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The Two-Day-A-Week Diet

Can you really diet only 2 days a week and lose weight?I’m always skeptical when I hear something that says you can get better results with less effort.

It is usually just a fad, or there is “hidden effort” somewhere…

So when I came across a British study finding women who dieted only two days a week lost almost twice as much body fat as those dieting seven days a week, I shook my head.1

After all, if you’re dieting seven days a week, it makes sense that you’d lose more than you would if dieting only two, right?

Study Says Dieting Two Days is Better Than Seven Days a Week

Researchers followed 115 women for four months. For the first phase, the women were divided into three groups:

Group #1 was put on a low-calorie, Mediterranean-type diet, eating 1,500 calories a day.

Group #2 was put on the same Mediterranean-type diet, but with no calorie restrictions for five days a week. During the other two days they were told to keep carbs under 40 grams and calories to about 600.

Group #3 had the same rules as Group #2 (two days of carbs under 40 grams) but no calorie restrictions for all seven days.

Less than 1/3rd The Dieting Leads to Twice the Fat Loss…

At the end of three months, all three groups lost the same amount of weight … up to 11 pounds. But Groups #2 and #3 (the groups who only dieted for two days) lost twice as much body fat —over 8 pounds compared to only 4 for Group #1.

That means that Group #1 lost more lean muscle, not a good thing. Lean muscle not only makes you stronger and more toned, but also torches more calories 24/7. Yes, even when you’re not at the gym.

What’s more, the women in the second two groups also showed improvements in their insulin sensitivity, a possible reason for their fat-busting success.

What I find most interesting is that Groups #2 and #3 lost the same amount of fat, despite the fact that Group #3 was not subject to calorie restrictions on their low carbohydrate days… (remember Group #2 could only eat 600 calories on their low carbohydrate days).

In fact, Group #3 was not subject to any calorie restriction… at all. They simply ate low carb for two days out of the week.

But Could They Maintain These Fat Loss Results?

Maintaining your weight loss is just as important as losing it in the first placeDuring the fourth month, all the women followed the same diet plans as before. With one change: The two low-carb groups cut carbs only one day a week instead of the two they had before.

That was enough for all the groups to not only prevent weight regain, but also for the second two groups to maintain their improved insulin sensitivity.

Not a bad maintenance plan!

Can You Lose Fat Going Low Carb Twice a Week?

Would you like to try Group #3′s plan and lose fat by going low carb for only two days a week?

If so, we are going to give you some help below. And I would love it if you would email me your results or post your results in the comments box.

The idea is that you follow the Mediterranean diet or our Fast Start Program (they are very similar except that on the Mediterranean diet you would not have a “cheat day”) five days a week, and then for two days a week you will eat fewer than 40 grams of carbohydrates a day.

Just to be clear, if you use our Fast Start Program for this program… You do NOT get to have a cheat day!

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

Find out if eating low carb diet twice a week will shave off some weight.So you know what you are getting to, it may help if you understand the plan you would be following for five days a week.

A Mediterranean-type diet plan, which all the women were told to follow, is a heart-healthy plan that focuses on fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grain cereals, olive oil, fish, and seafood.

It stresses a moderate intake of dairy products, poultry, eggs, and lean red meat and processed meat. Remember, Groups #2 and #3 followed this diet plan—with plenty of carbs—five days a week.

For your low-carb days … you will follow this plan but limit your carbohydrates to 40 grams.

To give you an idea of how the Group #3 women ate on their carb-restricted days, here’s a sample menu plan that provides about 40 grams of carbs:

Breakfast

3 egg white omelet
1/2 cup cooked mushrooms
3 avocado slices
1/2 cup cottage cheese

Lunch

Turkey Salad

Mixed greens
2 ounces feta cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil and vinegar dressing
4 ounces turkey breast

1 cup low-fat navy bean soup

Afternoon Snack

Nutty Vanilla Smoothie

Vanilla RealMeal GF™ (1/2 serving or 1 scoop)
1 tablespoon almond butter
4 ice cubes

1 cup celery sticks
1 tablespoon cream cheese

Dinner

6 ounces salmon
1/2 cup cooked cauliflower
1/2 cup steamed carrots with basil and black olives

Mixed green salad
1 tablespoon olive oil and vinegar dressing

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Not hard to follow two days a week!

