Personalize Your ProgramSarah dropped 35 pounds and two dress sizes in time for her 10-year high school reunion. Her family, friends, doctor, and coworkers complimented her on how wonderful she looked. "Denise, you have helped me to look and feel better about myself--thanks for your motivation."
There is only one you. You are unique in every way, from your fingerprints to your sense of humor, and from your reason to lose those last 10 pounds to how you need to do it. I created this plan as a framework for all of us. But since we're all different, you and I need to work together to develop your own individual weight-loss plan. The first thing that we need to do is figure out where you are and where you need to go. Read the scenarios presented here and take some time to find the one that most closely applies to you. This way, you'll be able to focus on your specific needs as we work together over the next 28 days.Situation 1: You have a big event coming up...a wedding, a reunion or vacation to a sunny place.
Your goal is set: You need to fit into a snug bridesmaid dress. You hope to look "exactly the same" at your high school reunion. You want to throw on a bikini instead of shorts and an oversized T-shirt when you hit the beach. And you have just four weeks to make it happen!
First, let's get your priorities straight. For the next four weeks, you need to stay focused on your goal. This may mean making substantial changes to your routine. I'm going to ask you to devote at least half an hour a day to exercise. You'll have to say a loud "No!" to temptations like rich desserts and alcohol. You may have to spend less time watching TV and more time planning healthy meals. Or you may have to make other concessions, such as going to bed earlier so you can get up in the morning to do your workout. But trust me--the end result will be worth it!
A month before I begin the filming schedule for my television show, I really start watching my diet and exercising more. I know that in a few short weeks, I'll be putting on a leotard and stepping in front of a camera. And we all know that the TV camera can make a few extra pounds look like 10. So donuts are out and longer workouts are in. Although it might be difficult at first, I'm always happy later--and usually I'm happy during, too. When I eat well and exercise regularly, I'm full of energy and confidence. And you will be, too.
To stay focused on your goal, keep imagining yourself without those extra pounds you've been wearing--and with a tighter tummy and more muscle tone in all the places you want it most. Post positive reminders (phrases like "You can do it!" or "You deserve to feel good!") on your refrigerator, your calendar and your desk at work. Remember that every minute you exercise brings you that much closer to your goal. Let your loved ones and coworkers in on your plan and ask for their help. A good support system is often the key to successful weight loss.
No matter how anxious you are to shed those last 10 pounds, don't do anything drastic like starving yourself. Extremely low-calorie fad diets may help you drop some weight fast, but the weight you lose will be water and muscle tissue. By the time your big event arrives, you probably won't have the energy to enjoy it. You won't have done a thing to firm up those flabby areas. And you're almost guaranteed to gain back the weight as soon as you start eating normally again.
Your goal may be to fit into a new dress size for a particular event, but I want you to fit into that new dress size forever. If you follow the steps presented in this book, you'll learn new habits to help you lose and keep the weight off. You'll feel (and look) so good at end of four weeks that you won't want to go back to your unhealthy habits. I promise!Situation 2: You've already lost some weight but have hit a plateau.
Talk about frustrating! You've lost 15, 20 or maybe even 30 pounds and dropped a dress or a belt size or two. Then all your progress seems to trickle to a stop, and the scale gets stuck about 10 pounds above where you want to be.
Weight-loss plateaus happen for different reasons. In your case, you've probably been following the same routine for too long. You've been consuming the same foods day in and day out, and your exercise program hasn't changed since you started working out. The good news is that your body has adapted to it and learned how to do it more efficiently. The bad news is that since your muscles aren't working as hard as they did in the beginning, you're burning fewer calories with each workout.
Don't quit now! Getting past a plateau can be tough--but it can be done. You just need to shake things up and give your metabolism a little kick. You can begin by making changes to your diet. While my eating plan encourages you to experiment with different foods, you can also try changing how you eat. Smaller, more frequent meals are key, as they enable you to keep your body constantly fueled throughout the day--without overdoing it. Whatever you do, DON'T SKIP MEALS! Depriving yourself of calories causes your metabolism to slow down and will ultimately defeat your efforts to reach your target weight. We'll discuss this more in chapter two.
