Hilton Head Metabolism Diet

new-hilton-head-metabolism-dietThe Hilton Head Metabolism Diet derives from Dr. Peter M. Miller’s observation, and evidence from subsequent study, that a person’s metabolism burns 70% of all daily calories – the remainder is burned through physical activity.

So the main problem in people who are overweight is their body’s failure to burn calories efficiently through metabolism.

Metabolism is the action or the result of chemical processes occurring in living organisms and cells that are necessary to maintain life, breaking down some substances to yield energy for vital processes, and synthesizing other substances.

Dr. Miller is the author of the best-selling books The Hilton Head Metabolism Diet and The New Hilton Head Metabolism Diet and the founder in 1976 of the Hilton Head Health Institute on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

The Hilton Head Metabolism Diet

This program works by changing your body chemistry to burn fat naturally, so that even though you eat five times a day the weight will drop off.

The program is in two (repeated) stages. The first stage comprises six weeks of weight reduction, and in the second two-week stage you follow a weight maintenance diet.

This cycle is repeated until the ideal weight is achieved. In other words, 6 weeks to drop off pounds, 2 weeks to maintain that weight, then repeat this dietary ‘stair-stepping’ as long as necessary.

How the Hilton Head Diet operates

The weight reduction or low-calorie stage involves eating three meals a day plus two snacks (equivalent to no more than about 1,000 calories a day), in a well-structured, low-fat, high-carbohydrate plan.
Weight loss through metabolic activity is quicker on several ‘mini-meals’ a day than on one or two large meals. On weekends the metabolism can be boosted (and the diet varied) by adding 200 to 250 calories each day.

The maintenance stage (also low-fat, high-carb) bases calorie intake on individual needs as determined by the plan.

In the meal plans, all portions must be measured and nothing skipped, no salt is permitted, and multivitamin/mineral and calcium supplements may be recommended. Daily meal plans restrict calories from fat to under 20% of total, and fat consumption is no more than 15 to 20 g.

Drink daily at least five 8-ounce or 250-ml glasses of water (or other noncaloric and non-caffeinated beverages).

Daily exercise is required (two 20-minute walks or equivalent, substituted two/three times a week by a 20-minute session of muscle-firming exercises).

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Sample plan for weekday low-calorie meal

Breakfast 1 oat bran English muffin with 1 tbspn low-sugar jam or jelly
¾ cup skim milk or 1% fat
1 banana
coffee or tea with sugar substitute
Lunch Tuna salad sandwich (¼ cup tuna salad on 2 slices of low-calorie whole wheat bread, with lettuce and 2 slices of tomato)
6 raw baby carrot sticks
choice of any noncaloric or low-calorie beverage
Snack 1 apple
Dinner Pasta (1¼ cups of cooked pasta with ½ cup tomato sauce)
Salad (small dinner salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and 1 tbspn low-fat dressing of choice)
choice of any noncaloric or low-calorie beverage
Snack 4 cups air-popped popcorn (no butter or salt)

Look for more low Calorie recipes here.


The structured plan of the Hilton Head Metabolism Diet suits many people, but may be too rigid or demanding for you personally, especially for a larger-framed man.

If so, the daily calorie intake may be increased (eg use the boosted weekend plan all week, or increase portion sizes), requiring more weight-loss/maintenance cycles to achieve the objective.

See Also

The New Hilton Head Metabolism Diet by Dr. Peter M. Miller. Achieve permanent weight-loss by changing your body’s metabolism to burn fat more efficiently.

Available from Amazon →

Other related books include “The Hilton Head Over-35 Diet” and “The Hilton Head Diet for Children and Teenagers”.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Miller, P. M. (2008). The New Hilton Head Metabolism Diet: Revised for the 1990’s and Beyond. Grand Central Publishing.
  • Hickey, J. T., Hickey, L., Yancy Jr, W. S., Hepburn, J., & Westman, E. C. (2003). Clinical use of a carbohydrate-restricted diet to treat the dyslipidemia of the metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome and related disorders, 1(3), 227-232. link
  • DiGioacchino, R., Sargent, R., Rankin, H. J., Sharpe, P., Miller, P., Hussey, J. R., & Tafakoli, A. S. (1997). Factors associated with weight change among clients of a residential weight control program indicating binge and nonbinge traits. Addictive behaviors, 22(3), 293-303. link

48 Comments or Reviews

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    also EBAY has several for $8.15


    check Amazon for the Original Hilton Head Metabolism Diet book

  3. cbb

    I used this diet in the mid-90s and it was so successful that my sister used it and also had success. I’ve thought about it again, but am older and much lazier. Hope I can get the motivation. Really loved the miled aerobic exercise and the timing of this activity. I’ve recommended this diet and still do.