Again, I would love to know if you are going to give this a try. I am very interested
in your results. Please email us if you want any support and I would love to hear what you think in the comment box below.


Steven Sisskind, M.D.

1. Harvie M, Wright C, Pegington M, et al. The effect of intermittent energy and carbohydrate restriction v. daily energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers in overweight women. Br J Nutr. 2013 Apr 16:1-14. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 23591120.



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Comments

  1. I would like to try it, but I have a diary problem, could I substitute silk milk almond milk, or kefer milk instead of what you suggested? Your always giving us good ideas. Thank you. Shalom, Esther

    • Hi Esther,

      Thank you for sharing your concerns with us! Yes, you can substitute full fat milk with either coconut or almond milk. They work well when used in smoothies and in certain recipes meant for every day cooking. Kefir Milk is fine if you can find a really good quality brand in your area. Just be sure to watch your portions as thy still have a good amount of fat in them. I hope this helps! Have a healthy day!

    • Vicki says:

      Hi! I am going to try this and I will keep in touch and let you know how its going :)

  2. Richa says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for writing a succint and crisp summary of this plan. Most health professionals keep on going for ages before they come to the point!!
    I am, like you, skeptical if this would actually work (we dont know the specifics of the sample group and there was no control group either). That being said, i would definitely like to give it a shot but i am a Vegetarian (I do eat free range farm eggs). What alternatives can you suggest for me to keep my carbs low? Even lentils and beans (of which i eat plenty) seem to have carbs in them:(
    please guide
    Thank you
    Richa

    • Hi Richa,

      Thank you for sharing your concerns with us! The best to way to avoid carbs is to substitute the with fresh vegetables whenever possible. You can add more salad greens or cruciforms (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts) in your diet as well as cut back on your lentils and beans. One cannot completely avoid carbohydrates in any form, but you can take an active role in making sure you do not consume too much. Try stocking your refrigerator with plenty of organic fresh produce so that lentils, beans, potatoes and other starchy vegetables become a last resort. I hope this helps! have a healthy day!

  3. Virginia says:

    This sounds interesting and probably doable, even on a low income. As long as I am not eating high cost meat 5 days per week or more (like fish), I think I can follow this plan.

    The last thing I want to do is loose muscle.

    So, where do I start?

    • Hi Virginia,

      Thank you for sharing your concern with us! You can easily tailor fit your diet according to your budget and still have it meet your needs. The Mediterranean Diet is one of those food or eating plans that is flexible and quite easy to follow. You can do a quick research online to get an idea of the diet. A little more broader research and you will be able to stumble upon menus and complete eating plans based on the Mediterranean diet. I hope you find them soon and begin your weight loss journey! Make it a healthy day!

  4. Michele says:

    What is your fast start diet?

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thank you for your interest in the Fat Loss Fast Start Program! The “Fat Loss Fast Start Program” is included FREE of charge with your purchase of RealDose Weight Loss Formula No.1. The program goes into great detail on leading edge information on diet, exercise and stress reduction techniques that will help you stay fit, trim and healthy for a lifetime.By using RealDose Weight Loss Formula and incorporating the changes we have described in the program, you will be on your way to achieving your weight loss goals. Make it a healthy day!

  5. kelly says:

    On this new plan do you do 5 days and then 2 consecutive days or are the 2 days split, like Tuesday, Thursday

    • Hi Kelly,

      Thank you for sending in your question! Yes, on the “Two Day A Week Diet” you want to cut back on your calorie and carbohydrate intake for two consecutive days. Remember, that if you choose the Fast Start Program, you do not get to have a cheat day. Good luck and let me know of your results! Make it a healthy day!

  6. Alexandria Swanson says:

    This sounds interesting to me. I am 59 and I am going to give this a try, It would be helpful to have a couple of good 40 gram day meals. Also where can I get a bit more information about the Mediterranean-type diet.

    Thanks for your help.

    Alex

  7. gigi says:

    I am one of your Formula #1 users. I love the idea of 2 day a week diet….and would be willing to try but I am always turned off when I see “egg whites” suggested instead of whole eggs. I think whole eggs are the perfect food. Also you mention that kefir may contain too much fat. If I limit carbs to less than 40 on the diet days – and I eat a healthy diet on the other non restrictive days do I have to be that careful???

