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The 3-Day Solution Plan: Jump-start Lasting Weight Loss by Turning Off the Drive to Overeat Hardcover – April 5, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Laurel Mellin, M.A., R.D., is the New York Times bestselling author of The Pathway. She is an associate clinical professor of family and community medicine and pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine, and the director of The Institute for Health Solutions. Dr. Mellin’s research and writing have received awards from the American Medical Association, the American Bariatric Society, and the U.S. Department of Consumer Education, and have been featured in Fortune magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Time, and on Oprah, Good Morning America, Today, and The Early Show. She lives in Marin County with her three children. Visit her website at

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Three Days That Will Change Your Life

Diets don’t work for one reason: we can’t stay on them.

We can’t stay on them because the drive to overeat is very powerful. When we really want that luscious dessert, that second plate of pasta, or that late night snack, we’re going to get it. The drive to overeat is that strong!

Sure, we can force ourselves to stick with a diet for a day, a week, or a year. In fact, we can be absolutely perfect at dieting, but sooner or later we’ll relent and go back to overeating. We gain all that weight back and more.

It’s so frustrating, so discouraging, and such a waste of energy!

The solution to weight problems is to stop dieting. The real solution is to start setting our sights on something more powerful. Diets never worked for me or for the people in our groups at the university. However, something else has worked, and that is focusing on one thing: turning off the drive to overeat.

In this book, I’ll guide you through a three-day plan so that you can experiment with turning off the drive to overeat. You can watch your appetite fade, your energy increase, and your body let go of fat rather than storing it. Better yet, by the third day you will experience a new sense of clarity and vibrancy, or what we call “life above the line.”

You can do this. You can do anything for three days! And these three days could just change your life.

The whole premise of traditional weight programs is that if we just knew what to do, we could do it! We could turn away from that candy bar when we hit a low in the late afternoon and resist those salty, crunchy chips while watching television. Traditional weight programs are based on knowledge, insight, planning, and decision-making—all of which are processed primarily by the thinking brain.

Unfortunately, there is no significant relationship between what is processed by the thinking brain and the most primitive human drives, including the drive to eat! The drive to overeat resides in the feeling brain. As long as our feeling brain is hardwired to trigger us to overeat, we’ll overeat! Our desire for food is not rational. It’s emotional! We eat when we’re very high, very low, or emotionally numb, that is, lost in our thoughts, analyzing everything, and cut off from our feelings.

This method, The Solution, equips us with the skills we need to rewire our feeling brain to turnoff the drive to overeat. It maps out a healthy lifestyle that satisfies us in ways that food never could. The combination of tools and lifestyle can bring lasting weight loss without rigid dieting or weight-loss drugs. It can offer us a true solution.

You can jump-start using the method with this 3-Day Solution Plan, and, if you’re anything like the people I’ve worked with, you’ll want to incorporate The Solution into your life. Also, if you prefer to move straight to using the plan, without knowing the particulars about why this method works, you can do that quite easily. Just read the series of brief chapters in part 1 of the book, Jump Start Lasting Weight Loss, then skip to part 3, The 3-Day Solution Plan, and begin experiencing three days that will change your life!

For Just Three Days . . .

Here’s how it works. For three days, you jump in and use this plan. It’s an adventure! During these three days, you will use the powerful mental tools of the method, and you will create a healthy, satisfying lifestyle. You will eat delicious food, exercise daily, and take time for love, work, play, and rest. There are step-by-step plans, and no guesswork is involved. The method is so powerful that you don’t have to do this plan perfectly for it to have an astonishing effect on your weight and your life. With these three days, you will:

•Acquire tools to turn off the drive to overeat. When you are in the kitchen, wondering whether you should reach for ice cream, cookies, or leftover spaghetti, you can reach instead for these tools and stop wanting any of them.

•Lose up to 6 pounds without dieting. In testing this plan, many people lost about 3 pounds in three days, but some lost more—all without dieting.

•Enjoy 3 days of personal vibrancy. Modern life makes us feel pulled in all directions. For three days, you will live in an especially rewarding way, and by the third day, you will have a renewed sense of clarity, vibrancy, and peace.

