So, tomorrows the  BIG DAY  to the start of a smaller you!  For many of you today is the end of unhealthy eating and is the most you’ll ever weigh again.  Sounds good, right? 

I know many of you have started the 17 Day Diet already, some are starting on Monday the 3rd and some are starting tomorrow.  Where ever you are in the program I’m hoping the next 17 days you’ll commit or recommit to coming by here at least once a day to either get or offer support.

If you haven’t done it already (broken record here) it’s a great time to take your BEFORE PHOTOS. Front, back, right side, left side.  Wear something as “revealing” as possible.  Maybe the bikini that’s been in the drawer since grade school!  I know it’s painful.  I had to do mine and send them to a television show – so believe me, I KNOW. But, I was appreciative after I took the second set and could see improvements.

The holidays can be rough but do me a favor:  Don’t beat yourself up and stress over trying to avoid indulgences.  As previously discussed, whether the holidays, an anniversary weekend, a birthday party or your vacations…decide HOW to indulge. Have a plan going in.

Once you’ve lost the weight you can have it all – you just can’t have it all at once!  Maybe one day you’ll have a piece of pie. (Not an entire pie, please) The next day, bread with dinner (Not the entire basket, please) LOSING the weight is only temporary.  Will you be able to eat the way you always have?  Well, not if you want to keep the weight off…but, there is a happy medium.

Tonight I’m having red meat.  Something I haven’t had in, months!  (Okay, I guess it’s only been weeks but it feels like MONTHS)  I’m not eating a side of beef but I am having a small steak.  It’s my New Years dinner.  Then tomorrow, back to the program. 

Have you started your collage?  If not it’s a great time to start. Whether you’re 19 or 90, male or female, this is a tool that works and it works for a reason – especially if you’re a “visual” person.  It will keep you focused on the positive and allow you to look back on your discoveries, accomplishments and breakthroughs. (It will also keep your hands busy – you can’t “collage” with greasy hands) It can be a self portrait and I think it would be good to include your photo at least once every 17 days!  Especially for those who are completing more than one Cycle.

You might even take a journal and complete a page a day.  You don’t have time?  Well, think of all that time you’ll have not spent thinking about and eating food?!?!?  And, if you are thinking about food, COLLAGE it instead of eating it!

 Remember we need tools to help us maintain the weight loss, right?  Read the previous blog post on “Foundation for Recovery” if you need more information.  The answers to some of the questions below should be part of your collage!


Why do you overeat?

What are you going to do instead of eat?

How do you think your life would be different if you lost weight?  What would it look like?

What would you look like?

What’s been holding you back?

How did you get in the shape you’re in?

How does your environment reflect you?

Don’t know where to start?  Take a snapshot of your life today.  In may be a photo or journal entry or cutouts from magazines.  What are the uncensored details? 

I don’t know about you but I really struggle with photos.  I find I’m hiding because I don’t like what I see.  I’m going to try to change this – along with a lot of other things in the upcoming year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  And here’s to starting the journey to a HAPPIER NEW YOU!


26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bethany
    Dec 31, 2010 @ 23:03:45

    Happy New Year! I will be starting the 2nd cycle on Tuesday. I’m ready to do something a little different, even though I’m actually getting used to and enjoying all the fresh vegetables and fruits. I’ll be glad to add some some different proteins. I really dreaded tonight…the New Years Eve party. All the food and temptations I’ve done so well to stay away from. Although I did kinda flub up tonight, I did do it with restraint…if that makes any sense. I had a few crackers and a little bit of a cheese ball, but I DID stick with only water to drink.
    I did get my before pictures at the start of this and plan on starting my collage tomorrow. Good luck to you all and here’s to a new US in 2011!


  2. Sherri
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 06:13:00

    It makes perfect sense Bethany. I have not officially started yet but I knew I did not want to make it any worse before I started. We went to a party and we always eat dinner together and I gravitated to the fruit and veggies instead of all the high fat snacks. That alone was a big step for me. I know this is something I can do. Here’s to a fresh start and a new year!