    BTW – I usually eat my salads with just a splash of balsamic vinegar – no oil – so it is not that I am overloading on fats.

    • Hi Gigi,

      Thank you for sharing your concerns with us! First of all, I am terribly sorry for the confusion, but we love our eggs! In fact, you can have one whole egg per day, just as long as you keep the yolks whole while cooking. Poached or hard boiled eggs are perfectly alright. You see, broken yolks, like those in scrambled eggs tend to oxidize the moment heat is applied. The cooked yolk then produces toxic cholesterol by-products that are far more dangerous than cholesterol itself. There are plenty of ways to put twists into boring egg whites. You can try sprinkling a few herbs (your choice) to give it a savory flavor or add in a few chopped vegetables to make a frittata.

      Second, you do not have to be so strict on your “non-diet” days but keeping a tight rein on your fat consumption will increase your weight loss progress considerably. And, there are plenty of healthy fats which you can use “guilt free”. Good quality Olive oils are a staple in my home. I usually keep a bottle of extra virgin for salads and a light one for cooking. Other healthy oils are your safflower, canola and peanut oil. The last one’s actually more suited to high heat cooking rather than its flavor.

      I hope this helps! Make it a healthy day!

  8. Sonja says:

    Hi;
    I have a few health issues…IBS, hypo-glocimia, celiac and insomnia. So, I tend to eat non-processed foods anyway. I’ve also recently had two ab surgeries. I’m 51 yrs, but still a few ponds overweight ( maybe 7-8?) Will this change in diet be enough to kick-start my weight loss? I realise that 7 lbs is not horrible, but when only 5.4, it shows. The lentils and beans are a concern for the IBS. Other than more veggies, how can I incorporate some non-processed carbs? That is the celiac problem. Adding nuts to my diet is also out from the IBS. Very frustrating! I hope you have a couple of ideas?
    Thank You,
    Sonja

    • Hi Sonja,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your health concerns with us! You can never go wrong with a healthy diet even if you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Celiac’s Disease, Hypoglycemia and insomnia. One of the best ways to maintain your blood sugar level and calm your IBS is to get more fruits and vegetables in your stomach. These are packed full of vitamins, enzymes and dietary fiber which can help with some of the symptoms often related to IBS such as bloating, gas, constipation or Diarrhea.

      Snacking on a reasonable amount (about 1 cup) of fruits such as strawberries and blueberries is more than adequate sugar to keep you within normal limits of your blood glucose level. You can try taking a small packet with you when you go to the office to snack on if hunger slowly makes its presence known. How does that sound? As for your Celiac’s disease, generally a gluten free diet is recommended. To get your fill of “good” carbohydrates, I suggest you try Quinoa, Flax and Chia seeds. The last two are not only gentle on your system but also hold good amounts of Omega 3 in them.

      As for your insomnia, I would first cut back on the caffeine. Tea, coffee and sodas have high caffeine content which could explain your insomnia. Stress and anxiety are also some factors which can deter your ability to get a good night’s rest, and may need to be further evaluated to find a solution. You may want to seek the wisdom of your personal doctor for this.

      I hope this helps, Sonja! Let me know if you have any other concerns! Make it a healthy day!

  9. Ruth says:

    Should the 2 days of low carbs be consecutive, spaced out, or does it matter?

    • Hi Ruth,

      Thank you for sending in your question! If you plan on taking the Mediterranean Diet, then you ought to go on a five day regular diet and then a 2 day (consecutive) decreased intake in terms of carbohydrates and calories. If you plan to follow the Fast Start Program then you just have to get rid of your cheat day. Either way works fine. Good luck on your weight loss journey! Have a healthy day!

  10. Mary says:

    I watch what I eat everyday. Good quality protein, vegetables, few nuts of almonds and pecans, some fruit low in sugar. Good cheese and cottage cheese full fat and plain yogurt full fat. I try not to get more than 12 teaspoons of sugar from food a day. If I go over then next day I make sure I make up for that. I also take Athletic Greens every morning on an empty stomach. I am 5′ 3 1/2 inches and weight 120.