  4. Deniise

    I did this diet 15 years ago to get ready for a Jamica trip, could not believe how I went from a size 12 to a size 4 in 2 months…..I was so happy, trying to start again this week……..

    Denise/Landover MD

  5. MAK

    My doctor recommended this diet to me back in 1991 & it works!!!! The first time I tried it / I was hooked! There is nothing extreme or fad/like about this diet. It’s real food which also by preparing & cooking yourself brings you to a greater awareness & appreciation of your meal. Who knew food could be appreciated? This diet works / try for your first 10 lbs. & you will be hooked!

  6. martini

    Thanks for the HHMD write-up. My used bk will arrive shortly & I’m excited to do this. Inspiring success stories (at various sites) of strangers & co-workers. Will love posting my own! Thx all!

  7. Jo-Ann

    I lost 30 pounds on this program 20 years ago. Once I stopped exercising…it slowly came back. I’m starting once again tomorrow. Need to loose that 30 plus 10. I’m 66 years old now…so need a little encouragement.

  8. jennifer

    yeah this is the best diet I have ever tried..lost like 75 pounds…I felt great had lots of energy and the weight just fell off. got another 20 pounds to go.

  9. Judy Morrill

    I went on this diet on Feb. 4th, 1991. I wanted toloose weight for my 20 yr. high schol reunion. Well, by August, I had lost 53 lbs., & looked great! Now, I’m 57, & more overweight than ever. I’m going to go on the diet again, because I’ve had such success. Wish me luck!

  10. Raechel

    this is a very good eating plan. 10 pounds lost looks like 15….and I had very high energy and great skin. It’s the best eating plan I have found in my 52 years. Seriously….easy to follow and I never feel hungry!!!!

  11. anita

    This diet worked for me 15 years ago. I kept the weight off until just this last year. Being confronted with a divorce I stopped exercising, ate, and became depressed. Well I am back on it today!

  12. donna

    I have been on every diet out there!! back in the 80’s this was the only diet that worked. I found the original book on line and bought it…it brought me back to the only diet that worked…so I am now going to try it again and I will let you know if I can do it again.,..I pray I can, back in the day I wanted to loose because of looks now its for my health and life…..

  13. Lisa

    i tried the original book: hhmd 18+ years ago and lost about 60lbs and kept it off for many years. i attempted the new hhmd and the over 40 a couple of years ago, but i find that the original is easier to follow and you can cook the same for your family. i am hoping to see a few lbs lost by the end of the week to encourage me to continue on my 60+ lbs i want to lose now.

  14. Cathy

    Well, truly this is the only diet which was easy to follow and was successful. I lost at least 25 pounds in the 80’s. I know it works and can’t wait to try again!

  15. felish

    i am going to try this diet tomorrow, i hit you back in 3 weeks to let you know if i’ve lost a pant size. thanks for the encouraging comments.

  16. big win

    I started this diet 8 days ago and have lost 5.5 pounds. I love it. Its so easy and affordable.

  17. Tiffany

    I did this diet in ’93 and went from a size 20 in June to a 7 by Sept, just 5 months and continued to lose more for till I was a 4. It was so easy and to this day it is the only diet that has truly worked for me. The walking is very easy and eventually you look forward to the 2 walks a day. I started the diet again yesterday and I am looking to lose at least 20lbs by July 4th. I would recomend this diet to everyone!

  18. susan cain

    I did this diet for the first time back in the 90’s after the birth of my first child and lost 30 lbs. This diet will work as long as you stick to the plan. After only 3 days you will start to see results and get excited and that helps to keep you on it. I have tried Beach Body and lost weight but gained it back because the menus were not to my liking. I am going to go back on this diet because it is affordable and easy and it works!

  19. vickie

    Husband and I went on this diet in 84, combined we lost 70lbs. We are on it again and have lost combines 20lbs, we still have 30 more pounds each to lose. We have great hopes of this happening. A footnote Paris Hilton has nothing to do with this get over it…

  20. apreju

    I lost 30 pounds in six weeks back in the 80’s using the HH Met. Diet. I need to lose about 30 # now, so I’m going to give it a go again.