  3. Granny G
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 08:06:16

    Starting tomorrow. I am so ready and already have a few days meals planned out. We have always walked but during the holidays, it goes by the wayside. Cannot remember when I have been so excited to start a diet. Guess my body is begging! Happy New Year to all and here is too a slimmer US!


  4. Debbie Ponz
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 09:32:06

    Weighed in this morning even though I didn’t want to because I had a few things new years eve that wasn’t on the cycle 1 list. Well everything I ate yesterday wasn’t on the cycle 1 list except for the yogurt I had in the morning. Anyway I stayed the same weight wise. I weigh on my wii and I decided to check where I was Dec 1st. I was surprised I lost 9 pounds the month of December. Never in my life have I lost weight over the holiday season. I am on day 16 cycle 1. I have lost just over 5 pounds since I have been on the diet and I am already down a jean size from 18 to easy getting into size 16.

    I wanted to start my collage but I am having a problem coming up with what to put on it. I can put photos of bathing suits and cruise ships and that would be great but the main reason I started the diet was to feel better and that is hard to find photos of. Instead I think I am going to put my before photos on it and journal because right now the photos in the mags. don’t seem real to me. They are someone else enjoying life I am going to put photos of me enjoying life day by day. Maybe take a photo of a great meal I planned or the wii when it says down 10 pounds maybe a graph of my weight loss. Any other ideas?


    • Georgia Girl Cindy
      Jan 01, 2011 @ 18:10:02

      Hi Debbie! I have some ideas for your collage…you could cut out a cute red heart and kinda put pulse beats around it…showing a healthy heart. You could also schedule your physical for 2011 and post that date on the sheet…knowing that your doctor is going to be so excited with your weight loss…you can go towards this kinda route…I, like you, don’t get into the pictures in magazines really…make it personal to you. Hope this helps. Good luck friend!


  5. Katie
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 10:54:13

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!! This is going to be our year!! I have been working on that last 20 pounds for 20 years! Only now it is 44 pounds!

    I totally blew it last night. TACOS! and I felt guilty with each bite. But I have been doing really good and that was my Happy New Year dinner. Interesting how celebrations and food always seem to go together.

    Bethany, YEA! I can’t wait until I’m on phase two, I ordered some shrimp from Schwans in preparation! Good Luck at the Party, have fun! Holidays are difficult, but you will do great.

    Oh and Debbie, Thank you so much for your suggestion with the collage. I was struggling also making mine personal to me with other images. I am going to use your idea too, just have to find pictures of me! I’m the girl that is always taking the pictures because honestly, I HATE when I see myself in pictures. I’m like REALLY???? That is what I REALLY look like?? That will be nice, to actually be OK to be in pictures!

    Good luck to all starting tomorrow! Oh and I saw that The 17 Day Diet is on Dr. Phil on wednesday.

    Katie B. (thought I would add the B as there is other Katie’s here too 🙂


  6. Mysti
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 11:13:24

    Hi everyone! I’ve been reading this forum for a couple of days. I saw the 17 Day Diet on Dr. Phil and ordered the book and CD. They arived last week. My 25 yr old daughter and I are starting today. We weighed in this am and will take pictures this afternoon. (She is still recovering from last night – lol!) I’m really excited to get going. I tried the 17 minute total body work out the other day – man it was a little tough!

    Here are my stats
    45 yr old/ 200 current / 180 1st goal


  7. Tina
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 12:46:32

    Happy New Year! Today is day 3 for me and I am determined to stay on plan. I’m a little hungrier today but I did my Cathe Friedrich HIIT workout so I’m sure that’ why. I know we’re supposed to not do a really tough workout on the 1st cycle but that is mainly all I have. I just find the treadmill so boring. I’ve been doing advanced workouts for the last 2 yrs and really haven’t dropped the weight like I should have (i ate tooooo much SUGAR). Yes, I’m a CHOCAHOLIC!!!! I LOVE THE STUFF!! this is a little difficult for me, i am so used to snacking, especially when my 2 1/2 yr old asks for Cheez Its and candy. But I want to feel good, look good and be proud of my 43 year old body!! I’m proactive about taking good care of my skin (anti-wrinkle stuff), now its time to be proactive about my body!!