  11. Samdra says:

    This sounds great and will look into both diets, my question is , is there a way this can work for a type 1 diabetic my daughter who is 15 years of age was diagnosed 3 months ago with type 1 diabeties (and possibly a slow thyroid which they will not treat yet and I think is the root of all her problems) she has gained well over 10 kilos in the past 3 months following what the hospital says she should be eating 11 exchanges of starchy carbs per day (165 grams ) she is now looking for any way to drop weight and I want to help her do this safely. please help

    • Hello Samdra,

      As a father of 4, I understand your desire to help your daughter. I must apologize, though, while I am a doctor I am not your daughter’s personal physician. I would recommend seeking counsel from your local doctor or from a dietician who specializes in children to get answers for what diet would be best for your daughter. I wish you both the very best in health.

  12. Marc says:

    Hi Steven

    Many thanks for the report whch is very encouraging and brings back some hope in weight loss management. I have tried several diet based plans over time and have always felt frustrated and ended up putting back the weight if not adding more each time. I will give this one a try and report back in due course.

    Marc

    • Hi Marc,

      Thank you for your feedback! Yes, I would very much like to know how this works out for you. Couple that with RealDose Weight Loss Formula NO.1 and you should be well on your way to getting results. Hope to hear of your progress! Make it a healthy day!

  13. Charles Musser says:

    I just received order of real dose. I tried it several months ago. I have gone from 270 pounds to 218 pounds but now seem to have hit a un- resolvable plateau.
    I work out on a average of 4 times a week ( machines only ) No free weights due to separated and dislocated shoulder. At age 73 ,I restrict upper body weights to 100 pounds and two sets of 25 for each exercise except curls which are at 90 lbs.
    Diet: No white bread, no refined flour or sugar products. No dairy, no potatoes. No artificial sweetners
    Breakfast : Vita Mix Juicer ( Pulp included) 1 carrot, 1 celery, 1/2 cup frozen cranberries, 1,2 cup blueberries, one scoop of non dairy protien,and 1 scoop of physilium.
    or 2 poached eggs with 1/2 cup of raw oats with cup of almond milk
    Lunch: Tuna or salmon lettuce salad with first pressed, cold pressed olive oils and red wine vineger.
    dinner: is usually slice of lean beef or spit roasted chicken ( w skin removed and steamer assorted veggies
    Halibut, sole or toher whitefish added.
    I do drink at least 4 bottles of water dailey No diet drinks I do drink green tea.
    I still have a two hand second level sheath of fat across front of pelvis above pubic area that hangs about 3 inches even though the bellie fat ( love handles) are only about a inch.

    I would appreciate your advice on getting rid of this underlaying level of fat that is below

    thanks
    charles

    • Hi Charles,

      Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with us! Weight Loss plateaus often start to happen after a few months into any diet program. This is a natural progression of your body as it has basically adapted to the changes being made and the physical challenges being applied. You want to make those changes in such a way that it is rapid and yet does not pose an immediate risk to your health.

      Based from the detailed account of your daily activities and diet, I would say that you have done almost everything right. You may need to increase your water intake (about 2 to 3 Liters per day is ideal) as well as incorporate other kinds of vegetables such as cruciforms, whole grains and fruits low in sugar but high in fiber into your diet. Getting your fiber from Psyllium is okay but it basically does not give you much in terms of vitamins and minerals. You need a steady dose of your vitamins in order to help with your metabolism and healing processes in the body. Sleep, or getting adequate amounts of it, can help boost your metabolism and improve your immune response.

      As for your exercise, you already seem to have an active lifestyle, which is why I would recommend you increase the intensity of your regimen instead of changing the entire routine. For example, you can add an incline on your treadmill workout to increase its intensity as well as “shock” the muscles of your body. On the bike, try a more challenging routine by increasing your speed with sudden bursts or adding more resistance while keeping the duration. What is important here is that you shock your muscles from the usual exercise routine. In turn, it will boost your metabolism as healing those aching and stressed muscles will take priority.

      That said, If you have already applied all these changes and suggestions but still fail to lose weight, you could have medication or a medical condition that makes it difficult to get your metabolic rate going. In this case you will want check with your personal doctor.

      I hope this helps, Charles! Make it a healthy day!

  14. m.barry says:

    Rice is high in carbs, is it an OK grain.