  21. shirley

    This diet definitely works! I tried it 18 years ago and lost 50 pounds over 1 summer. I am starting it on Monday. After week 2 or 3 it is easy as ever. Stick to the walking 20 minutes after a meal and you will be slim and trim in mere weeks. Good luck!

  22. anne

    Lost all my baby weight 17, 15, 13yrs ago 25- 30 ibls each time. Works really well but you must stick with diet & exercise.Gained a few over holidays, plan to go back on mon. Good Luck

  23. Debbie

    I was on this few years back lost 50-60 pounds in just a few short months it was like 3-5 pounds a week but you have to follow the meals and do the 20min of walking two times per day.

    I’m back on this tomorrow…=)

  24. Debbie

    I am starting this diet January 5th for the new year. I am having trouble understanding how to get to my calorie intake…not sure if i am doing it correctly. can someone help me with this?

  25. Alyssa

    I went on the HH diet fifteen years ago and lost 40 lbs-looked and felt great. 15 years & 2 kids later, I am headed back to the only diet that ever worked for me. I like it because it is not so strict that I can’t cook for my family and myself at the same time. This go round, I have added a treadmill desk to my routine so I can capture the metobolic effect ( the trick) after every meal. Try it!

  26. wendy

    this diet really really works, it’s a little strict it but is worth it. you’ll feel skinnier on the 2nd day because you are not retaining water, it’s great.& the best part is that you don’t gain weight back when u go off the diet.i love it!!!!!!!

  27. Joanne

    I went on the Hilton Head over 35 diet for 2 and a half months and lost 20lbs. It is restricting and you do have to eat just the meals it calls for, but I haven’t found anything else that works and I refuse to pay money each month to lose weight. I have the book and will be starting it again tomorrow. I know that it will work if I just follow it and a couple of months out of my life is well worth the results and how it makes me feel after the weight is off. I highly recommend this plan.

  28. Nanda

    I have the book. I’m currently on the diet. I started the second week and so far i’ve lost 6 pounds. I recommend it. IT WORKS!!!

  29. lisa

    i did this diet a year ago lost 15 pounds in 5 to 6 weeks and keept it off for over a year even after wavering off to bad eating habbits agian because i kept up my walking i found any where and every where to walk i loved it gave me awsome energy and im back on it because i found a book on amazon i love the original one easy

  30. Sonjia

    I did this diet back in the 90s and it works. I had a lot of energy and never felt hungry. The only down side is that you have to eat every meal exactly as prescribed, and it can be very restricting on your every day life.

  31. Carl

    I was on the Hilton Head diet back in 1989. I gained alot of weight the year before. I was 220 and I am male at 5’5”. I stayed on the diet and exercised as prescribed. I ate only what the Hilton Head Diet book stated. I lost all my weight and went down to 144. From that experience and this book I learned how to eat and continued to exercise.

    I think that the no-carb diets are not good for the over all health even if some say they enable you to lose weight. The food in the Hilton head diet is well-balanced. Once you lose the weight you can increase the food intake but keep the good kinds of foods (not McD, etc). Continue to exercise as well.

    I think this diet and book saved my life. When I gain weight I simple go back to eating the kinds of foods in the book at smaller portions and exercise – and stay away from the fast food.
    It is about helping you change your life. You can’t change your life on high protein no-carb diet – as that will harm your overall heart health (fruits and veggies are GOOD).

  32. Lisa

    I tried the HH Metabolism Diet over 20 years ago and it did work I lost between 30-40 pounds in a few months. I have been undecisive on HHMD or the HH over 35 until today. I am trying the over 35, because I like the concept that with age the body/metabolism changes. Note: some of the comments posted do not specify which HH Diet was followed so I was unable to use your comments as a reference. I will start this week 8/30/08 and post after a few months again.

  33. To This Sucks Again...

    Yup, it sucks… it sucks the weight right off your big fat bum. Went on this when the book came out in the ’80s. Very structured, no room for cheating if you want results, can’t skip the walks, but that’s as strenuous as the exercise got. I walked twice a day for the 20 minutes each. Lost 4 pounds a week for 25 weeks… that’s 4 pounds EVERY week for 25 weeks and dropped 100 pounds. It’s still off. I do NOT consider this a fad diet. The food selections are balanced, mostly, but difficult to manage sometimes all the fresh fruits and veggies before they start to spoil. So, instead of buying for 10 days at a time I bought food about every 4-5 days and that fixed that. Also, you have to prepare the foods. So if you are brainless, inept or think that this has anything to do with Paris Hilton… move on and stay fat.

