Thursday, February 21, 2013

The 17 Day Diet


I'll talk about the diet in a moment, but first -- my day. I finished an editing project yesterday and had today off, so I made exercise my focus. I haven't done a lot of that lately. And the Verti-cool challenge is coming up fast. So, despite inclement weather, I walked into the local town centre (about 40 mins including taking the kids to school) and then ran up 400 stairs, 25 at a time.

Last time I did these stairs, a few weeks ago, I ran up each set of 25 then walked down the ramp; giving me a fairly long break between sets. And it wasn't too hard at all. Today I ran up each set then walked briskly down the stairs. I've never come so close to vomiting due to exercise. I walked up number 11 and 15 (out of 16 sets) but ran the rest. I was completely buggered. But I did it in under 10 minutes.

I went and sat outside the library, waiting for it to open, and drank half my bottle of water. Ten minutes later I stood to go in and my legs were trembling so badly I was worried I was going to fall. I made it inside and went to the bathroom. My face (more than 10 minutes after finishing exercise) was a rather frightening shade of magenta. I always go very pink when I exercise hard, but this was like an overripe tomato. If I was a bystander I would be worried for me.

I collected The 17 Day Diet book and recipe book the library had on hold for me and sat down to read for a while, getting the basics. 45 minutes later I checked my face in the mirror again, down to a mere flush. My legs were still a bit wobbly. Despite bananas not being allowed in phase 1, I ate the one I had with me. I definitely needed the calories to get me home. Then I walked home (a bit over 20 mins), at first with rain driving into my face but then it stopped and the sun came out rather dramatically which was nice.

After a very rushed lunch (chicken and broccoli) I showered and drove back to nearly where I was to have my legs waxed. I only mention that because now my legs are sore inside and out. My calves are really feeling all the stair climbing. A friend and I are planning to climb a mountain tomorrow, I just hope I'm not too stiff to walk! I have no idea how many stairs it will involve.

I'd been thinking about researching the 17 Day Diet for a while after hearing about it on TV. Maybe Dr Phil -- although I haven't watched Dr Phil since he went all "Jerry Springer" a few of years ago. Anyway, my impression of it was slightly wrong; I had the idea that the phases change completely every 17 days. This sounded good to me as I tend to get bored with any particular plan. Actually I get bored after a week or so so I was thinking about making up my own 7 day diet with different rules each week. I like having rules, but with change as well.

The real 17 Day Diet consists of four phases or "cycles", three of 17 days each and then maintenance. The first cycle is really strict, then you add in more things on the second cyle and more still on the third. Reapeat the three as needed. Maintenance means being good all week then eating what you want on the weekends. It is basically a high-protein low-carb diet. The first cycle has no starches at all.

I've decided to try it. The first cycle is similar to what I did recently; no sugar or processed food or wheat, but also no potato or corn or rice or even quinoa. Two fruits a day, from a restricted list; low-fat dairy; healthy fats; lots of water; lots of vegetables. The only bit I really quibble with is the unlimited amount of protein -- as long as it is chicken, turkey, fish, or eggs. You don't get lean red meat until the second cycle. I have yet to find any reason for this. I won't cheat on the carbs or junk food, but I may cheat a bit on the red meat. My family don't like fish and there is no way they are going to accept chicken every night for two and a half weeks, and I really don't fancy sitting down to some lemon sole while they are having steak.

Second cycle you can add red meat and some starches like potato and rice, third cycle more variety of fruits and more starches like bread and pasta (while reducing protein a bit).

It doesn't seem very complicated and I am willing to give it a go. As a pre-diabetic, I do need to eat regular carbs but I can get them from the fruit and vegetables and dairy.

I am calling this Day 1 even though I had a forbidden banana and I've already done the shopping for the next few days so tonight I'll be having beef fajitas (wrapped in lettuce not tortillas) which is also not canon. I'm not going to wait until Monday to start, so I will do my best with what I have. One big reason not to wait is that my weight has gone up to 78.9 kg and I need to stop that upward creep.

After the first set of stairs this morning I was feeling very strong and kind of fit, and then I saw my reflection in the library window. That is always a shock, especially side-on. In my own head I am just not as fat as I really am. It is still a shock every time I see myself. But I won't let it make me miserable -- I am doing something about it.

Oh, the 17 Day Diet suggests exercising 17 minutes a day, or twice a day. (BTW, I wonder why 17 days in particular. Two and a half weeks is kind of an odd measurement, it doesn't seem to come from anywhere.) Of course I want to do more than that. I've got my Verti-cool challenge to train for, and now that we are at the tail-end of summer and it's cooling down I want to start running again. I'm still on week 1 of the C25K!

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