The 3-1-2-1 Diet: Eat and Cheat Your Way to Weight Loss--up to 10 Pounds in 21 Days

The 3-1-2-1 Diet: Eat and Cheat Your Way to Weight Loss--up to 10 Pounds in 21 Days

4.5 17
by Dolvett Quince

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"Dolvett offers a dieting trifecta: easy, effective, and friendly to cheaters. He helps trick your metabolism into cooperating with his rapid weight loss formula for success." --Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Want to finally lose the weight and keep it off? Want to be able to eat the foods you love? Reaching your goals can only happen when you don't feel


"Dolvett offers a dieting trifecta: easy, effective, and friendly to cheaters. He helps trick your metabolism into cooperating with his rapid weight loss formula for success." --Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Want to finally lose the weight and keep it off? Want to be able to eat the foods you love? Reaching your goals can only happen when you don't feel deprived and you continue to stay motivated. Now, celebrity trainer and star of the hit reality series The Biggest Loser, Dolvett Quince, tells you how to do all of that and more in his revolutionary program, THE 3-1-2-1 DIET.

This 21-day program works by manipulating your body's natural tendency to slow its metabolic rate in response to calorie restriction. It takes a new approach to getting lean-one scientifically based on changing up food and calories to tap into your body's potential to burn fat. This unconventional plan results in greater muscle and less fat than any other diet you've ever tried.

Dolvett's effective eating plan is as easy as 3-1-2-1: three days of clean eating, one day of cheating, two more days of clean eating, and one final reward meal at the end of the week. No foods are off limits and you will never feel deprived because the plan is flexible enough to fit into any lifestyle. You'll lose weight fast-10 pounds or more in just 21 days-and you won't plateau.
Dolvett's simple meal plans and delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes, together with his fast and effective workouts that combine cardio and body-shaping moves, will have you back in your skinny jeans in less than three weeks!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A personal trainer and stalwart member of NBC’s The Biggest Loser team, Quince offers up his “unconventional” plan for dropping pounds—quickly—with his first book. He promises that by alternating “clean” and “cheat” days (in a 3-1-2-1 ratio) and following his 48-minute workout, four times a week, readers can see substantial changes in just three weeks. “Cheating,” declares Quince, is the key to the plan’s success, with 48 hours of each week allowing for greater caloric intake, and indulgences such as ice cream and pizza, thereby satisfying physical and psychological cravings, as well as upping metabolism. The program—one that Quince has used to help clients reach optimal fitness levels—is refreshingly straightforward, with detailed menus and recipes; at-a-glance lists of foods to embrace or avoid; easy-to-follow exercises, and suggestions for “fun” fat-burning and cardio-boosting activities; and tips for adapting the plan as you transition to its maintenance phase. Advice on supplements, and how to handle travel, holiday, and workplace temptations, are also provided. Much of what Quince has to say—like how to fill your plate proportionally with “smart” carbs, protein, and fiber, combining cardio with weight training for the strongest results, and sanctioned cheating—will be familiar to most readers, but Quince’s plan is both sound and appealing. Agent: Don Epstein, Greater Talent Network. (Nov.)

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The 3-1-2-1 Diet

Eat and Cheat Your Way to Weight Loss--up to 10 Pounds in 21 Days

By Dolvett Quince

Grand Central Publishing

Copyright © 2013 Dolvett Quince
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4555-7672-2


How Bad Do You Want It?

I recently read a scary statistic: By 2017, 85 percent of Americans will be very, very heavy—obese, really. That's not too far away. I fear the bad habits, the poor choices, the lack of motivation, and the non-active lifestyles that are leading people in that direction. I don't want to sound alarmist, but the truth is, people are in big trouble. You might even be one of them, and that's why you bought this book.

This is not overblown information, nor is it based on false info. This is real. This is serious. This is a big wake-up call; it's something we need to deal with before it hurts or kills us. This, folks, is our growing weight problem.

Now, you may not be obese—you may not need to lose 50, 30, or even 20 pounds—but still, I'm sure you'll agree with me: It's great to look good and be in shape. What we need to understand, though, is that excess weight isn't just a cosmetic problem; it can be a health hazard—a serious one. Controlling your weight is definitely about looking fine, but it's also about how well—and in many cases how long—you will live.

There are plenty of diets and programs out there to help, but it's likely that nothing has worked for you. Maybe you lost weight—and then gained it back. Maybe you just weren't ready to make the commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Whatever the problem, something has to change. You need to drop the weight and get healthy once and for all.

