The 4 Day Diet: Be Thinner By Friday… and Back Where You Started on Monday

NOTE: This is NOT a book review this is a rant-ish reaction. If you don’t like it move on.

I think I insulted my friend the trainer this morning after he excitedly showed me a new diet book he recently read. As soon as I saw the title I rolled my eyes.

I guess 4 days is better than 1 (I’m not even going there) but seriously.. FOUR days?!? I’m sure Dr. Smith is making millions on this book. I mean, who doesn’t WANT to be “Thinner by Friday”? Who doesn’t want it to only take 4 days (which, if my glance is right, this book actually outlines 28 days)? Who doesn’t want the weight loss solution to be that simple?

This type of quick fix, grossly marketed, diet smut does more harm then good.

I am SURE if I followed the plan outlined in the book I would lose weight. Here’s a sample day…

My calculations make that about an 800-900 calorie day. Well der… if I only consumed 900 calories a day you bet I’d lose weight, most people would. I’d also be freakin’ hungry!

Regardless, What are you learning? That a few days of depravation will lower the number on the scale? I think most of us already know that. The problem is, we can’t and we shouldn’t deprive ourselves forever so when we return to our normal eating patterns the weight comes back. Or better yet… we feel sorry for ourselves because we didn’t turn into a super model “by Friday” so we binge, and look for the next miracle diet plan. Or better even STILL… We can’t last a day on the plan, beat ourselves up because we must not be strong enough/motivated enough/good enough to follow the diet, get depressed, eat, and gain more weight.

For some of us this is a regular routine, I call it the yo-yo diet cycle of hell and I know it well. I have no doubt that there are people that could read a book like this, follow the plan, lose some weight and go on to live a happy, thin life. But I’d wager they are the minority.

So please…. PLEASE do not buy this book is if you think it will solve all your problems. It won’t. Your best bet on the weight loss front is to choose a plan that teaches you strategies on how to eat a little lighter, move a little more, and feel good about yourself.

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48 comments On The 4 Day Diet: Be Thinner By Friday… and Back Where You Started on Monday

  • These types of books bug me so bad… sadly, people keep buying and more of these books will continue to be published. Really stinks for people like us trying to sell a healthy lifestyle instead of a quick fix.

  • So crazy. The sad part is, that the idea behind the diet (eating clean) is a good one… but not well executed in teaching others how to do so. I agree–pass on this book.

  • Amen sister!

  • Sort of reminds me of the old “Jump Start” program that Weight Watchers had years ago. They ought to call it Four Days of Extreme Hunger and Sheer Hell.

  • I love the fact you have used an affiliate link and I think it would be interesting to see if anybody purchases this book after reading your ‘review’.

    I agree that ‘diets’ like this should be avoided at all costs – “slow and steady wins the race” . . .


  • I agree with you 100%!!!!

    Slow and steady….

  • Darren,
    As someone who has been blogging for over 5 years and is about to go full time, I have learned you never EVER post a link to to amazon without using your affiliate. It’s just plain stupid. As you can see I didn’t really advertise the link but if someone clicks on the book to learn more, then goes to amazon and decides to buy a new laptop tomorrow I make a commission.

    I’ll check my account in a few days. I’m curious too.. but I’d wager none of my regular readers would. Most users wouldn’t even bother to click on the book.

  • I don’t understand a trainer being excited about this diet. Do they not have some nutritional training as well?

  • I know. He, himself, has food issues I think (I’ve learned it’s not that uncommon among trainers). He’s a genius with the workouts, making them fun and challenging. I just tend to ignore him on the food thing. I know how I need to eat and approach food for me where I don’t fall back into the cycle.

  • UGH…serious!?
    This is sad…truly!

  • Not to mention the fiber! Yikes, don’t stray too far from the facilities! And what diet prescribes coffee? So weird. Basically we’ve got an all natural colon cleansing spun as an innovative eating plan. Lame.

  • Rolling my eyes is my reaction when the people I work with constantly jump on and off diet bandwagons. This one I’m sure will be brought up soon. It’s insane. Eat sensibly and work out. That’s it, it’s not rocket science, it’s hard work and dedication.

  • I was shocked when I saw the title of the post. I thought “This SURELY cannot be the Roni I remember because she knows this is… malarky.” 😉 I’m glad to see the angle you took and hope it helps others! 🙂

  • Your title put it as succinctly as possible when you say, “… and Back Where You Started on Monday” I might add to that, “and discouraged and suffering another blow to your self-confidence.” It makes me mental when I think that legitimate publishers still peddle this crap. They might as well put these books right next to the “overnight penis enlargement — please your lover like never before” titles. They prey on peoples’ insecurities and desires. You really want to lose that weight by Friday, just eat cabbage and yellow grapefruit for the next four days — it will be more effective, less complicated, and the “after-diet rebound” with be just the same. Actually, you would be better off, because then at least you’ll not be so surprised and put off by the after-diet rebound.

