17 Day Diet: Diet Review (cont.)

Registered dietitian Melissa Nodvin, MS, RD estimates this plan to be about 1,200 calories per day, or the minimum recommended calorie level.

Here is a sample day's plan from Cycle 1:

  • Unlimited lean protein

  • Unlimited nonstarchy vegetables

  • 2 low-sugar fruits

  • 2 probiotics (low-fat yogurt)

  • 1-2 servings of friendly fats

  • Green tea

  • 64 ounces of water

Cycle 2 is the same as cycle one except it reduces the fat to one serving and adds two servings of healthy carbs, pushing the calories to about 1,500 daily, Nodvin says.

Healthy starches such as legumes, brown rice, bulgar, couscous, corn, squash, and sweet potatoes are just a few of the options to choose from.

During this phase, you alternate lower-calorie days with slightly higher-calorie days.

Cycle 3 allows for the addition of more healthy food choices to help you achieve good lifetime eating habits. Food lists are expanded to include more healthy fruits, proteins, fats, and starches. The meal plan is basically the same as Cycle Two, except protein is restricted to portions equal to the size of a sponge and an added option for one serving of alcohol and 100-calorie snacks.

Cycle 4 assumes you have met your goal weight. If you were lucky enough to lose all your weight in 51 days, this phase is about maintaining the new you. During the week, follow the guidance from cycle 1,2, or 3 and when the weekend rolls around, let loose.

Moreno allows 1-2 favorite meals, and 1-2 alcoholic drinks daily on the weekends, but cautions dieters not to binge; he calls it strategic cheating. "If you only splurge a little, it will keep your weight in check and make it easier to get back on track on Monday," Moreno says.

He suggests weighing in weekly and when the needle goes up five pounds, return to cycle 2 until you get your weight back to normal.

The 17 Day Diet: How It Works

Dieters clean up their diets, getting rid of fast foods, sweets, refined grains, and more in cycle one. This phase is designed to "improve digestive health, help clear sugar from blood to boost fat-burning and discourage fat storage," Moreno says.

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