The 17 Day Diet: Easy Weight Loss

Being thin is great.

Not counting calories is great too.

But being thin and not counting calories:



If you’ve let yourself go and you’re ready to get back into a skinny lifestyle, The 17 Diet is a great option.

Our Picks for the Best Weight Loss Diets

Name of the Diet


Our Rating

The 17 Day Diet 


Fast Metabolism Diet


The Whole 30


The 5:2 Fasting Diet


Clicking on the links above will take you to Amazon, where you can see pricing and reviews.

*Number represents days in a cycle that can be repeated as many times as you want.

You can use it for short term weight loss (slim down for an upcoming event) or as a long term health plan to keep yourself in the skinny jeans for life.

The 17 Day plan is a weight loss diet, designed by Dr. Mike Moreno, to help you lose weight fast and then stay skinny if you want to through a healthy eating plan.

The title is a little misleading; it’s not a single diet that lasts 17 days but several 17-day diet phases that are followed consecutively.

The best part about this diet:

You can stop at whatever point you’re ready to.

It accommodates all types of weight loss goals.

Semantics aside, the name hasn’t stopped the 17 Day Diet becoming very popular since its inception back in 2010 when the book was revealed on the Doctor Phil show.  Check out the book here.

Review: What are People Saying?

I started this diet with the advice of my workout trainers. My husband got on board with me and we lost 10 lbs in the first two weeks, then another 5 after that. We've gotten a little lax and need to get back on track. I have really low energy so I wouldn't say I followed it to the tee but I stayed on track pretty close. It's a good way to break old habits and to get conscience about your sugar and calorie intake.
I've been able to make better choices because of the flexibility. I think the hardest part is when you first start. Trying to get used to no sugar has been a challenge.
I will have to admit that I did not think this diet would work. I thought that it would just be another strict low-carb plan that I would start for 3 days and then end up back where I started. I started on August 1st and have lost almost 20 pounds! I went through all the cycles the first 2 months and I admittedly stopped the diet in October due to some traveling. I've watched my calorie intake since then and still have not gained back the weight I lost on the 17 day diet. I am starting back on Cycle 1 this month to lose some more weight!

What You'll Love about this Diet

First thing, it’s based on a low carb approach to weight loss.

Most people who stay skinny and don’t have to diet, eat a low carb diet without even thinking about it.

Fast carbs like breads, pasta and cookies are empty calories that do nothing but make you fat. Consider these empty calories banished to the junk food category from here on out.

You'll also like that the 17 day diet places a large focus on food quality over calorie counting.

When you’re eating healthy food, you don’t really have to count calories anyway.

While the number of calories you consume is important, the type of food you eat matters more.

Your body work best when supplied with plenty of healthy nutrients.

Not only will you get skinny faster, if your diet is rich in things like vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, you’ll look hot and feel great too.

Your waist line will come back, your skin will glow and your hair will feel like silk. What you put into your body shows up on the outside.

The 17 Day Diet is built around healthy, fresh food and the distinct stages of the diet, discussed later, mean that you never really settle into eating in one particular way.

This prevents dietary boredom:  The Enemy of Every Dieter

And it also promises metabolic confusion which, says Moreno, will further enhance fat loss.

Designed by a doctor and approved by Doctor Phil, this is a serious diet.

It’s a smart, sensible, sustainable eating plan designed for long-term use rather than a short-term fix. The 17-day phases create periodic changes that help you avoid feeling like gerbil on a wheel.

The diet becomes less strict as you progress through the stages – the first stage being the toughest.

By the end of the diet there are cheat days and even alcohol is allowed in moderation.

The 17 day diet is designed to not only help you reach your ideal weight but then maintain it to; it’s a diet for life and not just the next few weeks.

Unless, of course, that’s all you need.

Will you Click with this Diet?

The 17 Day Diet is for people who want to completely overhaul their current, unhealthy diet and make a fresh nutritional start while losing weight and unleashing their healthy, skinny body.

A clean slate that takes you headfirst into better health.

Meals are tasty as well as healthy.

And weight loss is assured.

Unlike many diets, on completion the 17 Day plan offers a maintenance plan designed to keep you skinny and fit for as long as you want to be. The diet will work as long as you do.

Exercise is also included as part of the diet and recommendations are sensible and manageable for most people – even those who are currently non-exercisers.

This means that even the very overweight and unfit can follow Dr. Moreno’s plan.