To keep your body burning as many calories as possible, you need to keep your muscles guessing. The program in this book is designed so that you never do the same aerobic workout twice in one week. If you decide not to follow the aerobic workouts I've provided, try creating your own mix-and-match schedule. Do my Sizzler
video one day. Another day, ride an exercise bike, go swimming or play tennis. On the next day, jump rope, climb stairs or take a power walk. Make it your goal to stimulate as many different muscle fibers as possible.
If you have a favorite workout that you love, you don't have to abandon it. Just mix things up a bit by changing your intensity, time or tempo. If walking is your thing, try changing your routine a bit. Walk hills. Add a few minutes of slow jogging. Really pump your arms to get your upper body involved. Take a long, slow walk one day and a short, superfast walk the next. Throw in some skips or jump up and touch a tree branch (when no one's looking, of course.)
In Chapter 2, I'll discuss interval training--a fabulous fat-burning workout. If you've been exercising regularly and are in relatively good shape, this could be the ticket to jump-starting your metabolism. If you're just launching an exercise program, you'll need to build a solid fitness base before getting into interval training--it's intense, and doing too much too soon can create unhealthy stresses on your bones, joints and muscles.
You've worked hard to get where you are. Now the key is to work smart.
You may resist change at first, but give it a try. You'll be surprised at how fun and liberating it can be. You're close to your goal...just hang in there!Situation 3: You still have 20 or more pounds to lose.
You're probably thinking that this book is just for those lucky people who have only to lose 10 pounds or less. Not so. Whether you need to lose seven pounds or 47 pounds, you have to start somewhere--and this book is the perfect place. Why? My plan is designed to create healthy eating and exercise habits that will last a lifetime. No matter how much you have to lose, you need to do it safely and effectively. It's the only way to do it without experiencing a rebound.
Since you have more than 10 pounds to lose, you're going to have to work longer than 28 days--but believe me, you'll be happy you did. I know it's difficult and intimidating, so pace yourself by focusing on small goals. Use my plan to lose 10 pounds, then do it again, and again, and again, until you've reached your ideal weight. Small goals are wonderful, because they allow you to measure your success. With every 10 pounds you lose, you'll feel better and better. And if you feel great, you'll want to keep going! You'll change your habits to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet and less fast food. As you become stronger and more fit, change your routine regularly by adding intensity and interval training to help you avoid a weight-loss plateau. You will have a new found awareness and respect for you body and your health, and I promise you, the weight will come off.
Recently, my mom needed to lose 20 pounds. The weight had crept on over the years--and because she had high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a family history of heart disease (her father died of a heart attack at age 44), she knew that she had to trim down. At first, she felt overwhelmed and kept putting it off, so I encouraged her to begin by setting her goal at 10 pounds--and she did. By cutting back on junk food and exercising more (she did my Lifetime TV show Fit & Lite
every weekday morning), she was able to lose those first 10. Even better, her cholesterol went down 20 points. So did her blood pressure, and she was able to cut her blood pressure medication dosage in half. She felt so encouraged that she's decided to keep going and try to lose the remaining 10.
The more weight you lose, the more fun you will have incorporating movement and exercise into your daily routine. Don't get discouraged when you first start exercising. If you walk half a mile every day for a week, the next week you'll be able to walk three quarters of a mile, and eventually a whole mile. Exercise will become increasingly easier, and before you know it you'll be following along with the exercise plans I've outlined. Remember: Losing the first 10 pounds deserves as much applause as losing the last 10!Situation 4: You're a new mom.
First off, let me say congratulations! Motherhood is a truly joyous experience. From the moment you feel the first kick inside of you, you learn the meaning of unconditional love and understand what life is about. But it also can be a bit of a shock. Suddenly it feels as if you have a new body, and you wonder whether you'll ever get your old one back.
I know--I've done it twice. With each of my pregnancies, I gained 35 pounds. By the time I left the hospital, I'd lost only 10 pounds and my belly was so big and mushy that I looked as if I had another baby on the way. I had 25 pounds to lose and a lot of work to do to get my tummy back to its usual size and shape. The pounds slowly came off--and the last 10 were the hardest. But with a little sweat and perseverance, I was successful.
Whether you had your baby two months or two years ago, you can be successful, too. Personally, I think it's best to start losing the baby fat soon after delivery. Otherwise, it's easy to let the extra pounds accumulate. But you still can lose the weight and reshape your body, even if your "baby" is now a preschooler or even a teenager. It's never
too late to get started.