  34. Fatima

    i recently started this diet, i havent noticed anything yet, but then again its only been 2 weeks or so, ive been trying to lose most of my baby weight, its easy adjusting to the menu

  35. IT WORKS

    My friend was a size 9 and in less than 4 months she was a size 4. It was incredible but she did it. I am going to start today.

  36. to This Sucks

    Um, wow. The diet is named for a resort in South Carolina – Hilton Head Island. The diet came out YEARS before Paris was even born. It does work, as it is based on Scientific Principles by the Doctor who wrote it; again, nothing to do with young heiresses. I don’t much care for the Hilton idiots, either, but they are not associated with the diet, they are the children of the owner of the Hilton International Hotel chain – you are just a victim of your age and the times… you don’t remember a time when the girls weren’t front-page. I remember before they were ever born.


    I have been on this diet and it definitely works. It was a struggle initially as I adjusted to the portions. However, with continued self-discipline it works. Through this diet I learned a new healthier life style of eating and exercising. I recommend this diet because I believe it is a very healthy, reasonable and speedy way to take off the weight. Requirements: Self discipline. You will be rewarded with a new body happy you stuck with it.

  38. T. R.

    I tried the Hilton Head and lost 20 pounds within 4 weeks. I only walked 20 minutes a day. . To be honest with you, it’s what we eat on a regular basis, the diet just gives you a better way to prepare the food and teaches you how to eat in moderations. The diet is great and it does work, if you follow it. He has a new book out with better foods. It’s still the Hilton Head, it’s just an updated version and I purchased it at Barnes and Noble. You can also google Hilton Head and go to the actual website and purchase the book there as well.

  39. Ruth

    I did the Hilton Head Over-35 Diet. It is excellent. Very effective. The menus, while not providing a large quantity of food, are satisfying and varied. The combination of varied healthy meals and regular exercise helped me lose weight right away. The Maintenance Menu, and awareness of what my daily calories should be for Light Activity, Medium Activity, and Heavy Activity days has helped me make better choices about what to prepare for meals for myself and my family. I’m 44, and most days are Medium Activity. Clearly, when I gained excess weight before going on this diet, the problem was that I was eating too many calories (above Heavy Activity for my height/age!) and hardly exercising at all. The exercise recommended on this diet is low-impact, so I can manage it. I recommend it. I lost 24 lbs., and have been able to keep it off.

  40. Barbara & Dennis

    Deniis went on this plan before and lot 60 pounds. He after 5 years has gained some back and we both are on the 2nd week- lost 10 pounds. We love it.

  41. Joyce

    I tried the Hilton Head Metabolism diet 10 years ago and lost 50 pounds. I felt great and had alot of energy. I didn’t stick to the exercising and gained back some of the weight. I have unfortunately lost my book and can’t find it in any of the bookstores. If anyone knows where to find the book or could put the low-cal menus and the booster menus on this website I would really appreciate it. I did not like the New Hilton Head Metabolism Diet, nor the one for people over 35. I preferred the original diet because it was easier to follow.


      I can supply you with a copy of the Original Hilton Head diet. Email me joanhenri@msn.com


        On the subject line put COPY OF HILTON HEAD DIET so I will know who you are.

  42. rudie

    This diet works! My mom-in-law is 63 yrs old. Lost the weight two years ago, 30 lbs in 6 weeks, and has kept it off. Now she exercises every day, but she has the energy of a child. She plays football with my son because I’m too tired! I’m giving this diet a try!!!

  43. IT WORKS

    Went on it several years ago…lost over 40 pounds. Have some more to loose, so I’m going back at it again.

  44. elayne

    I think it will work..I’ve lost 7 lbs and have been on the diet for 2 weeks…I feel good, have more energy. And unless your used to eating like a pig, it doesn’t make you starve! You’re still eating 3 meals a day, plus 2 snacks. Everything is just healthier and low calorie.

  45. This sucks

    I think this diet does not work. Due to the fact that it is named after anxorexic chick who can’t even do a proper movie. I suggest you edit this diet or completely delete it from the page.

    The servings are small, and the intake of your daily recommended calories are less than half.

    • Lolly

      You cheated or didn’t exercise 20 min after eating or you eat too many mints, or eat too much whatever …!