By Dr. Mike Moreno
Author of The 17 Day Diet Cookbook
Fans of the 17 Day Diet are a very vocal bunch. I love hearing from you, so we took some of our favorite queries from our Facebook fans, Twitter, and blog comments here, and I answered them. Please keep on sharing your success and your great questions. Good luck!
I don’t like fish. Is it OK to substitute meat for the fish in the diet?
Often people say they don’t like fish because they haven’t tried enough of a variety. I included fish in the 17 Day Diet because it offers things that animal protein doesn’t. The high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in certain fish boost your metabolism. Omega-3s are also credited with keeping your skin supple, reducing harmful levels of cholesterol, lowering high blood pressure and contributing to eye health.
The fish highest in Omega-3 are wild salmon, sardines, and mackerel. These fish are usually the ones most people think of as too fishy but there are also other great sources with a less fishy taste: trout, flounder, pollock and tilapia. Canned albacore tuna and salmon are also good because you can mix them with vegetables in a salad.
Fish offers so much to a balance diet that I really hope you can find something you like. If you absolutely can’t eat fish, you can substitute a lean protein like chicken and turkey, but make sure to take 3 grams of fish oil supplements daily so you get the benefits of the Omega-3.
I’m not sure how much I should be exercising.
Before you start any exercise routine you should speak with your doctor.
If you haven’t been exercising for a while you should start out slow: walk around the block, take the stairs instead of the escalator, But to really see the fat burning effects of exercise you have to work out for at least 17 minutes at a time. I recommend that you start your morning with a 17 minute aerobic workout, do everything you can to keep moving during the day, and then do another 17 minute aerobic workout at night.
You can of course increase your workouts, but you can’t decrease them and expect results. Diet and exercise work together to create weight loss. Exercising while you lose weight helps keep you toned, gives you more energy, and boosts your metabolism.
Never discount your efforts. Any movement is movement, for some walking down the hall of your home and back is effort. Know that any movement counts. If you take 10 three-minute walks a day, that counts, too. Any and every movement counts, and as time goes on you’ll be able to do more. Never underestimate your abilities.
I’ve seen such great results on Cycle 1 that I’m weighing myself several times a day. How often should I step on a scale?
Losing weight can be a thrill, but sometimes, especially if you’re seeing dramatic weight loss, you want to check your progress all the time. Your weight fluctuates throughout the day and you won’t really get an accurate reading if you check too often. Weighing yourself at the same time once a day is the most you should do.
You don’t have to weigh yourself every day, but you should weigh yourself at least once a week. Once a week you should also take your measurements. Your body (and not the scale) will really give you the gauge of how well your efforts are working.
I’m on C2, Day 10 and I think I’ve hit a plateau. What should I do?
If your weight loss in Cycle 1 was really strong you may find that your weight loss in Cycle 2 is not as dramatic. Because you are eating more things in this cycle be careful of all your portions sizes, especially your carbs, which are easy to overload on. Even if it’s a natural starch, it’s still a starch. And don’t forget: No fruit or starch after 2PM.
Two other things that help burn fat: Avoid alcohol and sugar AND increase your exercise so your body uses all the fuel you are putting in to it.
I’m a vegetarian. Can I go on this diet?
Yes. If you’re a lacto-ovo vegetarian you can eat the vegetables, fruit, dairy, and eggs, in all cycles and add beans and grains in cycles 2, 3, and 4. You can also use meat substitutes for more protein.
Sometimes I really crave sugar and carbs. Is this going to change or am I just going to have to live with it?
Usually cravings for sugar and carbs are most pronounced in Cycle 1 as you get used to not eating them and your body starts to detox. As you move forward and start to retrain your body, mind, and taste buds to like the taste of what’s good for you, you’ll find your cravings for the bad stuff get less intense. An apple will taste sweeter and be more satisfying than a candy bar.
I was on the diet and doing great. I got all the way to Cycle 4, but I just sort of lost it and have gained some of the weight back. Will starting the diet again have the same impact it did the first time?
The 17 Day Diet is designed so that if you haven’t achieved your goal or have gained weight after going off the diet, you can start right back at Cycle 1 and start to see results. Don’t be discouraged. It took a long time to develop the habits that led you to gain weight. You have to learn a whole new set of habits now and getting back on the diet is a great first step.
I’m on Cycle 3, Day 5 and have been losing weight and feel fantastic. But I haven’t been out in a social setting yet. I have a party to go to and am worried I’ll blow it.
If you know you’re going out the best strategy is to plan: Eat breakfast. Eat lunch. Make sure both meals include plenty of filling veggies and servings of protein and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
If the party is a dinner party, be careful and eat the things that fit your plan. If it’s a cocktail party, eat dinner before you go so you won’t arrive hungry. If you want to have a drink, skip your snacks during the day.