Zen To Slim Weight Loss Plan
Step 1: Begin gradual exercise . Instead of trying to change your entire life with an intense weight loss plan, we’re going to start small. All you want to do is make a co...
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Step 1: Begin gradual exercise. Instead of trying
to change your entire life with an intense weight loss plan, we’re
going to start small. All you want to do is make a commitment to get
yourself moving for at least 10 or 15 minutes each day for 30 days
Some key points:
- Type of exercise. If you’re already a runner or a
cyclist or something similar, then begin a very, very modest program of
resuming that exercise. Otherwise, walking, a treadmill, hiking, a
cycling machine, rowing, or something similar would work. Mixing it up
is a great idea, alternating different exercises on different days. The
actual exercise you do doesn’t matter, as long as you get moving.
- Most important here: start out really easy. People
tend to start out with a lot of enthusiasm, and then burn out, skip a
workout or two, and then the plan has failed. In this plan, you want to
go short and slow. If you normally run 3-4 miles, for example, just run
1-2 miles. Go for about half of what you think you can do. You can
always add more later.
- It’s important that you try to do it every day.
Mark your successes on your calendar — gold stars always work well —
and try to keep the marks going every day. If you can do short, easy
workouts, and mix up the exercises a little, you can do it every day.
- Set aside some time to do this every day. If you’ve had success working out in the morning before, use that time. Otherwise, do it right after work.
- Strength. Another point is that you can do
strength workouts, but don’t do anything too hard in the first couple
of weeks. Just some pushups, crunches, lunges, squats, with no weights.
That might sound easy to some of you, but the key, again, is to start
- Just start. Last key point: if you are feeling
resistance to exercising, just tell yourself that you have to lace up
your shoes and get out the door. How long you do it doesn’t matter —
even 5 minutes is good. I bet, though, that once you start, you’ll want
to keep going for at least 15 minutes.
Step 2: Replace fatty and greasy foods with healthier foods.
You’re not going to go on a diet. But take a look at what you eat, and
try to slowly replace the greasier and fattier foods you eat (think:
fast food, or fried food) with healthier alternatives.
Some key points for this step:
- Examples: if you cook fried chicken, try baked
instead. If you eat burgers, try a veggie burger or a low-fat turkey
sandwich. If you eat pizza, try making your own pizza, with a
store-bought crust, pizza sauce, veggies, and olive oil, with no
cheese. You get the idea.
- Gradual change: Now, you don’t need to change all
these foods overnight. But after you do the 30-day exercise challenge
in Step 1, do a second 30-day challenge where you replace one fatty
food a day with a healthier alternative. Slowly, replace more and more
fatty foods with healthier ones. You’ll get used to it over the course
of a month.
- Exercise: Also continue the daily exercise in the second month, increasing the duration of your workouts a little at a time if you can.
Step 3: Eat smaller meals, more frequently. Once
you start getting used to less fatty foods, try eating smaller
portions, and eating 5-6 times per day instead of just 3 big meals.
Some key points:
- The 5-6 meals: A good schedule is to eat
breakfast, then a mid-morning snack, then a small early lunch, then a
second small lunch a couple of hours later, then a small late-afternoon
snack, then a small, light dinner. If that’s too much, just try adding
a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack, and make the main three meals
- Snacks: Make sure that your snacks are healthy
ones. Good ones include fruits, nuts, low-fat pretzels, low-fat cheese,
low-fat yogurt, cut up veggies.
- Wait: For your meals, try eating just one
moderate-size serving. If you feel like a second serving, wait 20
minutes, then see if you’re full. It’s important that you gradually
reduce your portions, and learn to eat only until you’re satiated, not
until you’re bursting.
Step 4: Intensify exercise slowly. Once you’ve gone
a month or so doing very short and easy workouts each day, and your
body is used to daily exercise, you can gradually intensify the
- Duration: The first thing you should increase is
the duration of your workouts. Without working out any harder, keeping
the low intensity of your previous workouts, just add 5 minutes to your
workout. Stick to this new duration for 2-3 workouts, then add another
5 minutes. Your goal is to get to about 40-45 minutes (although
eventually doing an hour once a week is good too).
- Intensity: After your body gets used to going for
longer, once a week or so, try a slightly more intense workout. First,
make the duration of the workout much shorter for this intense workout.
For example, instead of running or walking for 40 minutes, do 20
minutes. Second, go harder in intervals. For example, do 3-4 minutes at
a faster pace, then go at an easy pace, then a faster pace, and so on.
Be sure to warm up first, and cool down at the end. When you first
start doing the intervals, do them only at a slightly higher intensity,
gradually increasing that intensity as the weeks go by.
- Hard-easy: If you do longer or more intense
workouts, be sure to follow them with an easy workout. For example, if
you do a longer workout of 45 minutes, just do 20-25 minutes the next
day. Or if you do interval workouts one day, do a short easy one the
next day. Consider the longer or more intense workouts your “hard”
days, and never have two hard days in a row — otherwise, you may get
injured or burn out.
Step 5: Replace sugary foods with healthier treats.
The next target food area is sugary foods. Just as you did with fatty
foods, try to replace them with healthier alternatives one at a time.
With the combination of lower fat and less sugar in your diet, and your
exercise, you should start losing weight much faster by this step.
Some points to make:
- Challenge: Just like with the fatty foods, try
another 30-day challenge with the sweets. See if you can go the whole
month without sweets! Or try a more gradual approach, and have less
- Cheat day: If you try a month without sweets, I
suggest a cheat day. For me, it’s Saturday, when I can eat whatever
desserts I want. Interestingly, I don’t eat as many desserts on my
cheat days as I used to. It’s not like I pig out, although I don’t
restrict myself either.
- Alternatives: Come up with a list of alternatives
to sweets, stock up on them, and get rid of the sweets in your house.
For example, if you usually have a candy bar for a snack, have fruits
or veggies instead. Often we just want something to munch on.
- Drinks: If you drink sodas or juices, cut out
those calories by drinking water, exclusively (except perhaps for a
single cup of coffee in the morning).
- Whole grains: If you haven’t yet, look for whole grain alternatives to things you might be eating, including cereal, bread, brown rice, etc.
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