If you would like to, after three days, you can continue to use the plan in a less intensive form to complete two weeks of using the method. At that time, you may have what you want from the method, but if you want more, there is an active, warm Solution community online and a complete Solution course that takes you step-by-step to finding a Solution—that is, rewiring your feeling brain to the point that you have lasting weight loss, freedom from other common excesses, and an abundance of life’s richest rewards.

In many areas of the country, there are Solution providers who give coaching, lead groups, and conduct weekend retreats based on the method. In fact, this 3-Day Solution Plan was inspired by our Solution retreats, in which, in just three days of intensive Solution work, people see tremendous progress toward reaching their solution. This plan brings you many of those same experiences in the comfort of your own home.

The Three-Day Plan

One thing you will not do on this plan is diet. You will use our new 1-2-3 Eating system, in which no foods are forbidden. You can either use the preselected menus for the three days or select from many alternate menus. The foods are easy to prepare and very delicious.

You will also exercise, but you probably won’t go to the gym, unless you want to. Instead, you will exercise daily by doing something that you love, like walking with a friend, playing sports, rocking out to music, or going for a bike ride. You’ll also take time for love, work, play, and rest.

One thing you will not do on this plan is diet.

Most important, you’ll use the powerful tools of the method to begin to retrain your feeling brain so that your inner life spontaneously favors a state of clarity, vibrancy, and peace. Food will become . . . just food! You’ll enjoy it, but you’ll be perfectly capable of pushing away from the table. You’ll eat less because you’ll want less.

In our testing of the plan, some people said they were afraid they wouldn’t do it perfectly. You don’t have to do it perfectly. You simply need to jump in and do it. If you do your best to follow the plan, wonderful things will happen!

Others feared that the method would turn their lives upside down. Many people who have used the method over time say, “The Solution changed my life.” This method can transform your life in a spectacularly wonderful way. However, after these three days, you may decide to make no changes at all. Or you may prefer to take small steps, keeping your pace of change completely within your personal comfort zone.

On each of the three days, you will use the skills to begin both to retrain the feeling brain and to put into practice a satisfying and healthful lifestyle. Based on our testing of the plan, this is what you’re likely to experience on each of the three days:

Day 1: Detox

This is the first day of experiencing a new life. Most people feel a sense of adventure at the idea of using these skills and adopting a vibrant lifestyle to turn off the drive to overeat. It’s a time of detoxing from too much sugar, fat, salt, and calories. For some, it feels as if they are detoxing and cleansing. Others are emotionally attached to the food and find themselves grieving the loss of overeating for comfort and fear that they will not be able to stay on the plan. However, most people think that this is just what they most need to do and are proud that they have started the plan.

On this first day, you will use the skill of checking in, asking yourself how you feel and what you need, and begin to experience the power of the method. In a sense, this is the most challenging day of the plan, as you are setting into place both the lifestyle changes and the habit of checking in with yourself. Using the skills and squeezing in all the elements of the day will keep you busy, however, the overriding feelings you’re likely to have are hope and pride.

Day 2: Connection

You can do anything for one day, but for two days? That’s more challenging. So the plan for the second day is full of ways to gratify, satisfy, and please you. In fact, the goal in planning the day was for you to feel so satisfied and vibrant that you wouldn’t even notice that you are taking in less food. So the lifestyle part of the program emphasizes finding pleasure in your body, with physical activity and sensual activities on your own or with a partner.

After three days, you will feel so vibrant and alive that you will want more days like these.

In terms of the mental part of the plan, you will continue to use the skill of checking in but will also add a second skill, emotional housecleaning. This is an easy but extremely effective skill, one that flushes out our feelings, literally cleaning house inside. When you use it, within a few minutes, you will feel emotionally lighter and less likely to have an urge to eat. The overriding feeling of the day: happy!

This is a highly pleasurable day!

Day 3: Vibrancy

Day 3 is when all your effort and focus will pay off. By today, you may feel so vibrant and healthy and so free from the drive to overeat that you will amaze yourself. Even if your weight is very high or you have a long-standing attachment to overeating, your drive will begin to fade, and you will see that you have more power to push away from the— and get off the couch.

On this day, you will use the most powerful skill of the three basic tools: doi...


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (April 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400063779
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400063772
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,256,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laurel Mellin, PhD is the founder of emotional brain training (EBT) and an associate professor of family and community medicine and pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco.

