularly frustrating. Health-wise, fluid retention can put a strain on your heart. When your body holds water, this means there's more water in your blood. Your heart has to work harder to pump all that extra volume. Once all that excess fluid has disappeared, so will your bloat and puffiness. You'll start looking visibly thinner in three or four days. And chances are, you'll feel much lighter and be more motivated to watch what you eat.
The beauty of this program is that you won't get discouraged or bored by the prospect of staying on a diet for what seems like forever. It can yield results that will stand the test of time just as well as those long-term diets that emphasize depressingly slow incremental drops in weight. You'll love the fact that in 7, 10 or 17 days, you'll be slimmer. And chances are, you'll feel a lot lighter and have an absurd amount of energy.
The 17 Day Diet is doable and easy—unlike so many other diets, which are slightly less complicated than the checklist for a shuttle launch.
SCIENCE SAYS: Slow Isn't Necessarily Better
Conventional wisdom says that rapid weight loss leads to rapid weight regain. A new generation of science, however, shows that slow isn't necessarily better.
Shape Up the Fast Way. A 2010 study from the University of Florida suggests that the key to long-term weight loss and maintenance is to lose weight quickly, not gradually. Among 262 obese middle-aged women, fast weight losers were those who shed more than 2 pounds a week. Compared to more gradual losers, fast weight losers lost more weight overall, maintained their weight loss longer and were less likely to put weight back on. The findings were published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Trim Belly Fat. We pack on two forms of belly fat. One type collects around internal organs (also known as visceral fat). This type of fat raises blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and increases the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer's and even some cancers. Visceral fat is far more sinister than fat elsewhere in the body.
The other type sits just under the skin and is known as subcutaneous abdominal fat. It causes a hard-to-get-rid-of belly pouch. In a Finnish study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, a rapid weight loss diet followed for 6 weeks trimmed visceral abdominal fat by 25 percent and abdominal subcutaneous fat by 16 percent.
So can you just give me 17 days?
If you can, congratulations! You won't be disappointed.
So what is this 17 Day Diet? I'll go into depth in the next few chapters, but as a very quick summary, the 17 Day Diet is a fun, fantastic way of eating designed to take off weight quickly. It's based on some very simple principles, one of which is eating foods that favor fat-burning and are friendly to your digestive system. I want to emphasize that excess weight is always a sign of nutritional and metabolic imbalance. Contrary to popular assumption, it's not strictly a question of how much exercise you do or how much food you eat. Rather, it's also a question of what types of foods are eaten, and how they are digested, assimilated and metabolized. If any of these components of good nutrition are compromised, then the body will not be adequately nourished at the cellular level, metabolic function will be impaired and toxins will accumulate. Thus, to lose weight fast we need to optimize digestion and metabolism. That's what the 17 Day Diet does. Trust me, you'll love the rapid loss of a few pounds so much that you'll decide to keep on going. After the first 17 days, there's another 17 days, and another—3 total Cycles and a maintenance Cycle in which you get to eat whatever the heck you want, mainly on weekends. Here's an overview:
Cycle 1: Accelerate (17 days) Purpose : To promote rapid weight loss by improving digestive health. It helps clear sugar from the blood to boost fat-burning and discourage fat storage.
Cycle 2: Activate (17 days) Purpose : To reset your metabolism through a strategy that involves increasing and decreasing your caloric consumption to stimulate fat-burning and to help prevent plateaus.
Cycle 3: Achieve (17 days) Purpose : To develop good eating habits through the re-introduction of additional foods and move you closer to your goal weight. Cycle 4: Arrive (ongoing)
Purpose : To keep you at your goal weight through a program of eating that lets you enjoy your favorite foods on weekends, while eating healthfully during the week.
Once we're through with all the basics, I'm going to talk to you about how to follow the diet. I can't wait to show you all of its wonderful components and start you on your way to looking fit and fabulous. Take it one step at a time so that you don't get overwhelmed.
I might as well take a moment here to introduce myself. I'm a family practice doctor. Under America's health insurance system, most people go first to a doctor like me for all complaints, from infections to chronic illnesses. I love the diversity of family practice. One moment, I'm treating an 18-year-old guy with the flu; the next, a 90-year-old woman with joint pain.
I became a doctor for the reasons most people do—because I wanted to save lives, pure and simple. In my heart of hearts, I believe a doctor is so much more than a person who dispenses medication or marks off symptoms like a checklist at a sushi bar. He or she should treat the whole person. I make it a point to get to know each patient as a person before I put a stethoscope to his or her chest.
I run my office a little differently than most places. Nowadays, you spend more time waiting in the examining room than you did in the waiting room. In fact, you spend more time in the examining room than the person who decorated it. It's almost like going to a restaurant and being told that, even though you have a reservation, you have to sit at the bar for a while. The only difference is that in the doctor's office, no one offers you a cocktail, and you have to wear a boxy blue paper exam gown that opens in the front.