The best part of the 17 Day Diet is that it allows you to get skinny, but does so in a way that encourages healthy and sustainable living.

You can commit fully to the plan, knowing that you’ll get results that go beyond looks.

The science behind the 17 Day Diet

The 17 Day Diet (more here) conforms to several scientific principles and works because…

1) It’s low in calories – by reducing food intake, your body is forced to make up the shortfall by burning fat for fuel. By controlling intake of certain food groups (predominately starchy carbs and sugar as well as fat) this diet cuts out the crappy calories that you don’t need anyway.

The truth is:

No matter what you eat, you'll lose weight if drop the calories.

It's a fact. Read more here.​

2) It’s high in protein – protein has a high thermal effect which means it boosts your metabolism and burns calories. Think of eating protein as a mini fat-burning workout!

Protein also leaves you feeling full and less likely to crave crappy carbs.

3) It’s high in fibrous vegetables – fibrous vegetables are low in calories but are also very filling so you can eat a lot without actually ingesting many calories. You get loads of nutritional benefits.

Your body will stop asking for food, because it will have the nutrition it actually needs.

In addition, fiber has a metabolism-boosting effect.

Fibrous vegetables are also help you shed water weight you may be carrying around.

4) It’s low in sugar – sugar, even natural sugars, increase insulin production. Insulin is an important hormone that transports nutrients into your liver and muscle cells but also interferes with fat burning.

Keeping your insulin levels low means that your body will be able to burn fat more efficiently. read more about fat burning here.

The 17 Day Diet contains no added sugars and what natural sugars are included come from healthy fruit.

5) It’s a cyclic diet – cyclic diets involve revolving different nutritional approaches. This prevents boredom, maximizes fat burn and ensures you have no nutritional deficits.

4 Cycles of the 17 Day Diet 

There are four different phases in the 17 Day Diet – each one lasting 17 days. The phases are:

Cycle 1: Accelerate

This is the jump start program designed to facilitate rapid weight loss, cleansing, and fat burning. It’s low in carbs, high in protein and arguably the hardest part of the diet. Still, it’s only 17 days….

Cycle 2: Activate

During this cycle you will "reset" your metabolism to optimize fat burning. Carbs are reintroduced in moderate amounts and fat intake increases.

Cycle 3: Achieve

Designed to develop healthy eating habits and a new understanding of how to eat carbs, this phase combines elements of both cycle 1 and cycle 2 to enhance fat loss.

Cycle 4: Arrive

This is your maintenance phase and the culmination of what was learned in the first three cycles. This phase also introduces the concept of relaxed weekends, during which you have freedom to enjoy just about anything you like.

Optional fasting can be included between phases to further enhance fat loss. Although no solid food is consumed on fast days, smoothies made from whey protein, matcha green tea powder, probiotics, fiber, fruit and veggies are consumed morning, afternoon and evening.

But I screwed it up!

Don't worry...

Fasts can also be used after dietary slip ups to help you get back on track e.g. after a holiday weekend.

Cycle 1. Start Burning Fat Immediately 

The first time you cycle through the 17 Day Diet, you'll be in the Accelerate Phase.

It’s all about rapid initial weight loss.

It's phase means eating foods low in carbs and fat but high in protein.

You are allowed you to eat virtually unlimited amounts of lean protein such as fish, turkey and chicken plus copious amounts of non-starchy vegetables to keep you feeling full and cleanse and detoxify your digestive system. This 17 Day cycle also employs a 2pm carb curfew after which very few carbs should be consumed to maximize weight loss.

While no starchy carbs are permitted during this phase, low sugar fruits such as berries, apples and plums are permitted and are the main sources of carbs. 

Cycle 2: Activate Your Metabolism for Intense Weight Loss

Are you dying to kick your metabolism into high gear?

Cycle 2 involves alternating between the diet from cycle one and a new plan. This creates the “metabolic confusion” and effectively wakes up your metabolism--maybe for the first time in years?

Just saying...​

The activate phase is all about shaking your metabolism into action.

It includes higher fat protein sources such as oilier sea food and red meat and also includes starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, yams, beans and lentils, brown rice and quinoa. As before, lots of filling, healthy vegetables should also be consumed and low calorie condiments such as mustard, salsa and low-sugar ketchup are now permitted.

Can I gorge on cake and bagels?

Get a reality check. The 2pm carb curfew is still in place.

Cycle 3: Set Yourself Up for a Slimmer Life 

Did you know long term thin people don't eat like you do?

