2 Day Diet: Is That Really Enough?

By Guest Author


The 2-Day Diet was created by Dr. Michelle Harvie, research dietitian at Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention, and Professor Tony Howell.

The authors worked together in research exploring the connection between breast cancer and obesity. They designed this diet to help women with breast cancer to lose weight and keep it off for good.

Diet for 2 Consecutive Days

The 2-Day Diet is simple: For two consecutive days each week you follow a calorie-controlled diet. The rest of the week you will eat a healthy Mediterranean diet.

Research undertaken by the authors showed that this new approach to dieting can really work. It has even been demonstrated to be effective for women with a history of yo-yo dieting, who have tried everything.

The 2 Day Phase

You don’t have to count calories or go hungry on the two dieting days. Just stick with the recommended foods and suggested portions. The plan includes lean protein, healthy fats, low-fat dairy and fresh fruit.

The diet is designed to be:

  • Low enough in calories to allow you to lose weight but not so low that you feel hungry.
  • Nutritionally balanced so that all your vitamin, mineral and protein requirements are met.
  • On the two diet days you also need to limit your carbohydrate intake to 50 grams a day. This is because research shows that carbs make you hungry. A low-carb diet also promotes fat-burning and suppresses your appetite.

Eat the Mediterranean Way for 5 Days a Week

The rest of the week allows for a lot more flexibility in your diet. Your food intake will be based on a healthy Mediterranean way of eating with lots of vegetables, whole grains, beans, fish, fruit, nuts and healthy oils. It can also include small amounts of lean red meat.

It should be easy to lose weight if you follow the meal plans provided in the book. They are designed to be high in protein and fiber to help you feel full and reduce the tendency for overeating.

Contrary to what some people may think, a healthy Mediterranean diet should not include large portions of pasta, pizza and red wine. Treats like alcohol and chocolate are allowed but you should limit these to no more than 2-3 times a week.

Other Foods Promoted

Whole wheat bread, oatmeal, high-fiber cereal, whole wheat pasta, milk, yogurt, feta cheese, eggs, chickpeas, baked beans, tuna, chicken, shrimp, fish, walnuts, pistachios, zucchini, tomato, red pepper, lettuce, arugula, apple, plum, raspberries, apricot, fresh herbs and spices, olive oil.

Sample Meal Plan


Oatmeal and dried fruit
1 cup tea or coffee

Morning Snack



Zucchini soup with basil and tomato salsa
Chicken and lettuce sandwich on a whole wheat roll


Roasted vegetables with broiled haloumi
Homemade potato wedges
Green salad

Evening snack


Exercise 150 Minutes Each Week

For the first six months your aim is to build up to 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. You can break it up so that you have 3-5 sessions per week.

Eventually you should increase your activity to 300 minutes of moderate or 150 minutes of vigorous exercise. This amount will help you lose weight and keep it off, as well as providing extra health benefits.

You should also do two or three muscle strengthening sessions and two or three flexibility sessions.


  • Easier to follow than most diets because you only need to strictly reduce your calories for two days a week.
  • High fiber diet helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and promotes healthy digestion.
  • Mediterranean diet has been associated with reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
  • High protein intake reduces appetite.
  • Includes a meal plan and recipes.
  • Provides vegetarian options.


  • Dieters may experience fatigue on the diet days due to reduced calorie intake.
  • High protein levels on the diet days make this program unsuitable for those with kidney disease.
  • The program is not recommended for teenagers, pregnant or lactating women and people with depression or an eating disorder.
  • Advocates the use of sugar-free gum containing artificial sweeteners that have been shown to negatively affect weight loss.
  • Some dieters may find it difficult to find the time to do all of the recommended exercise sessions.

May Be Easier to Follow for Some

The 2-Day Diet only requires strict dieting for two days each week. So compared to many diet plans it will probably be much easier to stick with this program.

This approach has been scientifically demonstrated to increase your chance of successfully losing weight. However, most importantly it makes it more likely that you will maintain the weight loss over the longer term.

The 2 Day Diet is available on Amazon.


  1. Kelly

    Having had an extremely complicated relationship with food the 2 Day Diet still seems too regulated for me despite the flexibility it offers. When food and eating is such a big part of every day life I have found that the easiest way to lose and maintain a healthy weight is when you can adapt to whatever is going on around you whether it’s Thanksgiving at your aunt’s house, meetings over lunch or eating cake at a friend’s birthday. These sorts of situations come up all the time and it needs to be easy to work with them. I appreciate the balanced view this guest author included in the article though because it allows people to get a sense of whether or not this diet would work for them.

  2. Kristen

    This actually sounds much better than I thought after hearing the title. A 2-day diet does sound pretty crazy…except it’s not really two days. That brings to mind 2 days of healthy eating and 5 days of eat whatever you want. But this is really a healthy diet with exercise AND two more extreme days. Basically sounds like really good marketing that isn’t as dissimilar as other diets as it sounds!

    • Ted

      Yes, I would agree. Clever marketing… I was surprised to find a pretty healthy diet opposed to the fad diet I thought it would be.

  3. O.

    When I worked in retail I often came home with tired legs and feet and didn’t want to exercise several days a week, but also didn’t want to leave it for the weekend when I would really be swamped with work. So I would condense my workouts to two days a week. I would do one 30 minute workout on day one and two 30 minute workouts on day two. It seemed to work fine.

    • TonyK

      How does this relate to the 2-day diet?

      • O.

        2 day diet vs 2 day exercise. Just commenting on how condensed actions of any kind can possibly work out and show a possible reason why someone may can’t spend a whole week on a task.

        Wasn’t that obvious?

  4. Spectra

    Isn’t this just a ripoff of the 5:2 diet where you essentially fast for two days a week and eat normally for 5 days a week? I think it theoretically could work, but you’d have to make sure you don’t overeat on the days you aren’t dieting/fasting. It’s too much work for me to putz around with all that…I’d rather eat a slightly smaller number of calories and spread them out over 7 days.

    • Ted

      Sort of yes, but this one is a low calorie, extremely low carb diet for 2 days, but the calorie amounts wouldn’t be low enough to be considered “fasting” for those two days.