Methodology: 1, 2, 3 or more months

How long should I be trying each diet out?  I’m taking great care to consider the proper phasing and timing of the entire experiment.  I’m trying to make sure that I’m not setting myself up for failure by doing things overly aggressively.  I’m also trying to make sure that I don’t bias any results for a given diet.  It would be a pity if I switched off a diet just in time for the effects to be felt.  At the same time I don’t want to make the period so long that it takes years for this process to unfold.

My first thought was that one month would be a bare minimum time.  If you read any of the books on any diet transformation they are usually “30 day” transformations or transitions.  The word alone there makes it seem like by the end of one month I’d just be getting into the groove on something.  It’s one thing to try a diet for a month and then switch off into a less strict version of that.  It’s another to switch into another diet of a different sort.  So from that I know I want to make it more than 30 days.

My next impulse is to choose a 12 week plan.  Why jump from 4 weeks (well 4.5) up to 12?  I’m used to it.  Programs like Body For Life are big on the twelve week cycle for multiple reasons.  Similar to my comment above, it breaks out of the pure transition period of a new lifestyle choice.  Also it’s a long enough time for a person to really see changes as they add up.  This prevents shifts due to water weight or the like from masking what is really going on.  Three months is also about a quarter of a year, so it lets me break the entire thing up into four even cycles about a quarter each.

Lastly, upon signing up for WellnessFX for my blood work they recommend getting tested about three times a year since, in their estimation, it takes a good four months for changes to occur in the body.  Since blood tests will be one of the major metrics I’m going to use in determining efficacy, I’m wondering if I need to really be blowing each of the diet trials out from 3 months (12 weeks) out to four months.  Decisions, decisions…