The four-week eating plan in this book provides good, balanced nutrition for both nursing and non-nursing moms. If you are breast-feeding, you'll need to add 500 extra calories a day; when your baby's relying on you for sustenance, you don't want to cut back on calories too much--and breast-feeding burns 300 to 500 extra calories a day. To support your milk supply, aim to get those extra calories from calcium-rich foods such as yogurt or cheese.
If you're a brand-new mom, you should get your obstetrician's approval before beginning an exercise program. With vaginal deliveries, most doctors recommend waiting two to four weeks to resume full activity. If you had a C-section, you should wait a little longer--maybe starting with slow walks at week four and slowly building up to full activity after six weeks. Always listen to your body; don't do too much too soon.
Of course, your abdominal muscles will be in serious need of attention. Tightening your tummy after having a baby is no different from doing it any other time--you just need to start slowly and be patient! In this book, you'll find some of the best postpartum abdominal exercises, such as the Reverse Crunch and the Basic Crunch. As with everything else, consistency is key. Once your doctor gives you two thumbs up, begin doing crunches every day, then gradually work in other abdominal exercises.
If you have a newborn, your next question will probably be "But when
will I find the time to exercise?" My answer: You have to grab every chance that you get--and there are more chances than you realize. When I had my two beautiful girls, Katie and Kelly, I would do toning exercises during their morning naps. Twice a day, I would put them in a carriage and go for half-hour walks. Once your baby is about four months old, you can also put him or her in a baby jogger and do one of my 30 exercise videos or my morning show on Lifetime.
It won't always be easy. But keep reminding yourself that you're doing something good for both you and your family. Exercise will give you energy so you'll be better able to handle the demands of being a new mom. You'll teach your baby and any other children the importance of good health habits. Plus, you'll feel better about yourself--and you'll pass those positive feelings along to your kids!Situation 5: You've gained 10 pounds because you quit smoking or are recovering from an injury or surgery.
If you just quit smoking, you get my hearty congratulations! You have just taken the single biggest step toward improving your health. Smoking causes more than 400,000 deaths in the United States each year; you would have to gain 100 to 150 pounds after quitting to make your health risk equal to what it was when you smoked. So don't let the extra pounds you've gained tempt you to light up again. My fat-busting plan can help you return to your former weight while controlling your cravings for nicotine. The key? Exercise. Instead of reaching for the lighter, walk around the block, go for a jog or walk up and down the steps at your office. Your body will release endorphins that elevate your mood and make you feel better--the same thing a cigarette used to do. Since nicotine is an artificial stimulant that helps keep you going, exercise--a stimulant--is an excellent substitute.
Many former smokers gain weight because they replace cigarettes with food. One of my metabolism-boosting strategies is to eat more often, so you satisfy your need to go from hand to mouth with healthy snacks like celery sticks filled with peanut butter, juicy apple slices or watermelon chunks, or bowls of crunchy cereal. Be sure to stock up on good-for-you snacks both at home and the office, so you don't end up reaching for fattening junk food if a nicotine craving strikes. You can refer to the daily meal plans listed later in this book for more ideas.
Are you recovering from an injury or surgery? Then chances are you've simply been sedentary for too long. Your body has forgotten how great it feels to move and exercise. Once you get your doctor's OK, you need to start slowly and do what you can at your own pace. If you've suffered an ankle injury, for example, concentrate on upper-body exercises while you build up strength in your ankle. If you can't do one particular move, pick another--don't use your injury as an excuse to skip exercising. Check with your doctor or physical therapist to find the exercises that are suitable for you and do them regularly. The most important thing is to keep moving in whatever way you can. You may not be able to do it all, but don't let that stop you. You can still do it--I know you can!
As we move forward, keep your special needs in mind. I'll remind you of what's best for your specific circumstances, but only you know your real limitations. My plan is designed to meet the needs of many people. You can pick and choose what feels good and what works for you. Instead of being restricted to a dull diet and boring routines, I want you to explore all the different food and exercise options and see how great they make you feel. This will be your pathway to better health...and a better body.
Next stop--revving up your metabolism!From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from Lose Those Last Ten Pounds by Denise Austin. . Excerpted by permission of Random House Audio, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.