The 2 Day Diet by Dr. Michelle Harvie and Professor Tony Howell – book review

 by Amelia Gordon

2 day dietThe 2 Day Diet is a bit of a misnomer. Strictly speaking it should be the 2 day strict diet with a 5 day more relaxed diet. If you truly need to lose weight, you probably have not been eating a healthy Mediterranean diet within the calorie parameters allowed by this book on the unrestricted days. That said, there is value to this diet. Having read every diet book known to man, I can attest that this book contains many of the elements in every other healthy diet book – answers to questions, advice on maintaining focus, advice on exercise and recipes. The authors claim that this diet is easier to stick than 7 day a week diets and there is some validity to that. You won’t be able to have fries with that, but the essence of the diet is that on the two strict diet days, you drastically reduce carbohydrates including all but one serving of fruit ( you can have low GI vegetables but no potatoes, pasta or bread) and on the other days you can add carbs back in limited amounts. I tried this for two weeks and lost 5 pounds but have also lost 5 pounds in the same period of time on Weight Watchers and on Timothy Ferris’ diet which restricts your food for 6 days a week and allows you to fill your boots with whatever you want on the 7th day to prevent your body going into starvation mode.

The value of this diet is not that you lose more weight than on other diets, if you stick to them, but that this diet is easier to stick, as you are only severely restricted for 2 days a week and you can choose your days. On the two restricted days, the dieter consumes a weight loss regimen of calories, then on the other 5 days, the calorie level is increased to near maintenance level. Thus, you are counting on the two days for your weight loss and the rest of the week to maintain it.

The authors have worked for many years with women who have breast cancer or are at high risk for breast cancer. Too much weight is a significant risk factor for breast cancer and the authors developed this diet to deal with the intractable problem of overweight and the difficulty of losing weight and maintaining weight loss.

The authors state that on average, their clients following this regimen lose 17 pounds (7.71 kilos) if they stick to the for 6 months, that is 2.8 pounds (1.7 kilos)  per month, while the individual who sticks a 7 day diet for 6 months loses 14 pounds(6.4 kilos). They also claim that the 2 day dieter loses more fat (rather than muscle) than a 7 day dieter.

This is no miracle diet, but it may be easier to follow for some people. There is quite a lot of reading and many charts to absorb from the book before and during the diet – a fact that makes some people’s eyes glaze over – but once launched, it should work as well as other healthy diets. The book also has some excellent and easily made recipes for both restricted and non restricted days

The 2 Day Diet is published by Three Rivers Press