    • Hello M. Barry,

      When it comes to carbohydrates, in our Fat Loss Fast Start program, we recommend one serving per day of whole grains/starches. For any grain make sure to choose a whole grain with all the fiber and nutrients intact. Make it a healthy day!

  15. S barfield says:

    I am excited about trying this diet. I have been on one of your other programs and lost 58 pounds but am now at a “stuck point” that I cannot get beyond!! I do have one quick question. I cannot tolerate lentils due to some GI issues. Would substituting soups like split pea or butternut squash work? Or can you suggest an alternate?
    Thanks.

    • Hello Savriella,

      Thank you for reaching out to me with your question about substitutes for lentil soup. Your idea of split pea soup is a good one, as it is very comparable to lentil soup. In a side-by-side nutritional comparison of lentils and split peas as a single ingredient, they are pretty evenly matched with the lentils having a slight edge when it comes to protein grams per a one cup serving (lentils, 18 grams vs split peas 16 grams). Butternut squash just as an ingredient does not have near the fiber or protein content that the lentils and split peas do. However, that does not mean to avoid a soup made with it, because butternut squash is a very good source of vitamin A. You would just need to add a protein source for your meal to make it complete. Healthy day to you!

  16. dorothy oldham says:

    hi. them 2 day diet sounds great. i am going to try it. i have already lost 12 kilos sine starting on formula 1. thank you for all the support you give. one question, how do i make low fat navy bean soup. and is there a substitute for it. thanks again. d.oldham.

  17. Laura Stevenson says:

    I love your description of this diet and will try it asap. One question. My 18-year old grandson has put on a lot of weight and wants to lose it. His mother and other grandmother have raved about their results with this diet plan. But I notice that the research was done using female subjects. So should males expect to get similar results?

    • Hi Laura,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your concerns with us! The Two Day A Week diet should work fine for males and they should get similar if not better results. However, my concern is that your grandson is 18 years old and depending on the amount of physical exertion he does in day, could still need his food. My advice would be to make him eat healthier and not to drastically lower his caloric intake. For example, give him plenty of healthy options and keep the chips and sugary sweets away. Of course, he is always welcome to try the Two Day A Week diet but only after he has consulted his personal doctor or a nutritionist. Hope this helps! Have a healthy day!

  18. Lynn Cassady says:

    I do not eat salmon…so is there a substitute? How about Tuna? Also avacado…is this eaten raw? Otherwise everything else sounds perfect for a 2 day a week die! .

    • Hello Lynn,

      Salmon is recommended for its omega-3 health benefits. If you do not like it other high omega-3 fish would include, sardines, herrring and mackerel. Tuna is fine. Other fish to consider would be pollock, cod, and tilapia. Avocados are eaten raw and can be a wonderful substitute in place of mayo, because of avocados creamy texture.

  19. I read one speak your mind question about Apple Cide Vinegar. What is the receipt for that and, I can’t remember, but is it good burning fat? I am not taking your weight loss program yet.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Aggie,

      Thank you for writing in and for posting your question! Apple Cider Vinegar can help with weight loss as it helps you reduce post-meal blood sugar spikes and improve insulin sensitivity. I recommend up to 2 oz. of raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) per day. You can take it alone, with water, or it’s great to use as a dressing on your salad. Just mix in a little olive oil, ACV, concentrated fruit juice and your favorite herbs and spices.

      You can find some helpful recipes here: http://www.realdose.com/are-you-turning-your-salad-into-junk-food/

      Hope this helps, Aggie! Have a healthy day!

  20. Kris Springer says:

    I have had pancreatitis and have to limit my fat intake to only 50g a day. I have switched to Olive Oil (both the cold and the cooking) for many things, but need to stay away from avocados, nuts, and high fat content cheeses per my Dr. He knows that the Mediterranean Diet has healthier food choices, but I have flare-ups when I eat them. Do you have any suggestions for me?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Kris,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your concerns with us! I am not fairly certain with the kind of Pancreatitis you may have but do know that management of your food is crucial in order to avoid any discomfort. That said, I do advise you to follow your doctor’s prescribed diet plan and to have small frequent meals where possible. Eating small amounts of food intermittently throughout the day will help your body produce the needed enzymes but will not over work your pancreas. Also, I encourage you to drink plenty of water to help with digestion. Hope this helps! Have a healthy day!

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