Monday, April 2, 2012

17 Day Diet Book Review

I’ve been asked to tell me ‘secret’ from an earlier blog about how I lost 13 pounds in 13 days ‘safely’. I will share with you how I did it so quickly. It was following a Book written by Dr. Mike Moreno called ‘The 17 Day Diet’.

First, I need to do a little background on why I chose this diet. I had weighed myself in January after an 11-day vacation that included a Caribbean Cruise. I came up about 22 pounds overweight to what is considered ‘normal’ for my height. No, not BMI, but what almost any insurance table or normal would be for a male at 6’ 2”. I knew that running would help me lose it, so I started there.

After about two weeks of losing three pounds total, I realized that I was going to enter the spring still overweight when the road race season began. I also wanted to see if there was a more sensible approach to losing all of this weight, something that would give me a quick weight loss so that I could plan to actually do speed workouts or tempo runs without risk to my legs of injury. After seeing his book reviewed, and comments by runners on how successful they were, I thought ‘Why Not’?

I’m not the kind of person that can stay on any ‘diet’ long. But the suggestions that Dr. Mike (as his patients refer to him as) made a lot of sense to me. He asked for 17 days and after that I could decide if I wanted to, or needed to, continue with the program. His patients had shown results of 10-14 pounds in a 17 day period, so that looked like he could get me back to normal within what I was looking for.

The diet is simple to understand and even simpler to follow. His basic premise is eating high quality protein with a small amount of carbohydrate the first 17 days. As a runner I’m away afraid of low carbohydrate diets. But with the 10-14 pound promise and the fact I was just starting a running plan for a half marathon, I thought this could work. And it did.

The high quality protein diet does help you control your appetite. Not once, after the first two days, did I feel the need to eat more, like I was getting full enough. I did worry at that time that I wouldn’t get the amount of carbohydrate that I needed to continue training but I found that was not the case. That said, I did notice on runs longer than 45 minutes, I would get mini-Charlie Horses in my legs that I never noticed before. Since I was at the start of my Half Marathon training, this didn’t affect more than one or two runs. But I do wonder if runners training for a Full Marathon could’ve stayed on the diet.

I give it high marks on the diet side. I learned some great knowledge on how to win the weight war. Everything he promised in the book, he delivered on. But I do have to point out I was only on it for the first 17 days. He has 3 more 17 day “periods” where you move more and more carbohydrate into your diet. Since I had already got to the weight goal I was hoping to achieve, I just moved back into my diet (except for the fact of staying away from sugars and starches which I learned were probably what caused my weight gain in the first place). I have continued to lose weight at a clip of about 1.5 pounds per week since then, so I am glad for the jump start this diet gave me.

I do have a slight criticism of the book, I don’t think he ‘pushes’ his patients and/or readers into enough activity. For exercise, he recommends a 17 minute walk to go with his 17 Day Diet. I, of course, was training, so I exceeded this recommendation. But I have to assume his book is aimed at non-runners so he is hoping to just get them active. But I think 17 minutes of any exercise is not enough to get anyone to the point of getting ‘in shape’. I believe that most literature has 20 minutes at a minimum for exercise that is beneficial. I’ve also read studies that say that the real fat burning begins at about 15-20 minutes since your body burns carbohydrate in the first 15 minutes. So I think he should’ve pushed that time period beyond 17 minutes to something that would really be beneficial to the patient/reader.

The key learning is this: You can lose weight more by diet than you can by exercise. I realize that I will get some debate about that, but for me, I’ve never lost weight as fast or as for as long as I did by diet. Of course, I realize that running will help me maintain my ideal weight, but it was diet that truly got me back to a normal weight in the quickest time.

For anyone interested in trying ‘The 17 Day Diet’ you can click this link for more information:

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