    Good luck everyone, WE can do it!!!!


  8. Christina
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 14:28:24

    Hi everyone!
    Looking forward to starting this diet…. although I’m still waiting for my book to arrive – apparently it was shipped on the 28th… so not sure when it will arrive!

    I am a mom of two little kids (a 4 year old and a soon to be 2 year old) and have had trouble dropping the baby weight both times…) so now I’ve decided that 2011 is the year for some “me” time!!

    I was hoping to start this diet tomorrow and was just going to go with the type of meals I saw laid out on the Dr. Phil show…
    Fritatta in the am with fruit, a big salad for lunch with some protein and then a protein, veggies and a bit of grain for dinner… then some probiotic yogurt for a night time snack… am I missing anything? and can someone tell me can you have cottage cheese for a protein instead of egg whites in the am??

    Any prebook arrival help you can give me will be much appreciated.
    Thanks and look forward to seeing everyone’s progress!


    • Debbie Ponz
      Jan 02, 2011 @ 10:36:10

      Hi Christina, You can have cottage cheese as one of your 2 probiotic choices, 1/2 cup of Breakstone LiveActive. I can’t find it anywhere here in my area so I had regular lowfat cottage cheese and I take probiotic pills. Remember you need 2 fruits and 2 probiotic choices a day along with your protein and veggies.


  9. sasha
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 15:52:27

    I started the 17 DD before the holidays and lost 11.5lbs! and felt AMAZING then I decided to give myself “free days” BIG mistake for me I ended up gaining 2.5lbs back and do NOT feel as good as I was….hopped right back on track today starting to feel a lil better…the weight i lost before Christmas eve came off SO fast that I am bound and determined to keep on board with no “free”days anymore….I will have a much better thought out plan for the next events that come up…for example my son has a b-day in Jan and my daughter in Feb my plan is to eat a healthy meal right before the party and I will allow myself 1 piece of cake to celebrate with them then that is it . I have also decided to add 4 more days onto cycle 1 because thats how many days I went WAY off track.

    Thank you for this blog and facebook pg. (also all of those who are sharing their experiences) this is all huge motivation for me 🙂


  10. Terri
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 16:00:19

    Debbie! I’m so happy for you! Congratulations! You could put photos of clothing you’d like to wear, words cut out of magazines, places to go, things to do, people to see.

    Last night was a disaster for me (thanks to my loving husband who came home with Kahlua AND Twix AND dark chocolate AND pizza (okay, I didn’t have pizza) but seriously….we need to have a LONG TALK today.

    I LOVE CHEEZ ITS (just thought I’d throw that in)

    Tina, I know what you mean. My mother is always wanting me to go to swimming class with her. Swimming is great exercise but just not enough for me. I “dance” on the treadmill. I look ridiculous I know….I just don’t look behind me at the people most likely laughing! If I just walk on the treadmill I can barely do 20 minutes but if I DANCE on the treadmill (because I love to dance and never get to do it anymore!) I can go twice as long if I just pretend I’m in a club dancing. I’ve ignored people looking at me for countless other reasons (I did stand up comedy) so I just block them out and go for it. My husband usually takes a treadmill further away! LOL

    YES, Tina. DO IT NOW. Don’t waste time. At 40 I looked terrific. In fact the photo on the other page in the black dress with me and my dad I was about 43. By 50, menopause, things got out of control. Don’t do what I did…

    I completely relate to your chocolate “issues” and still haven’t completely figured it out. So far today I’ve been perfect but the day is young (4PM) and the hunger is starting. I could go all day, until 7PM without food and then once I start I can’t stop.

    Katie, I blew it too last night – but that was last night. Let’s forget it and move on okay? I literally BINGED last night.

    Sherri and Bethany you are both inspirations! Good job both of you! Bethany, you are amazing!