  • If I’m not mistaken this is the same “diet expert” from Celebrity Fit Club, another high quality example of healthy habits. This “easy” quick fix diet that he’s touting looks far from easy to me. 900 calories?! I’d be a quitter by the end of day one and ready to eat anything not nailed down! But by then “Dr.” Smith would already have my money. Mission accomplished for him. So sad.

  • He was on Celebrity Fit Club, but more recently he was doing a series with WGN news here in Chicago where they took a few civilians and a couple of their staffers and had them on this diet and also train at the same time. Some lost weight at a crazy rate, others lost slowly. It was probably 5-6 weeks that they followed them. This guy has continued to be on the show serving as a guest each week to answer medical questions, but they have not done a follow-up with the contestants since. Gee…..I wonder why…..

  • If I had tried to follow that meal plan 64lbs ago I would have been at Burger King by dinner. That’s not enough food!

    It seems like they always have to tout a ‘secret’ to weight loss. There isn’t the same amount of money to be made saying there IS no secret! Eat less, move more.

  • I actually purchased this book about a year ago after I heard him on a radio show. I knew the book had 4 day intervals of food but I expected something a lot less extreme. Needless to say, I read the first 3 intervals and put the book down.

  • Just another additon to the thousands of other useless “diet” junk out there! If it was so easy the diet industry wouldn’t be so lucrative. It’s really a shame when you think about it. Everyone is trying to sell their miracle. It’s no miracle, just a lot of hard work and perseverence. Thanks, Roni, for keeping it real!

  • So basically you are losing water weight for 4 days. In a non-stop process. Sorry, I’d rather build muscle and burn fat – and gosh I NEED TO EAT TO DO THAT.

  • When I was on Weight Watchers and finally trying to lose my last 10 pounds, I only received 19 points, which is about the equivalent to about 950 calories, so what is the difference? You are a WW advocate, what is wrong with the meal plan that is spelled out above?

    Not advocating the book or diet, just curious on your take.

  • I have learned that I can’t do deprevation. I tell myself, if I just eat less for one day and see even 1/2 lb loss, it’ll motivate me. No go. Ugh. There is so much hitting us every day how to quick fix our weight issues…. none of them work and they just depress me more!

  • He was on the Tyra show a couple years back with one of his other weight loss books in a competition against someone who had a raw food diet and they each had two contestants (I think there was another diet expert as well) and the raw food woman told him she thought his diet was crap and a big argument ensued- I have never cared for him or his diet books. I think people need to realize that things that last and are the most fulfilling in life never come the easy way or overnight.

  • And, @Amy, 10# are much more effectively lost through intervals and weight training -with clean eating- than lowering your calories excessively. But I never saw advocated that way in the WW program.

  • I love you Roni!!! That was a good Rant!!! 🙂 I get so annoyed when I see book like that.

  • Amy – That is a great question! I was also down to 20 points when I only had 10 lbs to lose too. For me this difference is simple… WW taught me how to make my own choices.

    Like I said… If I ate 900 calories, I’d lose and I did. But while I was following WW I was learning how to navigate my environment with food that I wanted to eat. Not too mention I had the weekly points to fall back on so if I wanted a snack before bed I didn’t feel like I failed the diet. I could also workout and earn more points.

    So the difference is simple. I don’t think WW is for everyone but it is the plan that helped me LEARN how to eat a little less and move a little more. Others figure this out on their own, other figure it out following south beach. In my opinion those are style of plans that teach not dictate.

    So I guess nothing is wrong with the plan outlined above except for the fact that I don’t want to be told what to eat and I don’t believe many people do or have the ability to stick to such a plan long term. Again.. just my opinion.

    Thanks for the question though!

  • I HATE the yo-yo diet from hell. Been there too many times. DONE AND OVER WITH (never again, please).

    I don’t get why people keep emphasizing such low daily caloric consumptions. You need to feel fulfilled in order to keep this up as a healthy lifestyle. Starving yourself for a few days, even a few weeks, may hold, but it won’t last a lifetime.

    It took me a long time to realize that quick fix is never the solution. Gotta fix everything, and that takes long, tedious, painful hard work.

