The Six Day Body Makeover is a rapid weight-loss program designed by Michael Thurmond. The diet is intended to let dieters “drop a dress or pant size” in only six days by following a strict plan of dieting and exercise designed to boost metabolism.
The Six Day Body Makeover was designed as a shortened version of the Six Week Body Makeover. Both these plans were developed by Michael Thurmond. Thurmond grew up in Los Angeles, California. He says that he was an obese child who ate for emotional reasons. At age 11, his parents put him on a medically supervised diet that included drugs, but even that approach failed. He began lifting weights in his teenage years and although he became more muscular, he still could not lose the fat.
In his late teens, Thurmond joined the military and met a bodybuilder while stationed on an aircraft carrier on its way to Vietnam. By training with this bodybuilder, he learned the techniques he provides in his exercise program. While in the military, Thurmond says he also learned about food because he was assigned to kitchen duty and used that time to experiment with his diet.
After his time in the military, Thurmond began competitive bodybuilding and won numerous titles. His struggle with and eventual victory over his weight problems led him to want to help others lose weight and get in shape. In 1985, he began the Six Week Body Makeover program in San Francisco. It was the culmination of the work Thurmond had been doing with individuals for years. This program grew in popularity, and soon Thurmond was on the cover of the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as appearing on several television talk shows. Thurmond has no formal training in nutrition.
The Six Day Body Makeover is a shortened version of Thurmond's popular Six Week Body Makeover. It is designed to help dieters achieve results even more quickly. Thurmond makes regular appearances on the Home Shopping Network, and his weight-loss programs have also been featured on ABC's Extreme Makeover television show.
The Six Day Body Makeover is intended to produce rapid weight loss in a short period. It uses a variety of diet and exercise techniques to raise metabolism and burn calories. There are strict guidelines that a dieter is expected to follow closely to achieve the promised results.
The first step of the plan is body type identification using the plan's “Body Type Blueprinting System.” The system requires that users answer 48 questions, and the answers to these questions determine the dieter's body type. This body type is based on the dieter's metabolism and the way that the dieter's body reacts to food. Each body type has a different six day plan, which dieters are then directed to follow.
The Six Day Body Makeover provides complete meal plans for each day of the six-day diet. These meals are low in calories and high in protein and complex carbohydrates. Thurmond says that lean protein and natural carbohydrates are slow-burning, clean foods that are good for keeping a high metabolism. During the diet, the dieter is required to eat frequently. The daily caloric intake is divided into five to six small meals spaced throughout the day. According to Thurmond, “you'll probably eat more than you've ever eaten on any other diet.” Thurmond believes that eating frequently will help speed up a dieter's metabolism, so that he or she will burn calories more quickly. This method may also help to control appetite and allow a dieter to consume fewer calories throughout the day without feeling as hungry.
Thurmond also says his diet can have other “anti-aging” effects. Eating the foods prescribed by the diet is supposed to make dieters look and feel younger. For example, fish is one of the foods included in the plan, and Thurmond claims this seafood can slow the aging process, as well as improve the look of the dieter's skin.
The exercise guidelines for the six-day plan emphasize low-intensity exercise done over extended periods. According to Thurmond, difficult or high-intensity exercises, such as running on an elliptical machine or kickboxing, should be avoided because they burn less fat. During the six days when dieters are on the plan, they are to do 60 minutes of low-intensity exercise for at least five of the days. Low-intensity exercises can include walking, bicycling, hiking, or even shopping, as long as these activities are done at an acceptable pace. The plan does not address strength training activities such as weight lifting, rowing, or stair climbing.
One of the exercises the plan requires is called “abdominal breathing.” It is a special type of breathing that is supposed to help to oxygenate the body more effectively. Increased oxygenation is supposed to aid in weight loss, raise energy levels, and promote general fitness. The exercise is basically deep breathing through the abdomen, and can be done during exercise or throughout the day.
The Six Day Body Makeover is intended to cause rapid weight loss in a short time. It is a shortened version of Thurmond's Six Week Body Makeover. The six-day plan claims that dieters can lose ten pounds and one dress or pants size during the six days if they follow the strict program exactly. Thurmond says this rapid weight loss can motivate people to change their lifestyle and engage in healthier activities after the diet as well.
The benefits of weight loss can be enormous. People who are obese are at higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and many other diseases and disorders. Weight loss, if achieved at a moderate pace through a healthy diet and regular exercise, can reduce the risk of these and many other obesity-related diseases. However, losing water weight does not carry these same benefits. Some experts suggest that the Six Day Body Makeover is likely to result in the loss of mostly water weight. There is a possible psychological benefit associated with this kind of rapid weight loss, but this may be undone if the weight returns shortly after the diet is over.
The Six Day Body Makeover requires a diet that often is less than 1,200 calories per day. This calorie level is the minimum daily amount recommended by the American Heart Association for most people. Dieters should consult a medical practitioner to be sure that this diet and exercise regimen is safe for their body. Requirements of calories, fat, and nutrients can differ significantly from person to person, depending on gender, age, weight, and many other factors such as the presence of diseases or disorders. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should be especially cautious, because deficiencies of vitamins or minerals can have a significant negative impact on a baby. Exercising too strenuously can cause injury, and exercise should be started gradually to see how the body responds. Because the Six Day Body Makeover does not allow dieters to consume dairy products, a calcium supplement may be helpful in preventing calcium deficiency.
Injuries can occur during exercise, such as strained or sprained muscles, and proper warm-up and cool-down procedures should be followed to minimize these risks. Dieters should begin exercising at a light or moderate intensity, and increase the intensity of their workout slowly over weeks or months to minimize the risk of serious injury. This gradual buildup of exercising is not possible with the Six Day Body Makeover. The abdominal breathing exercise does carry possible hyperventilation risk and dieters should consult a physician before beginning any exercise regime.
The Six Day Body Makeover has not been the subject of any significant scholarly research. Thurmond provides no scientific evidence for the ideas behind his diet. The Six Day Body Makeover requires that many dieters eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day, which is a level of calorie intake considered unhealthy for most people, especially those who are spending a significant amount of time exercising. There is no significant scientific evidence to support the theory that frequent eating of low-calorie meals will speed up metabolism. For most people, moderately limiting caloric intake and eating a diet low in fats and carbohydrates and high in vegetable and plant products is generally accepted as a healthy diet. Most experts believe that a diet of this length cannot cause any significant loss of fat but depends mostly on dieters losing water weight.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a minimum of 30 minutes a day of light to moderate exercise for healthy adults. Following Thurmond's exercise program would meet, and in most cases exceed, this minimum recommendation. However, most fitness experts recommend strength training exercise in addition to aerobic exercise for maintaining proper fitness. No evidence has shown “abdominal breathing” to be a safe or effective exercise.
Another strict guideline for the Six Day Body Makeover involves drinking a lot of water. Dieters are told to drink 12 8-ounce glasses of water every day during this diet. This requirement generally follows guidelines for good hydration.
Icon Health Publications. Fad Diets: A Bibliography, Medical Dictionary, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References. San Diego, CA: ICON Health, 2004.
Jones, Keith. Diet and Nutrition Sourcebook. 5th ed. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 2016.
Robitaille, Francis P., ed. Diet Therapy Research Trends. New York: Nova Biomedical Books, 2007.
Thurmond, Michael. 6-Day Body Makeover. New York: Warner Books, 2005.
Thurmond, Michael. The 12 Day Body Shaping Miracle. New York: Warner Wellness, 2007.
Callahan, Maureen. “6-Day Body Makeover.” Health.com , October 4, 2010. http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20410213,00.html (accessed April 18, 2018).