    Granny G, I’m glad you are feeling so positive. There will be hard days but on those days come here, read the successes and hopefully you’ll be inspired. Also, work on your collage before you stick your hand in the kitchen! That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to set up a COLLAGE AREA and go there when I’m feeling “weak”.


  11. Beth
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 16:03:01

    Happy New Year! We are starting tomorrow and believe we are all actually looking forward to it. I love the idea of the collage as I am big into visualization and using it to reach goals. I think mine will focus on overall wellness and lifestyle. I have big dreams for this new year and look forward to getting to know everyone!


  12. tksinclair
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 16:08:17

    Sasha, that’s great! Listen, in life you’re going to have “free days” – you need to allow for it. Hopefully this is your new way of LIFE. Not just a diet. Most days ON track…a few days, special occasions, OFF…then, right back on. That’s the key. Whether you’re right back on Cycle 1, 2 or 3…get right back on.

    RE: COLLAGE AND PHOTOS. Here’s what I’ve noticed….in the past few years, since I’ve gained weight, I don’t have my photo taken. I hate it. Yet I started thinking, what about my kids? Almost 10 years and no photos of mom. I love photos of my mother and grandmothers but because I hate the way I look, no photos of me.

    I think it would be a great idea to take a photo a week for a year. Or at least once a month. OR EVERYDAY for a year! It would be an interesting life project. I wonder if that in itself would be motivating? Use photos in your collages. Photos of your kids, of you, of LIFE, of the beach, of the sun, of anything and everything you’ve been missing and want to enjoy. Things you’ve been left out of, or have left yourself out of, that you don’t want to miss anymore!


  13. Mary
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 17:05:13

    I started this diet on December 27. On December 31 I am down 9 pounds. This is easy to follow. I am not hungry and every day I get on the scale, I am down weight. I was 285 pounds when I started. I was sad that I weighed this much and couldn’t believe that I let my weight get this bad. I am 276 now and feel great. I am going to do this for me. This is not a New Year’s Resolution, but a contract with myself to change for the good.


  14. Diana
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 21:21:37

    Hi everyone, Today was Day 1……and it was totally clean. I was a little hungry a little while ago, so I ate some sliced turkey and a red bell pepper. I love red bell peppers….to me they are like fruit.

    I exercised 30 minutes at the gym today, and am committing to 30 minutes aerobics at the gym tomorrow. I feel so good that I have had a clean day. I live in So Calif and do not know where to get Breakstone LiveAction Cottage cheese. I have never heard of it before. Does anyone where it can be found? Looking forward to Day 2 and my journey with you all. Have a good night.


  15. Sue
    Jan 02, 2011 @ 06:17:57

    Okay, I did it. I got on the scales (what a shock) and had my husband take my before pictures and actually told him my weight. Today is the first day of the rest of my life and from what I see it is going to be amazing and I am a lot smaller (in size only) person. Good luck to all of us on this magnificent journey we are on.