  • It’s weird what plan will work for whom. I think a lot of people can successfully diet with 5on-2off weeks. It’s a lot easier to eat right during the workweek (up to
    Friday night), and if that’s all you focus on, it does retrain your idea of portion sizes. If you add in some weekend warrior stuff and eat relatively healthy foods, the weekend can be a psychological break and a wash on the calories. Like if they took a typical “on diet day” and added a meal out and also 3 hours of shopping, gardening, housework. Certainly there are people out there for whom even 4 days a week of eating fruits, vegetables, and decent portions is a few steps up from where they are.

  • RG.. No Doubt the would! It’s all in how you approach it though. I don’t eat that far off this list (a little more now that I’m not losing) If you look at my food journals you’ll see a very modest meal plan MOST of the time.

    The problem with books like these is that even though they would work if followed they don’t equip the dieter with the tools necessary to navigate real life. They also don’t address the psychological aspects that many people have when it comes to weight loss and body image.

    In a perfect world one could read a book like this this, follow it to a T, drop a few pounds and move on but in my experience a majority of people who will buy this book are so broken from diet attempt after diet attempt that it just doesn’t work.

    And I feel like “they” know this.. but they come up with a new catchy title and know it will sell so they market it as “Thinner by Friday” attracting more and more of the broken dieters.

  • You lost me completely. I don’t have any “tools to navigate real life”. Basically, I try to eat right 90% of the time and when “real life” hits, my body tells me to eat more and I do. I don’t believe in eating in restaurants, at parties, etc. as anything less than an “off-plan” meal (or an on-plan “break” if you prefer that way of looking at it).

    I think your point may also be that going from an average eating plan to 800 calories just won’t happen. Weight loss is a psychological hump to get over no matter how you do it, and for a lot of people it’s less painful to cut more. I also think that any time you actually see a scale drop – even if it’s water weight – helps keep you on the diet, which is pretty critical in the first 4 days.

    Don’t know; I didn’t read the book but – it’s a gimmick but weight loss (ime) often is about finding a gimmick around my hunger.

  • FYI to Amy and anyone else, Weight Watchers doesn’t advocate any food plan that is only 900 calories. Nobody gets less than 18 points a day and that should at the minimum still put you in a 1200 calorie a day diet. It all depends on how you spend your points and you should be following the Good Health Guidelines. Just my 2 cents 🙂

  • Hi Roni — Thanks for the post. It confirms why the weight loss industry is a multi- million (billion?) dollar industry. So often we want the magic pill and to fix our situation.

    The best book I have read on the subject is Geneen Roth’s Women, Food and God. I am leading three different book study group on the book and the discussion has been amazing!

    As always, huge fan of what you are doing!

  • Well here’s were we differ I DO eat at restaurants and parties (That’s “real life” for me) and I’m able to stay on plan because I learned how to make choices and find balance. . Something that these gimmick books don’t teach.

    I just think we have two different ways to looking at weight loss.

  • If I have to follow a prescribed meal plan, I tend to get obsessive about what I can’t eat and my next meal and all I’m thinking about is food and the next thing I know, I’ve sabotaged my “diet”. I’ve found that making healthier choices and simply eating less has helped me immensely. We go out to eat a lot because 1) life is crazy sometimes and 2) we like to. If we go to Jason’s Deli, I eat a half sandwhich and tomato basil soup. I still eat ranch dressing (FULL FAT!!!) but only when we go to places where I know it’s good. We went to Five Guys last night. I had a small burger and shared fries with the entire family. It’s all about balance. I’m not exercising right now and I’ve lost 12 pounds this summer; just by cutting back. I’ve added more fruits and vegetables and eaten less refined carbs.

    I think if someone were using the book to get back on track and only use it for 4 days, it might be okay. But, it doesn’t appear to be marketed in that manner. I teach high school and my girls are always trying to lose weight and lose it right now. If they don’t drop 10 pounds in 2 days, they freak out. This would be a good example of how NOT to eat for my Nutrition class this year.

  • I’m always shocked at what the latest “diet” book has to offer. It smacks of the yoyo Coffee and Grapefruit only type diets that my mum’s generation grew up on. When will people stop buying this rubbish and realizing that getting thin in 4 days isn’t a permanent fix. Results are earned!

    Thanks for sharing, I’m staying far away.

  • It annoys me that these doctors and people know that most of America is looking for the quick fix and will buy all their stuff. Then when they go on the yo-yo cycle they claim that they just can’t lose weight at all. So frustrating.

