Sunday, August 28, 2011

The 17 Day Diet

MORENO, MIKE. The 17 Day Diet. New York: Free Press, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-4516-4865-2. Pp. 243. $25.00.

Call me naive, but when I read a book about a diet called The 17 Day Diet, I expect the diet to last 17 days. That's not so naive, you say? Well, then, we've all been duped. Because this diet lasts 17 days. Plus another 17. And another. And then for all eternity. Next week I will be reviewing Gary Chapman's The 5 Love Languages. I expect there are, in fact, nineteen, but we'll have to wait and see.

Unlike my experiment on the Dukan diet, I decided not to adhere to Dr. Mike Moreno's prescribed regime. First, because it seems like a bad idea to go on two different diets so close together; secondly because I don't need to go on another diet...yet. And lastly, I just don't trust any man over the age of forty who gels his hair.* Instead, I just enjoyed this read like I would any bestseller, that is, with the dust jacket removed and surreptitiously held under the table when in a public place.

The 17 day diet is less well-defined than the Dukan diet, whose guidelines are rigid and relentless. Dr. Moreno is much more laid back. What he calls a diet is really more like common sense. No, one should not eat fast/junk food. Yes, one should eat lots of fruits and vegetables and lean protein. No, one should not eat until one's stomach explodes à la Monty Python, leaving one's rib cage and pounding heart exposed. Yes, one should exercise. Yes, one should stay hydrated. Yes, one should limit one's alcohol intake to one drink a day (although what would be the point, eh?).

There are some commendable qualities here that I found lacking in the Dukan Diet, namely the citation of various scientific research papers. My one complaint is that Moreno doesn't actually say what the statistical findings are, only that most subjects felt better/worse after they did/did not do something. I could have used a little more raw data.

I remember believing that Pierre Dukan was overly blunt about his overweight readers and assumed this was just the French way, given that obesity in France is fairly new and alarming and probably thanks to the importation of American fast-food chains. It turns out that Dr. Mike Moreno is also a bit rude. But it's fun to read a book for overweight women that was written by a fit and sexist man. Here are two of my favorite quotes and then let's call it a day.

"Women, I'm sure you're happy and well-adjusted...until a few days before your period, when you turn into Attila the Hun and snap at everyone for no apparent reason. Your family and friends avoid you. And who would blame them? Next comes the physical stuff, like your body being so bloated that it should be listed on MapQuest."

"Are you newly married? Some newlyweds are surprised to find out that not only do their new husbands own Bart Simpson bubble bath, but also that they love junk food, and lots of it. Ice cream. Potato chips. Foods that you may have forgot existed, because as a single gal, you often subsisted on the four basic food groups: Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice and Slim-Fast."

Maybe it's the PMS talking, but I would so jam my fist clean through his spiky head.

*I know I've already mentioned this in an earlier post, one which, under the guidance of my writing manager/editor/future wife Iosef Markovitch, I have deleted. Nevertheless, here's the hair I was referring to:

Here's who I thought of when I saw that picture :


  1. I think I've asked you this already, but is there an enormous pile of shitty books growing somewhere in your apartment?

  2. Why yes, yes there is. But I don't discriminate. They go on the shelf with the rest of my books.