  16. RunMomRun
    Jan 02, 2011 @ 08:25:58

    OK I am here to admit that I only “practiced” the plan last week and totally BLEW it on New Year’s Eve. I decided that I was not in the right frame of mind and that I needed a fresh start. So yesterday, I took the day off food wise but still watched it although I ate more carbs and some chips, etc and re-read the Phase I part of the book, loaded up on the healthy foods, and got my mind wrapped around starting today. Sunday, Jan. 2nd will be my REAL start date. I did gain back a bit of the weight I had lost last week and I am sure quite a bit is water weight. What I am most proud of from yesterday are a few things that I did:
    1. My friend called that I run with and wanted to go shopping for new running clothes to start our 1/2 marathon training adventure. This was my husband’s Christmas gift to me. She and I shopped and I got several needed pieces and it was motivating!
    2. Although we didn’t buy other clothes, we did “window shop”. I saw aloto of outfits, and styles that I want to integrate into my wardrobe/lifestyle once I get to my goal. This gave me a visual motivation. I can’t wait to buy those jeans and that sexy top and clunky jewelry-lol.
    3. When I got home from shopping, I went to the gym with my 16 year old son. Just he and I were there which was so much fun. I did abs, challenged him to a plank contest (he won!), did 10 minutes on the stair stepper, did weighted lunges, he helped me with the incline chest press, and weighted squats.
    4. I decided to make this the year that I invested more time in ME. I have active teenagers, a husband, a job, and a house and I often neglect me. I had 2 very sick parents that I cared for and lost my Mom 2-1/2 years ago and my Dad 6 months ago. I was extremely close to them and this has been devastating to me. It is time to invest some time in myself but I don’t want to take away from my nurturing of my family, etc and I don’t want to be selfish. I have to do it in a frugally minded way also. So I just decided to do some mini-spa/every day maintainence and care of self at home. It might sound silly to others but to me it was refreshing. Last night I pumiced my feet and applied thick lotion and socks, took a bubble bath and did a great close shave and followed up with wonderful body butter lotion, I did a facial scrub and moisturizing night cream, I tweezed. It was great just to spend some unhurried concentrated time on myself.
    So Today is Day #1:
    Age: 43 (for a bit longer).
    Weight was up a bit. current stats: 158(high-starting)/157.1(current)/140(first goal).
    Breakfast: first cup of warm lemon water, 2 cups of coffee with skim, egg whites with warmed salsa, 1/2 grapefruit with Truvia.
    Getting ready soon to have my first yogurt of the day.
    Exercise plan for today: Walk (as tomorrow is run day), lift weights at gym.


  17. Bethany
    Jan 02, 2011 @ 09:03:16

    I am on day 16 of the first cycle and I’m down 12 lbs! I still struggle daily with exercise. I injured my knee on Christmas day while working out with my kids. It’s better than it was, but I still can’t do a lot of walking on it. I hope its better soon. Just to tell you a little about myself… I am 34 years old, live in Oklahoma, I’ve been divorced for 7 years, have 3 kids and my starting weight was 291 (my highest EVER). I am down to 278 and feeling really good about myself.

    My kids’ dad is not involved in their lives and hasn’t been since he left 8 years ago. I’ve done what I can as a single mother. My dad helped me out with my boys as best as he could, but unfortunately I lost him to a brain tumor in Aug of ’09. My Mother followed shortly after, 5 months to be exact, when she mysteriously came down with Meningitis. Both of my parents were only 56. The only other family I had left, my brother, took a promotion and moved away to Pennsylvania a week after mom’s funeral. I was completely alone then. I had no one but my kids. I’m all they have too! So, after gaining another 30 lbs last year, I finally decided it was time to change ME! I want to be here for my kids and the only one who can do it is ME! I’m wanting to get myself in shape and feel better about myself and hopefully begin dating. I’ve got a long road ahead of me, and the road trip has begun. I’m glad I’ve got everyone here for support, because I NEED it to keep going.


  18. Katie
    Jan 02, 2011 @ 11:15:34

    Good afternoon!!!!

    Sue, good job with getting those pictures. I will get mine this week, promise.

    And wow, looks like were all loosing!!!!!! 9 pounds, 12 pounds! Fantastic!!!!!

    I weighed this morning. I’m on day 7. Started at 189.6, was 185.0 YES!!!! I’ll be glad to add some more different foods, but I feel very positive and do NOT want to cheat!!!!

    Bethany, your story was touching to me. Your a very brave woman and deserve nothing but wonderful things. I’m sorry that you have had to go through so much. But your right, it is time to take care of you!

    I like Runmon’s idea of the mini spa’s. I think we should all do that! When I go shopping tomorrow I think I’ll buy something. Humm new face mask? Bubble bath? Mmmm and new lotion. Years ago my hubby always knew if I had had a bad day. I would go to the store and buy a new Jammie and bubble bath and they all knew to give mom some space (stay at home mom to 3 boys, now grown).

    Hope everyone has a wonderful healthy day. I just had a visit from my youngest son and youngest granddaughter. Now that makes my day! I love you from that precious little girl makes me just feel good!

    Going to fry up some lean ground turkey and make the turkey taco salad that is in the book.

    Oh and i was thinking? Next week I’m going to make a lean turkey loaf and instead of mashed potatoes, I’ll do the mock ones with cauliflower, Love them!!!!!

