Maybe I should do a quick run-down of what, exactly, the diet plan I'm following entails.
When I first heard about The 17 Day Diet, I thought 'Gimmick!' because making claims of losing all the weight you want in 17 days is preposterous.
But then I read a little bit more about it, and coupled with a growing sense of panic (that wedding is only two months away...) and despair (why can't I make this calorie counting stick?!) I thought, why not?
I read the book, and while a few things stood out as a bit gimmicky, it seemed to make sense. It seemed do-able, and realistic, and maybe even something that could lead to a change in the way I approach food permanently.
The diet breaks down into four 17-day cycles. That's where the title comes from - it's not 'lose everything in 17 days!' as I had assumed.
The first cycle (Accelerate) is what the author calls a detox. I don't necessarily believe in the concept of 'detoxing' but fine. For 17 days, you eat reasonable but unlimited portions of specific proteins - salmon, tilapia, sole, tuna, chicken breast, turkey breast, eggs. You focus on 'cleansing vegetables' and consume them in unlimited amounts. The list is pretty extensive, and includes broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc.
My new best friends! image credit
You get two fruit servings every day (low-sugar fruits to be eaten before 2pm) and you are to consume two servings of probiotics, in the form of yogurt, cultured milk or cottage cheese, kimchi, kefir, etc.
There are no starches included in the first cycle. This is probably the hardest part for most of us - no starchy vegetables, beans, legumes, not to mention grains. Also, no dairy aside from the yogurt.
The good news is that it doesn't last for long. In just over two weeks, you move on to a different cycle that alternates between eating like in Cycle 1 and days where you can add a whole schwack of foods, including red meats and starches.
Cycle 3 adds even more food, like booze. And ice cream.
Two weeks isn't a long time. Plus, no matter what diet plan I'm following, be it Weight Watchers or counting calories or a diet plan laid out by a magazine, I tend to binge on grain-based carbohydrates. Late night snacks of toast with margarine? Rice with butter? Pretty much anything I can find? Yep. Guilty. If I know that I can't have them, that might be enough to make me stop. Because even whole-grain toast with butter that I convince myself is healthy, isn't exactly the best snack, when you have three pieces every night.
You can repeat the cycles until you've reached your goal, and then it's on to Cycle 4where you eat 'clean' through the week and have treat meals on weekends. This is something I admire, the ability to eat what you want 20% of the time, and eat clean 80% of the time.
I've always been interested in the whole clean-eating movement, but giving up processed foods is hard for me. This method of phased adjustments to your diet might be the key - because honestly. Two weeks. Not that long, is it?