Enough about the bad news. The good news is that no one has to be overweight and sick. We can stop the scary side effects of obesity right now by gearing up in a positive way. In order to do that, I have a solution—a plan I've developed that has succeeded for everyone I've worked with, because it's realistic and fits into anyone's lifestyle: the 3-1-2-1 Diet. It has worked for many and it will work for you. By the way, I don't expect anyone to do anything that I don't personally do. This plan is what I live by. It's how I eat and exercise every week. And I have a big responsibility to help you do it too. I just hope you want it bad enough!


The 3 and the 2 parts of this plan are the days you're going to eat clean and healthy. The 1 part is when you get to cheat on the diet.

Cheat? Dolvett, are you kidding me?

No, I'm not kidding you. Practically every diet that was ever developed involves deprivation. Banned foods. Whole food groups kicked out. Illegal foods. Bad foods. Don't eat this and don't eat that. You know the drill. Although I hate the cliché, on my program, you can have your cake and eat it too.


When you go on typical diets, you lose body fat, but you also lose muscle. That's not cool, since muscle is your body's main fat-burning tissue. So after a typical deprivation-type diet, you might weigh less, but you'll have a higher percentage of fat on your body than before because of the muscle you lost. Even worse, once you return to a normal eating pattern, you're more likely to pack away extra calories as fat. The reason is that your body, in response to the decrease in calories, slows its metabolism to hold on to fat. In other words, your body doesn't think it's being fed enough, so it stores fat as if there were a famine.

When we were cave people, foraging for berries in the wild and slaying mammoths for dinner, this fat-storing factor was important for survival. The fat we stored was used for energy when food was scarce. And those who could store the most fat had an evolutionary advantage. While this was great for cave people, it sucks if you're trying to look good in a bathing suit.

How times have changed! Food is not scarce; there's a fast-food joint on every street corner. And fat people do not have an evolutionary advantage. They tend to die young, and they usually die from obesity-related diseases like heart attacks, diabetes, strokes, and even cancer.

The 3-1-2-1 Diet is not your typical diet. You won't lose muscle and you won't hold on to any fat. Keep reading, and I'll explain why.


If you've ever lifted weights or done any sort of strength training, you know how changing your routine from time to time shocks your body into getting tighter and fitter. Well, intermittent changes in your caloric intake do the same thing. On your clean days, you'll be eating fewer calories; on your cheat days, you'll be eating more calories. Those caloric ups and downs have a couple of big benefits: They trick your body into believing it has a lot of available food (which means no hoarding of fat), and they boost your metabolism, the body's food-to-fuel process, to burn fat while maintaining as much lean, sexy muscle as humanly possible. In fact, your metabolism is kept completely off balance because it's not allowed to adapt to any set level of food consumption, so it just keeps running and burning fat.

The basic weekly process is to eat clean for 3 days, cheat for 1 day, eat clean for 2 days, and cheat the next day. Obviously, the clean days will have you eating fewer calories, and the cheat days will provide slightly more calories. (See page 72 in Chapter 4 for a specific day-by-day eating guide.)


According to a survey I read, more than two-thirds of our population has no clue how many calories they should eat in a day to lose weight or keep it off. And most people are eating way too many calories each day. To my way of thinking, we're in danger of becoming "calorie comatose." And that, friends, is adding to—excuse the pun—our weight problem.

So wake up. Calorie counting is not out of style. After decades of weight-control schemes that claim to count everything but calories, we now know what really counts: calories! We count calories on The Biggest Loser, and you will count them on this diet, to some extent.

In fact, diets you've been on in the past, like low-carb or low-fat diets, points-based plans, or food exchanges, are all just different ways of counting calories. And when they didn't work, it was probably because you didn't really cut down on your calories. I remember a time when low-fat diets were all the rage, and lots of fat-free foods hit the market, but dieters got fat anyway because they were unaware of all the sugar calories they were packing away by eating those fat-free foods.

Okay, for some perspective, here's a little Calories 101. A calorie is simply a type of measurement, like minutes or miles. But instead of measuring time or length, you measure the energy value of a particular portion of food. A big slab of cheesecake may have 500 calories, enough energy to get you through an intense hourlong aerobics class. But if you don't go to that class, or its equivalent, your body will store those unused calories as fat.

On your clean days, calorie counting is pretty easy, because I've done it for you through portion control on your plate. On those 2 days a week when you get to cheat, I will ask you to keep a real close eye on your calories. Women need to eat around 1,500 calories, men around 1,800. Now, before you get too excited about cheating, understand that I'm not talking about a diet free-for-all. I once had a client come into my training studio with an entire box of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. She was devouring them in front of me right before her workout. That is not the way to cheat!


