A healthy lifestyle blog by ACE Certified Group Exercise Trainer.

Why Starvation Diets Don't Work and My Review of the Seven Day Slim Down

I purchased the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan a few months ago and I've been using some of their recipes and tips, but not following it to a T. Then I got this wild hair to try the 7 Day Slim Down (7DSD) that is one of the main components of their nutrition plan. I thought, "Hey, let me give this a go and see what's up!"

I completed only 4 days of the 7 day slim down and then I had to adjust the plan and I will explain why. The premise of the plan is mostly lean protein and dense green veggies, some fruit, and a bit of dairy the first 2 days. No starchy carbs. No bread/cookies/crackers/pasta/potatoes/etc.

Days 1-3 I followed the plan strictly. I felt a bit hungry on days 1-3 but nothing unbearable. On Day 3 I woke up 3 lbs lighter, not bloated at all, flat tummy. It felt amazing! By the end of Day 3 I wanted the yogurt I'd been eating after dinner on days 1 & 2 but didn't cave. I got most of my workouts in on all 3 days.

On day 4, I woke up cranky. Like seriously cranky. And hungry. I followed the plan until dinner but I was craving carbs so insanely bad. I couldn't work out, I felt weak. By 5 pm we decided to go out to dinner and I caved in. I had 5 tortilla chips and ranch dressing on my salad. I had lean pork tenderloin and roasted veggies (not a bad choice!). I went home from dinner feeling guilty for "cheating" but to be honest, my body felt SOOO good. Like heaven. So I thought to myself, "I wonder how many calories this 7DSD comes out to per day???" I googled a few things and found this video.

Needless to say, it peaked my curiosity. Enter Myfitnesspal app. I plugged in everything I ate from day 2. It came out to about 1300 calories. Not bad, considering 1200 is the lowest possible recommended amount. BUT if you calculate the TWO 30 minute Cardio Sessions they recommend, you'd burn around 300 minimum, maybe even more, and be down to 1000 calories. That's called starvation. Not good.

Then I decided to calculate day 6/7 calories (even though I hadn't gotten there yet) just to see... It came out to a whopping 689 calories without exercise. That is not ok. That is not healthy.
Let me explain why this is not good. If you restrict your calories so much you will trick your body into thinking you are starving. Your body is thinking, "What the heck is going on here? I guess I better hold on to every last calorie that makes in this place since it might be my last." That really messes up your metabolism. I am not a dietitian or doctor so I don't know how many days of starving it takes to really take a toll on your body, but I don't want to take that chance. It's not worth it. I can do the cutting starchy processed carbs, maybe even limiting dairy to 1 serving a day, but I do not condone getting less than 1200 net calories a day. That's crazy. Even on the week before you get married or do boudoir photos for your hubby. That's just crazy.

So let me also say that I really like the Tone it Up girls, I'm not downing their programs completely. I really like the workouts, the recipes, the community, etc. I just don't like the 7DSD. I do however think that you can modify it to make it work better for you.

I like the idea of no starchy carbs for a few days, especially if you want to see bloating cut down (before a wedding or big event, photo shoot, etc.). Carbs hold water, so get rid of them and you won't be walking around with as much water weight. I don't think you can live on 1000 or 700 calories per day. But what you can do (and what I did) is: add extra servings of protein and veggies at lunch and dinner, add nuts or beans if you are hungry, add healthy fats like olive oil/avocado, etc. Don't run and grab a bag of chips or fries, but add extra calories via the healthy stuff!

So I won't be doing a 7DSD exactly like the TIU one again, but there are good things that you can take from it and use to your benefit to create a quick pre-event slim down that's safe and healthy and look your best.

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