The next time you have to wait in the examining room, do some fun things to pass the time. Glue the tongue depressors together into coasters and sell them to other patients. Or peel off all the wallpaper without disturbing any of the diplomas.
I do things differently in my office. My patients don't wait forever. My patients oftentimes don't even sit on the examining table when I talk to them. I sit on the examining table and they get the comfortable chair. The butcher paper upholstering the examining table is wonderful to draw on. Sometimes I hop off the table and start drawing pictures of organs to explain things to patients.
I'm responsible for 2,000 patients, though not all in one day. Many of them are women, and 80 percent of my new patients are overweight. Most know it. One of the things I've always found interesting is that my patients often come in with a complaint of back pain, or knee pain or just plain old fatigue. Before I can get a word out, they say, "I know it's because I'm fat." Patients are smart.
Ever since I became a doctor, I've always been concerned with prevention. Prevention is the doorway to longevity. I hate shoving medications at problems that can be fixed with simple changes in lifestyle. A good example is a patient I'll call Sharon, age 60. Sharon has type 2 diabetes. When I first started seeing her, she was taking oral diabetes medication. Once she changed to a healthier diet and started walking regularly with a friend, she was able to get off all her meds. What a triumph that was!
Then about a year ago, Sharon came in for her regular appointment. We reviewed the results of her latest blood work. Her sugars were through the roof. Her A1C test, which reflects a patient's blood sugar over the past 90 days, was suddenly out of range.
What on earth had happened?
As we talked, Sharon told me that she no longer had a walking partner so she quit exercising altogether.
"I'll walk with you!" I volunteered. I couldn't bear to see her health slip. And so I became her walking partner. Before long, others joined us. Our walking group became affectionately known as Walk with Your Doc and has swelled to sometimes more than 50 people of all ages. We walk every Tuesday and Thursday morning without fail. I love it, because I thrive on helping people live full, healthy, active lives.
Of course, a huge part of prevention is weight management. You see, the death toll racked up by heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and all the other fat-related diseases is scary. Studies even associate obesity with poor immune function. That makes overweight people more susceptible to infections and cancer. Obesity will kill far more Americans each year than any terrorist would dare dream of taking out.
Everybody knows this. I'm just bringing it up again to remind you that tubs of ice cream and bags full of chips are not worth shortening your life over.
MISTER M.D., CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME Do I have to exercise while on the 17 Day Diet?
Yes, but I won't be asking you to sweat to golden oldies, pump it up or feel the burn. In other words—no overexercising. Since you'll be scaling back on calories, you should do less exercising, or else you'll get too run down and sore, especially during the first two Cycles. I will ask you, however, to do just 17 minutes a day of easy exercising like walking.
The 17 Day Diet has a companion exercise DVD called the 17 Minute Workout that you can purchase from our website, www.the17daydiet.com. It's cardio-based and geared toward pure fat-burning. So put down this book. Do this workout, or go outside and walk around your neighborhood for 17 minutes. Then come back and pick up where you left off.
We're already in so much trouble with trans fats, cheap sugars, excess sodium, and unpronounceable additives jazzing up junk food—stuff that causes your arteries to clog up like rusty pipes. With everything plaguing the American diet, I had to concentrate on creating a program that would be safe, effective and produce quick but lasting results. People had to get the weight off, then learn how to keep it off. I didn't want to tell my patients to go on this diet or that diet because many diets out there are nutritionally unbalanced, hard to follow, or just don't work fast enough to keep you motivated.
Thus, the 17 Day Diet evolved. It uses the latest medical knowledge on nutrition, foods and what the body needs for successful weight loss and good health.
Let me add here: You should check with your own physician before starting this program. Your doctor knows what's best for you. Based on my experience with my own patients, most people who have gotten out of shape over the years can follow the 17 Day Diet and do very well on it, though results can vary.
Whether you've got 10 pounds to lose or a hundred, being overweight is one of life's lesser joys. It affects every aspect of your life, maybe some things you never thought about. When you lose weight, practically everything in your life will change for the better. Let's talk about this now.
Get a Healthy Bod
You're going to be focused on losing pounds and inches. Some days, you might get a little discouraged if the scale doesn't move down fast enough, even though this diet does help prevent plateaus. But there's absolutely nothing to be discouraged about. There are other wonderful things happening inside your body that won't be reflected on the scale, like your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol decreasing.
Okay, I realize that right now you might not care about these things. You just want to slip into that sexy black number hanging in your closet ... you know, the one that used to fit years ago.