I swear they don't.

Cycle 3 is for retraining your brain to embrace moderation and is a more balanced diet designed to help develop a healthy attitude toward food.

They call it the Achieve phase.

It's a little condescending, but we didn't name it.​

In the achieve phase, protein intake is lower but food intake is generally higher as select starchy carbs can be consumed every day – albeit before the 2pm carb curfew.

This stage also sees the reintroduction of fats such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and even mayonnaise and also allows snacking in moderation.

Best of all, for some dieters at least, you may now also enjoy up to one alcoholic drink per day (5 oz. wine, 12 oz. beer, or 1 1/2 oz. hard liquor).

Cycle 4: Rock that Skinny Body and Look Awesome Forever

Cycle 4 is all about maintenance and preventing weight regain.

It's called the Arrive Phase. And once you reach it successfully, you'll feel it's aptly named.

Cycle four is pretty much the same as cycle 3 with the addition of three meals spread over two days per week (usually the weekend) where you can eat pretty much whatever you want.

This has a metabolism boosting effect and also helps maintain Moreno’s metabolic confusion.

It's worth mentioning:

Metabolic confusion doesn't seem to exist outside this diet.

We looked for evidence but couldn't find any for metabolic confusion.

That doesn't mean the diet is worthless. It's actually a great diet.

Maybe just a little gimmicky.

This final stage is designed to be followed for the rest of your life and should allow you to remain at your ideal weight although Doctor Moreno does caution about going overboard at weekends and undoing the rest of your otherwise healthy week.

Do I really need to say it?

Moderation and not binging is the key to success.

With all stages of the 17 Day Diet, you need to drink lots of water every day to maintain optimal hydration levels and to accelerate fat loss.

Start each day with an 8 oz. cup of hot lemon water every morning when you first wake up. Drinking a cup of hot water whenever you’re hunger, is also a great diet hack we use regularly at SkinnyBitch.

Tips for Vegan/Vegetarian Modifications

As a low to moderate carb diet, the 17 day diet is built around lean protein. Lean protein is filling, prevents muscle breakdown and also has a metabolism-boosting effect and there are more than enough ways to get protein without eating animals.

According to Dr. Moreno, non-meat eaters can follow his diet simply by substituting their preferred protein for the recommended meat, fish and eggs. Good non-animal protein sources include:

Soya                          Tofu

Hempseed                Quorn

Rice and Beans              Nuts

Whey protein

The 17 Day Diet can also be modified to suit several other specific nutritional requirements including gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, Kosher and Halal.

Exercise and the 17 Day Diet

This diet places a solid emphasis on aerobic exercise.

This makes a certain amount of sense as this type of exercise (walking, swimming, jogging, and cycling) burns fat and is good for your heart and lungs too.

Adding  strength training into the exercise mix in the form of weight training or calisthenics is beneficial because:

Strength training builds muscle and increases your metabolic rate which keeps you skinny.

Exercise will enhance fat loss by burning calories. When you eat less than usual, your body has to burn fat for fuel and exercise increases fat burning by elevating your metabolic rate. 

Cycle 1 – 17 minutes of walking a day
Cycle 2 – 17 minutes of walking a day
Cycle 3 – 40-60 minutes of aerobic exercise 4-6 times per week
Cycle 4 – Same as Cycle 3 plus 1 hour of exercise at the weekend


The recommended 17 minutes per day for phase one and two of the 17 day Diet is considerably less than the standard fitness industry recommendation of 30 minutes per day. 

Getting the best results from the 17 Day Diet

The 17 Day Diet is well planned and provides plenty of nutritional variation across the four cycles, which not only prevents dieter boredom but also maximizes fat loss.

To get the most from the 17 Day Diet, follow the plan as it is laid out as each cycle.

However, there are some additional things you can do to get the most from the 17 Day Diet…

Do: Eat plenty of lean protein and vegetables. There are no real restrictions on these foods as they are very hard to convert to fat and are also nutritious and fat burning. Keep hunger at bay by making sure you fill up on these foods.

Do: Once you reach the Arrive phase, take advantage of the weekends and enjoy your favorite guilty food indulgences. However, don’t overeat or the fat will pile on quickly.

Don’t: Stuff yourself even with foods that are unrestricted. While lean proteins and vegetables are not easily converted to fat, if you eat a whole roast chicken three times a day you will inevitably gain weight.

A rule you can live by:

Eat until you are comfortably satisfied and not until you feel stuffed.

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