EBT trains individuals in brain-based tools that strengthen the circuits of resilience and are designed to improve the brain's set point ( The mission of EBT is to empower people to use the tools to emotionally connect with themselves and others to move forward in life -- rewiring the brain's emotional set point. As the set point moves up, the reward centers of the brain switch from being dependent on artificial rewards that ramp up stress to relying on the natural, sustainable rewards of a purposeful life: sanctuary, authenticity, vibrancy, integrity, intimacy, spirituality and freedom.

Many scientists and philosophers share insights about improving the quality of our lives, but Dr. Mellin has developed this evidence-based method that equips individuals with the tools and support to realize those states. By 2007, the method became completely brain-based, representing a new paradigm in health care - rewiring the stress response for resilience and well-being. In 2012, the method evolved to make learning those skills and using them to manage stress and improve the set point easier through technology-based learning and support ( She is a New York Times bestselling author, and speaks widely to professional and lay groups. She has three children and lives in Marin County, California.

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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Tammy Hahn on May 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book shares a remarkable amount of information on the science behind weight gain and the reasons we turn to food - seemingly beyond our control.

Anyone who has dieted knows that you can have all the information in the world at your disposal and still not be able to change your behavior around food permanently. This book explains why this is so and what you can do to make the changes that you need to make to address emotions and work with the feeling brain (something we all left behind as adolescents).

The author's style is very relaxed, responsive and especially, knowledgeable. A very easy and informative read.

The 3 day plan really does offer a means of seeing what life can be like free from the drive to use food for comfort. More importantly it provides the tools to make this happen. The website support is also a really great option for additional follow through!

After 30 years of feeling ruled by food I finally feel newfound freedom.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Marin Reader on December 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book about a week ago, and am very excited to get started on it. Even though this is a weightloss book, and I do need to lose weight, I bought it because it talks about a way to get past the addictive behavior, the negative self-talk, all of that, by 'checking in' with yourself several times a day before you go too far down that spiral of self-destructive behavior. I've tried it a couple of times and it works! I encourage people to take a look at this book because the approach IS different than other diet books. But, it is not very well laid out or edited. There are several times where I have to re-read a sentence, because she's written it in such a convoluted way... instead of getting to the point, she gets too wordy, and you lose your momentum as you're reading. Also, there are, as I understand and I can't be sure because the bad format of the book, 3 main components to the 'solution', but then there are several part to each main component. And it's nearly impossible to figure it out, or remember it, unless you take notes. She talks about White Stuff once, and then doesn't mention it until several chapters later, and you have no idea what it is. Same with Masterful Living... This book needs to be re-released in a waaaaayyyyy better format, so that you can easily read about each part to the Solution, and follow it easier. The little cutout cards at the end of the book are helpful only to copy them down on your own piece of paper. Having said all that, I still recommend that people read the book - I think it's a sensible, innovative program, if you can just get through the book.
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Chris H. on April 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Wow! My husband I and did the 3-Day Solution Plan together. It was amazing. There was more food than I wanted -not diet stuff but real food.

What I learned was that I could change my lifestyle, get more intimacy and at the same time lose my desire to be obsessed with food.

It is worth the effort to learn to live in another way. I can rewire my limbic brain and learn how to relate to myself and others which in turn magically calms my desire to eat more than I need.

Can't believe it!
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Tammy Hahn on August 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This was just the information I had been looking for. After following the 3 Day Plan I couldn't believe how great I felt - and I lost weight. The science behind why we overeat was truly revealing - now I understand much better why I can't just "make" myself do things - afterall, if behavioural change were easy we'd all be perfect. The information (methodology) for creating the behavioural change is included and is remarkable. There's also a website where you can visit for additional information and support. I can finally make sense of what I've been battling for the past 33 years and I have found a way out of the mire - I am so grateful for what this has brought to me.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. Rienzi on January 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
My wife and I got on this diet more than a year ago. We both so instant results and we felt good doing it. You have a lot to do to first week(s), but you see and feel the results, so it keeps you going. I was only a few pounds overweight, but I wanted to find a diet that could get me down to a healthier weight and look a little better in my clothes. Don't be fooled by the title of this book, the best part of this diet is that it gives you tips to run your life from here on in, and I'm still following many of the basic principles. Well done.
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