But it's important to understand that your weight and health are not separate issues. Being overweight is a symptom of being unhealthy. Focus on your weight and your health will improve—instantly. Consider what the results of various research studies say about the rather immediate effects of healthy nutrition on the body:
After 15 minutes: After the first morning of eating a healthy breakfast , your stomach's satiety signals have registered in your brain, and you feel full. The body's internal chemistry is at its most active first thing in the morning, so your breakfast is then used to the maximum. If you eliminated processed foods (white bread, sugary cereals) for whole grains and lean proteins like egg whites, along with fresh fruit, you should feel energetic and mentally alert after just one meal.
After 3 hours: Your artery linings are able to expand sufficiently to increase blood flow to the body's tissues and organs.
After 6 hours: The HDL (happy cholesterol) in your blood perks up and starts scouring LDL (lousy cholesterol) from the blood. You can think of LDLs as delivery trucks, depositing cholesterol in blood vessels, and HDLs as garbage trucks, taking them back to the liver where they're broken down.
After 12 hours: Your body finally has an opportunity to burn the fat it has stored for energy because you've eliminated sugar. When you're eating a lot of sugar, your body is so busy processing the sugar that it doesn't have time to do its other job, which is to help the body burn fat. So guess what? The fat ends up hanging around.
After 16 hours: You get a restful night's sleep.
After 24 hours: You're 1 to 2 pounds lighter, because your body has begun to flush excess water and toxins from your system.
After 3 days: Once your body senses it's losing weight, its blood-related numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar) start traveling in a healthy direction.
After 1 week: Your cholesterol levels can drop significantly. Blood levels of important disease-fighting antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E are higher. Your bowels are in better working order, and you should be at least 5 pounds lighter.
After 2 weeks: You'll experience healthy drops in blood pressure if you've been diagnosed with hypertension. Expect to have lost up to 10 pounds by now.
After 1 month: Nobody has to filter out chunks of fast food from your blood anymore. By now, blood levels of LDL cholesterol can fall by nearly 30 percent—a drop similar to that seen with some cholesterol-lowering drugs.
After 6 weeks: You've lost so much weight you can't buy new, smaller clothes fast enough. Yes, you should have lost quite a bit of weight (20 pounds is not unusual), and your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels will be substantially improved.
After 12 weeks: Many significant health numbers—cholesterol, triglycerides (fat in the blood), blood pressure, glucose and insulin—should begin to, if not completely, normalize.
After 6 months: You'll feel healthier because your body will be retaining more vitamins and minerals. Because you reduced your sugar intake significantly over this period, insulin production will have normalized. So your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is reduced, as this can be linked to a larger intake of sugar. Your energy levels have improved dramatically because your body has gone through a detoxing process. You've probably reached your goal. The hardest work is over, and now it's time to learn how to eat to maintain your newly slender silhouette.
Pretty amazing what a good diet can do, right? Don't you want all of this? Be brutally honest here: if you really want something you'll find a way to get it. So if you find yourself saying, "I didn't have time to prepare healthy food," let me ask you this: would you have found time if your life depended on it? Well, it does.
GET SKINNY SHORTCUT Posture Stand up straight. Not only does slouching make your belly protrude, but it gives your core muscles an undeserved break. Standing erect, with the stomach held in, encourages the abs to work and can make you look slimmer naturally—and in an instant.
When you're fit and in shape, you're much more datable. In one survey of 554 undergrads, researchers found that overweight women were less likely to date than their peers. What's more, you're marriage material if you're thin. Research shows that overweight women are significantly less likely to marry than are women of average weight, particularly if they were overweight as young adults.
Losing weight can do wonders for your sex life, too. Duke University researchers did a study of 187 extremely obese adults, who were asked about their sex lives before and after they lost weight. It turned out the proportion of women who did not feel sexually attractive fell from 68 percent before they began a weight loss program to 26 percent a year later.
There were similar decreases in the percentages of women who didn't want to be seen naked, had little sexual drive, avoided sexual encounters, had difficulty with sexual performance or didn't enjoy sex. Among men, sex improved in most of the categories, but the improvements were less dramatic, probably because there are a lot more appearance-related pressures on women.
The romantic world revolves around physical appearances. If you want a love life with great sex, lose the weight.
Get in shape and you can improve your financial shape too. It's considerably more expensive to be unfit than it is to be fit, mainly because you're sicker more often and you pay higher medical bills. People who are overweight, and particularly those who are obese, are significantly more likely to have expensive-to-treat diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
And while I'm at it, did you know your employment prospects will improve after you lose weight? It's true! People with weight problems sometimes don't get hired. In the job market, appearance counts for a lot. Employers think fat people are lazy, incompetent, slow-moving and might have poor attendance. Studies have shown that fat people are paid less than employees of average weight.