  • Hey Roni! While I disagree with you for poo-poo-ing the low calories encouraged by this doctor (I only eat 800-900 per day, myself, and there’ s more info about THAT on my blog today), I do completely agree with you for mocking the title of the book. DIETS do not work. And certainly a four-day diet isn’t going to work! What happens when you reach, um, Day 5?

    No. To lose weight effectively, you need to initiate a true lifestyle change. You need to completely re-evaluate the way you approach food, calories, “snacking,” “eating,” and everything in between. And then you need to live with that change. Forever. Not just for four days.

  • So unbelievably ridiculous! That meal plan is a joke. Thanks for calling out this insane book, Roni!

  • Christine –

    I’m actually fascinated by the low cal movement.. I’ve read those studies about the longevity and health benefits. I just think this book goes about the whole 4 day diet mentality the wrong way. He is simply praying on those looking for a quick fix.

    Like I said to a previous commenter my typical diet is similar to this but with WAY more fun and creativity thrown in. 😉

    Off to you check out your post!

  • wow that’s WAY low in calories!!!! I have eaten that much before lunch! 2 cups of coffee? WTH? Great it’s mostly a clean diet, but at such low calories not a HEALTHY way to lose weight!!! You’re gonna lose muscle mass which will reduce your metabolism, and therefore throw you back on the yoyo plan. Wow!

    Also if any trainer is recommending this to you – GET A NEW TRAINER!

  • I have wondered about this book. He has been on weight-loss proograms and I think he does understand nutrition, but to advocate 800 is too low. Thanks for the heads up on this diet book.

  • It’s so disgusting, isn’t it? HOW can a doctor advocate that type of diet?????!!!!!!! It angers me that a lot of people will trust him and buy the book because he has M.D. after his name and he’s semi- famous. I hate people who take their fame/degree title and use it to not only coerce millions of people out of their money but even WORSE, they start them on a diet rollercoaster of hell that has profound physical and EMOTIONAL side effects that will last these people for the rest of their lives.

  • THANK YOU for posting this!! I’ve lost 58 pounds through diet and exercise – I FINALLY cleansed myself of all the diet fixes that I tried, finally! The other day at work this gal told me about the 3 day diet… because I was complaining about the last 10 pounds that I need to lose. We all know 3-day diet, it’s an oldie… vanilla ice cream, tuna etc, I thanked her and said – can’t do it, can’t go that route anymore. I mean, aren’t we past that? We’re 40 year old women doing the 3 day diet? We should be smart enough to know that these are not long term but quick fixes! Ok, had to vent! Love the sites Roni, love ’em!

  • Roni, one of my friends has this book and it has worked well for her. She was just diagnosed with Diabetes and was told to shape up. This was the only book she could stick with. (Yes she even tried weight watchers).

    It is not a quick fix book by any means. She has been using it for over 3 months and she has lost about 18 lbs. The book consist of 7 phases which range anywhere from 1,000 – 1,800 calories per phase. The phases last 4 days each. It teaches you how you can introduce food that you like back into your eating plan with feeling deprived. It also shows you how to substitute your old foods for new ones. You can chose the phases in order or switch them. It does not end at 28 days…he just gives you 28 days of choices.

    When he says the 4-day diet he means that anyone can mentally stay on a diet for at least 4 days. That is why the menu changes every 4 days. He says in his book that it is not a quick fix at all but a lifestyle. The book promotes exercise in every phase and states that you may lose anywhere from 8-12 lbs a month, which I think is reasonable.

    I am not sure if you read the book in its entirety or was just thrown off by the title. However, I am just giving a different point of view and the experience that I have witnessed from my friend. If you look beyond the title, the book contains very good information.

  • BigTickles – I’m so happy you shared this story and your point of view and I’m ecstatic for your friend!

    As I stated in the post, I DID judge this book by it’s cover. I was reacting to the culture of quick fixes which Dr. Smith is preying on. It’s the marketing that gets me.

    I like the approach that everyone can stick to a diet for 4 days and I agree with him but combining that with “Be Thinner by Friday” is a gross appeal to the quick fix mentality. I would give this book more of a chance if the Subtitle was something like…

    The 4 Day Diet: You CAN do it.


    The 4 Day Diet: Baby Steps Towards your goal.

    Or even..

    The 4 Day Diet: A New Approach to Weight Loss

    I just wish they realized how much harm the do fostering this quick fix culture of ours.

  • OMG I can’t believe this is another one of those diet books that can actually make it out to the book shelf and ppl actually read it and try it :S I really wonder when society will start learning

  • Ha! The post title made me laugh out loud….literally. I love this blog!

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