Should You Try a 4 Day Diet?
When the idea of the 4 day diet was introduced, it made more than a few dieters take notice—most people can follow a diet for just four days, but it is enough to actually lose weight? Here is an overview of the diet and information about who might benefit from this short, intense eating plan.
A Brief Overview and History
There have been several different versions of the 4 day diet over the years, beginning in 1985 with a book by Margaret Danbroke called The 4 Day Wonder Diet. Many additional diet gurus and celebrities have brought this diet back in other forms through the years. Although each diet plan differs slightly, the basic idea is the same: restrict calories to a very low level for four days, combine it with exercise, and you will lose weight.
There are also some diet plans marketed today as 4 day diet plans, but actually consist of several different phases of a diet that are broken up into segments that last four days each. The result is actually 28 days or more of dieting, so marketing it as a short diet can be somewhat misleading in these cases.
What You Eat
There are many different versions of the 4 day diet, and in each different plan, the foods you consume will differ slightly. Generally, though, the eating plan will consist of lean proteins, lots of fruits and vegetables, and very limited amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates (such as bread, pasta, and rice); in some cases the diet will eliminate these things entirely from your diet for four days.
On most 4 day diets, the goal is to get your body to release all the “toxins” that build up in our bodies from day-to-day poor eating habits. To do this, the diet instructs followers to fill their plates with fruits, mainly leafy green and non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins like chicken, turkey, and fish, and perhaps some low-fat or nonfat dairy. Some of the meal plans even restrict the consumption of meat during the diet. Depending on the diet, it may allow for coffee or tea (generally unsweetened), and diet sodas as well. In most cases, though, the diets recommend consumption of only water.
The Benefits of a Short Diet
With so many different diet plans out there to choose from, how can you decide if you should follow a 4 day diet, and how can you determine whether it will work for you? There are actually several benefits to this type of diet.
- Four days is an easy time frame to follow the diet, so there is little risk that you will “slip” or “cheat” while you are on the diet.
- The time frame is short, so you can lose weight at the last minute if you need to drop a few pounds before a big night, whether you want to look good for a class reunion, or you’re just hoping to fit into a cute outfit for a night on the town.
- There are several different 4 day diet options available today, so you can find a menu that suits your personal tastes and preferences.
- Following a short cleanse, also called a “fasting diet” (another version of the 4 day diet plans), is easy to prepare for, and doesn’t require any special recipes or extra prep time for food.
Some Additional Considerations
If you are worried about whether or not this type of diet is safe, it is important to understand some of the potential risks and drawbacks to a 4 day diet. Knowing these things in advance can help you plan for a safe and successful diet if you do decide to go ahead with it.
First, it’s important to understand that the 4 day diet involves significant calorie restrictions, sometimes coupled with exercise. Eating such a small portion of calories every day is not something that should be attempted for long periods of time, as it can be harmful to your health. A person undertaking a 4 day diet involving significant calorie reductions should only plan to be on that diet for a short period of time.
In addition, it may be difficult to maintain the weight loss that you experience beyond the initial diet period, especially if you do not plan to follow up the diet with a healthy, sustainable eating and exercise plan.
Finally, if you do plan to go on this type of diet, be sure to look at several different food plans so you can find one that includes balanced meals and does not restrict foods that are high in nutrients, which could lead to a nutrient deficiency and damage to your health.
Who Should Consider These Diets
Anyone who is looking for a quick way to drop around 2-7 pounds quickly may want to consider the 4 day diet. If you need to fit into that dress by the weekend, or you are planning to do something where you need to be at a specific weight, these plans can work. They can also be a good way to jump-start a healthy, sustainable long-term eating plan that includes balanced nutrition to help you lose weight safely. Seeing success on the scale within the first few days might be just the motivation you need to keep working on your weight loss.
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