I am extremely pleased to have finished the 17 Day Diet. It was a bigger challenge than I expected. I'm committed to making long-term, sustainable changes to improve the healthfulness of my diet, but I'm also looking forward to enjoying some more of my favorite foods in moderation.
Here's my food diary for days 13-17 of the program. You can catch up on days 1-12 in this post, if you're interested. Alternatively, you can skip the food diary and scroll down to see the results of the diet below - which is definitely the exciting and amazing part of this journey :-)
Weight: 127.2 lbs / 57.8 kg
- 7:50 a.m. 2 scrambled eggs and a tub of cherry yogurt. Cherry’s not my favorite flavor, but it’s slim pickings in the fridge today as we’re traveling again tomorrow.
- 9:30 a.m. Espresso.
- 12:15 p.m. Steamed broccoli, blanched spinach, and sliced beetroot. We have officially run out of food.
- 2:10 p.m. ½ jar of cornichons. You can see how desperate I am now...
- 7:15 p.m. Turkey breast with tomato passata, and grilled zucchini. This is the first time I feel like I’ve broken the rule about eating beyond your ‘fullness meter’. My plate was overflowing with food; all approved foods, but way more than one person needs for dinner. This is what happens when I allow myself to get starving! Anyway, I didn’t finish it all, but I did eat more than I needed to, and in rapid time. It didn’t help that Justin was feasting on a big piece of Roquefort cheese with a french baguette and beautiful bottle of red wine...
Weight: 127.2 lbs / 57.8 kg
- 8:15 a.m. 2 boiled eggs.
- 8:30 a.m. Espresso.
- 10:05 a.m. 2 tubs of vanilla yogurt. Another travel today, so I’m eating this in the car on the way to the airport!
- 12:10 p.m. Grilled white fish with a small warm salad of zucchini and tomato. The airport restaurant nailed it.
- 7:05 p.m. 4 course degustation seafood dinner. My airport lunch was surprisingly delicious and perfect for this program, and I didn’t feel hungry all afternoon. We arrived in Lisbon a couple of hours ago, and this restaurant was a short walk from our Airbnb. We didn’t realize, in advance of sitting down, how high end it was. Oops! Anyway, we ended up ordering 2 entrees and 2 main courses, and they split everything into a longer degustation style dinner. This is the first time I have (knowingly) broken the diet. One of my courses included a tiny shrimp, which I ate, and I also ate the tiny pure chocolate at the end of the meal. Ugh. I can’t pretend that I’m not feeling deflated by the fact that the scales haven't moved at all over the last week....
Weight: 127.2 lbs / 57.8kg
- 8:30 a.m. 1 clementine and 2 scrambled eggs.
- 9:30 a.m. Espresso.
- 11:40 a.m. ‘Strawberry’ yogurt. Not sure where the strawberry flavor is coming from in this pot of yogurt with no identifiable fruit. Nasty! I need to find a healthy grocery store to stock up on some better produce for tomorrow.
- 5:15 p.m. Fish soup to start, followed by grilled sea bass and green vegetables. We've had meetings all afternoon and I've done my usual trick of not eating properly and ending up starving. Anyway, we found this traditional looking Portuguese restaurant for an early dinner (which works well for Rosie too). They cooked the sea bass so perfectly; you could taste the years of experience in grilling the freshest of fish. It's one of things I love most about Portugal - the seafood. The spinach was garlic-y and lemon-y in a way that I can't seem to replicate at home. YUM.
Weight: 125.6 lbs / 57.1 kg
- 8:10 a.m. Berry yogurt, and 2 scrambled eggs. I tracked down a better grocery store and upgraded my yogurt supplies!
- 9:20 a.m. Espresso.
- 12:30 p.m. Piri piri chicken with asparagus. Rosie passed out in her stroller while we were out, so we let her rest and had lunch at a cafe near our Airbnb. They made me a traditional Portuguese piri piri chicken (I removed the skin) and it was delicious. I definitely want to learn how to make that piri piri sauce so I can recreate this dish at home.