    Katie B.


  19. Christina
    Jan 02, 2011 @ 11:24:22

    Debbie! thanks for the response! I’ll be sure to add in the two fruits adn two probiotics – I’m in Canada and we don’t have that brand of cottage cheese – but I do also have some probiotic pills and a good plain probiotic yogurt! so that should help – plus I love cottage cheese so that will be easy to do! I wish my book would arrive!

    Hope everyone is doing well and I look forward to having the same success!!


  20. Susan
    Jan 02, 2011 @ 12:22:55

    Hi all. Just found this site! Am anxiously awaiting my copy of the book and can’t wait to get started! I’m Susan and I have well over 100 lbs to lose. I have NO idea how I ended up this way. I too was a personal trainer right out of high school. Bad eating habits took over and POW! 30 years go by and well, the rest is just bad history. I really want to do this not only for myself, but for my daughters. I have 2 girls still at home (the boys have flown the coop) and I want to give them the foundation of good healthy eating. One daughter is a size zero (is that really possible?) and the other is still in little girls clothing. I’m looking forward to the support that this site looks to be giving. I’m hitting the gym in awhile, I just have to start somewhere! I’ve found out (just last night) that a cousin of mine is losing toes tomorrow due to diabetes and another cousin (other side of the family) is in very serious condition because of the same disease. I didn’t even know diabetes ran on BOTH sides of my family. So since I have that info, I’m more determined than ever to fight this and not let it have the hold over me that it’s had for years. To Terri: Thank you for getting back to me so quickly and for setting up this site! It’s wonderful. I look forward to getting to “know” some of you and to the life changing journey that’s ahead! HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone. Susan


  21. Cindy
    Jan 02, 2011 @ 13:11:36

    Got my book right before Christmas but I knew better than to start before the holidays were over, so I started today. I had lost over 60 pounds some years back on Atkins but a year ago family problems and depression quickly put the weight back on. It was getting to the point when I bent over I could not breath, so after seeing this diet on both “The Doctor’s” and “Dr. OZ” I decided to pick myself up and get off the couch and start feeling better.
    I do have one question. I have a cup of coffee in the morning with non dairy cream and sweet and low, what can I use in my coffee that will not wreck the diet?


  22. Jenna
    Jan 02, 2011 @ 14:20:04

    Happy New Year! Its the year to get back on track. I started the diet yesterday January 1st. Weight 145.0 Goa 115.0. My aunt took my before pictures which felt really awkward but she is doing this with me. Its going pretty well. I had a hard time getting my glass of lemon water down, it really burned my throat so today I just drank it all at once and got the pain over fast. I am struggling to get my 64 oz of water down today. Yesterday, all I did was pee all day long. I was a little hungry but dealth with it by eating an apple and drinking more water. Today I just got back from the movies, and to avoid the temptation of popcorn I ate a salad with cucumbers, red peppers, mushrooms and a few pieces of chicken breasts left over from last nights dinner that I couldnt finish. I snacked on some apple slices at the theatre while everyone else was crunching on popcorn. I am getting ready to make dinner (baked tilapia with lemon and broccoli and cauliflower). Sounds good cant wait to eat it. Back to work tomorrow , I hope I can stay on track.


  23. merideth
    Jan 02, 2011 @ 14:33:07

    bethany! wow. i am so sorry you lost your parents (and your brother, a little bit). seems to me you have the right motivation – i know you will succeed!

    i have a question (ordered my book today): it seems yogurt is pretty important to this thing. i haven’t tasted yogurt in 30 years, b/c i *hated* it! i mean, the taste and the feel on my teeth? actually made me angry. tomorrow i will go to the grocery store and look for some probiotic, no sugar, no fat yogurt and taste it . . . but what if i still hate it? (feeling very nervous now)


  24. Sherri
    Jan 03, 2011 @ 02:25:05

    I found the Breakstone LiveActive at Meijer if you live in the IN, MI, OH IL KY areas where they are located. I only saw the 4 pack in it though.


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