17 strict blocks is 1318 calories without the hidden extra parts of things (like extra fat in meat, or the protein in the fats). I do not see how that is too much, in fact you will probably overeat. Volume, especially with vegetables does not equate to calories at all.
I'd start with 23 blocks at least (1783 before the hidden calories) which will bring you to about 2100-2200 daily.
Yes, I am a freak and I do a lot of math.
I'm even more strict then the Zone, I actually count the hidden blocks in foods.