You'll be eating the right amounts of fat, protein, carbs, and fiber for weight loss throughout this program. The diet is generally low in fat, and that's good because fat contributes more calories per gram than any other nutrient (9 calories per fat gram compared to 4 each for carbohydrates and proteins). To get lean, a great place to begin cutting calories is with your fat intake. On the 3-1-2-1 Diet, I treat fat as a condiment, like mustard or horseradish—something you use sparingly for a little flavor.

Protein is my favorite nutrient. It's the best for developing and preserving lean muscle. Keeping muscle is key because muscle is your body's metabolic regulator. Keep in mind that body-mass muscle is living tissue and burns calories like an inferno, so the more muscle on your body, the more calories you burn—both at rest and during exercise. If you want low body fat, you must hold on to as much muscle as possible. Protein helps you do that. There's more: Protein keeps you feeling full and zaps hunger pangs. I'll go into more detail on protein in Chapter 2.

While protein is essential to the growth and preservation of muscle, carbohydrates provide the fuel you need to exercise and go about your daily activities. If your body doesn't have carbohydrates available for energy, it won't hesitate to tap into muscle tissue for energy substrates. The carbs on the clean-eating portion of this diet come from healthy foods like certain types of fruit, starchy vegetables, and high-fiber whole grains.


I've been putting clients on this diet for years, so I've seen it work wonders. Allow me to share what I've observed. First—and you won't believe this, but it's true—you can expect to lose up to 1 pound a day the very first week, particularly after your clean-eating days. The second week, you may lose 3 to 4 pounds. From that point forward, your weight loss will be in the range of 2 to 3 pounds a week. When you do my workout routine in conjunction with the diet, your weight loss could be even higher.

Your body is housing a certain amount of fat. At any given moment that fat is being burned or stored. It's never stagnant. Incorporate this diet into your life and get off your tush with my workout, and you'll torch fat more easily and rapidly than you ever thought possible.

My real-life work supports much general research that shows how the body responds to varying caloric intakes and exercising. For example, a study from the Netherlands showed that periodic calorie increases can affect our sympathetic nervous system activity. That's the part of the nervous system mostly involved in stress reactions and metabolism. In plain terms, this study demonstrated that when people changed their calories from low to high and back to low again, their metabolisms ran more efficiently than if they had kept their calories low all the time.

Some other studies show that increasing calories periodically with food helps you put on more lean muscle. How? Well, scientists have found that this style of eating naturally jacks up anabolic hormones (chemicals that help the body repair and build tissue) in your body. On the other side of the coin, research tells us that drastic and continuous calorie cutting (like most diets prescribe) drives down those same hormones. The result? You guessed it: muscle loss and fat gain (which is why a lot of diets erode your muscle tissue). Okay, maybe these studies won't cause you to fall over in amazement. But they do underline the fact that swings in calorie intake can help you get a hot bod.

Your body will respond positively to this diet. It's simple and will fit your lifestyle. It's based on balance and common sense regarding food and getting lean. The 3-1-2-1 Diet is really a long-term eating strategy, not a diet, though I call it one. It allows you to manipulate calories on a weekly basis in order to turn your body into a muscle-building, fat-burning machine—for life.


Goals are important and make everything we want possible. They add energy, direct our lives, and are one of the truly successful techniques in weight control. If you don't know where you're going, how will you get there?

There's a cool goal-setting method you may have heard about: SMART goals. This acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, rewarding, and timed. So first, your goal must be specific; in other words, the more detailed, the better. Saying you'll eat more vegetables is too vague; but saying you'll eat 5 servings of vegetables a day is specific. Consider another example: "I want to get in shape" versus "In 1 month, I want to be able to walk a mile without resting." One is vague, the other specific.

Second, your goal should be measurable—in other words, something you can quantify—such as performing the exercise routine in this book 3 times a week or identifying an ideal weight you'd like to reach and maintain.

Third, make sure your goals are achievable—within your capabilities, genetics, and age. Sure, I'd like to be an NBA pro, but I'm 5 feet, 6 inches so ... that's highly unlikely. Likewise, you can't have the bod of a slim eighteen-year-old (unless of course you are eighteen), because our bodies change and tend to lose muscle as they age, and fat tends to shift. (You can begin to reverse this process now by faithfully following the workout in this book.) Remember the realities of genetics when you set weight-loss goals too. If your family is big framed, no program will make you a perfect size 2. Healthier, yes. Trimmer, yes. Tiny, probably not.