I hate fat discrimination. It's wrong. But this is the world we live in. It's not going to change anytime soon, so get over it. Lose weight and you won't have to deal with it.
Thin people look better, and, like it or not, get paid more. If you're trim and healthy, you don't have an absentee problem. You might even be more productive on the job. All of this helps your earning potential. So if you want to live well and make your mortgage or rent payment, get those pounds off.
If my message seems too in-your-face, I apologize for the delivery—but not for the content. I'm speaking out because I care. I just want you to get healthy and enjoy your life to the fullest.
Take this quiz to see if you are ready to go on the 17 Day Diet. A successful and healthy weight loss requires the right frame of mind. Circle the answer that best describes your level of commitment.
1. When I think about starting the 17 Day Diet, I feel excited. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
2. I feel that weight loss and fitness are very important. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
3. I am determined to eat more healthfully. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
4. I want to look better and feel sexier. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
5. I am willing to follow the food plans in this book. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
6. I will eat more fruits and vegetables. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
7. I will give up soft drinks, candy and other sweets while following this diet. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
8. I will scale back on my alcohol intake. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
9. I will prepare more meals at home and eat out less frequently. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
10. I will increase my water intake. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
11. I am willing to cut back on starchy foods like white bread, pasta and sugary breakfast cereals. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
12. I feel confident that I can stick to this plan for at least 17 days. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
13. I will eat at least 3 meals and 1 snack a day. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
14. I will not make excuses to sabotage myself. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
15. I can commit to exercising at least 17 minutes a day. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
16. I want to change my eating and health habits for life. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
17. I understand how diet, obesity and chronic illnesses are linked. A. Yes B. Somewhat C. Unsure D. Not at all
Scoring: Give yourself a 3 for each A answer; a 2 for each B answer; a 1 for each C answer; and 0 for each D answer. Add up your score.
0 to 17 points: Immediately re-evaluate your commitment to improving your health. If you don't act decisively now, serious health problems are on the horizon.
18 to 26 points: Go back over your answers and see what you need to shore up. You may be taking some unnecessary risks with your health and should make an extra effort to change.
27 to 42 points: Re-examine your desire to go on the 17 Day Diet. What improvements can you make to boost your score? You need just a little bit more determination and commitment to be thinner and healthier.
43 to 51 points: You're ready to start the 17 Day Diet and enjoy success—congratulations! You must believe you can do this. It doesn't matter how often you have failed in the past; your past does not equal your future. What matters now is focusing on what you want, identifying what you need to get it and taking action. Your health and happiness are important, so stand strong.
One of my patients joked recently about the pluses of her plus size: "I can shoplift in my cleavage. And I don't have to ask my boyfriend, 'Do I look fat in this?' I do." That conversation got me thinking about some of the health advantages to being overweight. Although I don't recommend staying fat, there are some pluses to being a plus size. Here are six ways in which some padding can tip the scales in your favor.
Stronger Bones A little meat on your frame can ward off osteoporosis, a condition of fragile bones that's less likely to occur in overweight women. Weight-bearing bones stay stronger.
Healthier Hearts and Lower Risk of Diabetes Women with larger thighs have a lower risk of heart disease and early death, says a study in the British Medical Journal. Those with stick-thin legs face the greatest chance of developing heart disease. Why? Added lower-body muscle mass can promote a better metabolism. Also, a 2008 study published in Cell Metabolism found that the fat that accumulates around the thighs and hips, called subcutaneous fat, actually lowers risk of diabetes. Pear shapes, be proud.
Glowing Skin Recent twin studies have found that the sister with more weight was judged to have a more youthful look. A gaunt face can definitely add some years, so carrying an extra few pounds can help create a more youthful appearance. It may also help to fill out a few of those more significant wrinkles that scream out "aging!"
Bigger Boobs The more you weigh, the bigger they get. Breasts are made up of mostly fat, and any excess pounds practically go straight to your chest. Unfortunately, when you lose weight, boob flab is one of the first things to go.
Increased Fertility Are you thinking of starting—or growing—your family? Underweight women were 72 percent more likely to miscarry, reports a London study. More specifically, leaner women when they conceived had a much higher percentage of miscarrying within three months of pregnancy. However, those few extra pounds on overweight women actually proved to have the opposite effect on their pregnancy.
Faster Metabolism It's not the skinny folks who have a fast metabolism; it's the overweight people! It takes more energy to operate anything bigger, so bigger people use more energy to do the same things that smaller people do. But metabolism isn't the only thing that determines weight; it's also how much you eat and exercise that matters.
Best Reason of All People who are really out of shape, who start exercising, get fitter faster! The fact is your body wants to be in shape. It wants to be healthy. It wants to look good. It wants to be hot! So, the more out of shape you are, the faster your body will respond to your weight loss efforts.
© 2010 17 Day Diet, Inc.