- 6:15 p.m. Roasted carrots. We've done a lot of walking over the past few days. A lot of uphill walking. A fair bit of uphill walking in the rain too. Tired and grumpy, I put a bag of carrots in the oven to roast. In my imagination they were going to be caramelized and delicious, but they weren't. They were ordinary roasted carrots, and my lack of care in preparing them was totally apparent in the eating. I'm suffering from a bad attitude towards the 17 day diet today.
Weight: 124.5 lbs / 56.6 kg
- 6:50 a.m. Hot water with lemon juice. We finally remembered to buy lemons!
- 8:10 a.m. Berry yogurt, half a pear, and 1 clementine. One thing I've enjoyed on this program, is the extra whole fruit I've been eating each morning. I'm going to try to make this a lasting change.
- 10:30 a.m. Espresso.
- 12:30 p.m. Grilled chicken with a side of sauteed cabbage. I can't pretend otherwise, this lunch was a pretty lame effort on my part. Poor Justin had the pleasure of eating it too.
- 2:15 p.m. Raspberries with a dollop of plain yogurt. We found a great organic health store and these berries were delicious. When you're eating this sort of clean food, the quality of the produce makes such a noticeable difference.
- 7:20 p.m. Miso soup. Blah, all afternoon I've had Portuguese custard tarts top of mind.
HALLELUJAH, the diet is over. I'm not going to pretend otherwise, it's been tough.
The good news, however, is that it works. Check out the results below!
Total Lost: WEIGHT = 6.8 lbs
Total Lost: WAIST = 5.6 "
Total Lost: BUST = 1.2 "
Total Lost: HIPS = 1.2 "
New BMI = 21.5 (down from 22.7)
I kept a track of my weight daily, and measured my waist, bust and hips on the first and last day of the program. You can see my tracking in more detail below - in pounds, kilos, inches, and centimeters (depending from where in the world you are reading)! You might also notice that on my second last weigh-in I had lost 7.8", but I chose not to use this as my final result because I woke up feeling very dehydrated when I weighed myself that morning. Day 18 is a more accurate reflection of true weight lost.
The biggest result has been in my waist measurement. Physical appearance aside, excess belly fat is dangerous. I feel much healthier and more comfortable in my skin now, compared to 17 days ago.
I've developed a bit of a love / hate relationship with the 17 Day Diet. Towards the end of the program it was mostly hate, but today looking back in retrospect, there is a mild fondness, and a surprisingly strong desire to try it again in the new year.
These are my biggest take-aways from the experience:
- You need to be at home to tackle this challenge. I wouldn't attempt this program again while traveling. You need to be at home with all the support of your local grocery store, and your own kitchen. I'd even go so far as to suggest that you choose a period of time (at home) when you're not too busy with work/kids/visitors so you've got the time/energy/head-space to commit to doing this program properly.
- Workouts aren't an option. I have been active during this program by doing a lot of brisk walking, some days in excess of 15,000 steps, but there is no way I could do any hardcore work outs while eating like this.
- Fiber is your friend. You're eating a lot of lean protein on this diet, which can be tough on your gut, so you really need to make sure you're getting enough fiber from fruits and vegetables. Otherwise you start to feel like you've got a brick in your stomach, which isn't ideal.
- A clearer complexion. In addition to losing nearly 7 pounds (yay!) and 5.6" from my waist (yay! yay!), my complexion has improved noticeably. I guess clean eating really does make a difference to your skin.
- You really do feel healthier. When I reflected back on my 10-week alcohol-free challenge, I commented on the fact that I didn't notice a dramatic improvement in my feelings overall health. However, the opposite is true of this program. I feel A LOT healthier. I've come to realize that, prior to doing this program, I've been experiencing daily blood sugar crashes from eating too many simple carbohydrates. Even though I love bread and pasta, I'm starting to understand why some people choose to eliminate them from their diets. It's a bit of a depressing thought, but then again, knowledge is power.
- Meal planning is a must. Lastly, if/when I attempt this program again, I will do extensive meal planning and preparation in advance of starting the diet. Having a variety of different soups and stews in the freezer, along with a greater range of probiotic sources, homemade fruit compotes, and creative salad ideas would have made this diet so much easier and less boring.
P.S. You might also enjoy...
- 10 things I've learned from 10 weeks alcohol-free.
- 10 things I've learned after 10 years of marriage.