Fourth, a goal must be rewarding. What I mean is that there should be a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment tagged to it. What type of goal will truly inspire you? Finishing a 5K race? Fitting into a smaller size?

Finally, goals must be timed. For example, if your goal is to perform my workout the full 48 minutes each time, at least 4 times a week, wear a watch while you walk to track the time, and mark on your calendar the 4 days on which you'll do the workout.

I'll add another criterion here: Make your goals fun and challenging, and choose goals that make you feel good about yourself: Try a new mind/body class this week, experiment with a new recipe, order a salad instead of a fattening appetizer when you eat out, or switch from your midmorning doughnut to a piece of fresh fruit. Put your goal list where you can see it, and before you go to bed at night, think about your goals and how you'll achieve them. We achieve what we believe.

Be sure to test each goal you've written against the SMART criteria, and you'll find yourself piling up successes left and right. Also, if there are specific steps you need to take to make your goals happen, record those too. I call these steps "mini-goals"—daily goals like eating the right foods, exercising, doing daily affirmations, and all that. Mini-goals are steps toward your major goals—those big goals such as reaching your ideal weight or pulling down those bad cholesterol numbers. Look at it this way: A building is built brick by brick. A race is won stride by stride. A picture is painted stroke by stroke. In any program to set new positive habits, it's helpful to make daily manageable resolutions rather than overfocus on far-end goals.

Here are some examples of daily mini-goals:

• I will stick to my eating plan today.

• I will drink enough water.

• I will try one new vegetable today.

• I will sprinkle less salt.

• I will pay attention to my portion sizes.

• I will avoid sugary and fatty foods today.

• I will read something inspirational to fuel my mind.

• I will do Dolvett's workout.

• I will play an active game with my kids.

• I will eat a healthy breakfast.

• I will practice affirming thoughts.

Do these "I wills" every day, and you will get to your ultimate goal!

And listen, everyone: By the time you hit your goal weight, this way of exercising and eating will have become second nature, raising your possibility of successful weight maintenance.

As part of this process, imagine how your life will change after you achieve your goals. Review your goals from time to time, and congratulate yourself for moving forward.


I believe it's vitally important to have a goal weight, or at least a goal range you want to achieve. A lot of people are using a measurement called body mass index, or BMI, to determine goal weights. BMI factors in your height and weight but doesn't take into account the fact that you might be carrying body-shaping muscle. Under BMI calculations, you could be considered fat when you have a curvy, defined, and in-shape physique. So I prefer that you use an old standard to find your goal weight, the Metropolitan Life Insurance weight tables. I've included the tables for women and men below. Look at the tables and pick a realistic weight range for your height. Write it down, then stash it away. Then set your mini-goals to get there.


Excerpted from The 3-1-2-1 Diet by Dolvett Quince. Copyright © 2013 Dolvett Quince. Excerpted by permission of Grand Central Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Dolvett Quince is a veteran health and fitness expert and one of the trainers on The Biggest Loser. In 2004, he opened his first Body Sculptor Fitness Studio in Atlanta and has built it into the city's premiere health and fitness center. His business attracts such clients as Janet Jackson, Angela Bassett, Baltimore Ravens tight-end Daniel Wilcox, singer-songwriter JoJo, and world-pop sensation Justin Bieber. He also developed the renowned Me and My Chair Workout DVD.

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The 3-1-2-1 Diet: Eat and Cheat Your Way to Weight Loss--up to 10 Pounds in 21 Days 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased the Nook version over the weekend. I am inspired by Dolvett's humble start. The simple, straightforward style is easy to read and understand. I would probably buy the hardcover so that you can flip back and forth between exercises, meal plans, recipes and more. Why four stars? I purchased everything from the week one shopping list. Unfortunately all of the items that you need for the meals day one through seven are not on that list. That was a bummer. Here I am all ready to go and I don't have everything I need for day one. I am thinking positive though and went grocery shopping again today. So just read through the menu plans and make your shopping list accordintly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is for anybody who wants to lose weight through a life style change. The book is well written and easy to follow. It comes with menu plans, shopping list and illustrations of exercises.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is fantastic. If you are looking for an easy to follow weight loss program, here it is!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased the book this weekend. I am very pleased. The overall concept is pretty simple. The meal plans are flexible. Dolvett is such an inspiration. I am eager and excited about living a healthier lifestyle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
diet plan easy to follow
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