According to a recent online post in the US News and World Report, 62 percent of American’s resolved to exercise more, 60 percent had a goal of eating better, and 46 percent wanted to lose weight in 2010. These aspirations are great but it’s no secret that most New Year’s resolutions are little more than memories by the time February rolls around—and some don’t even last that long.
Losing weight and getting in shape can be difficult, especially if you turn to starvation diets, insane workout regimens, or other drastic measures. But we’ve recently instituted a program at the Whitaker Wellness Institute that helps patients shed pounds, get their diabetes under control, lower blood pressure, and improve health overall. It’s a mini-fast coupled with exercise and it’s so easy, just about anyone can do it.
- When you wake up in the morning, drink a glass of water or a cup of coffee or tea. It’s okay to sweeten your AM beverage with a little low-calorie sweetener such as xylitol or stevia and to add a small amount of creamer but don’t drink or eat anything else.
- Next, get out and exercise moderately for 20-45 minutes. You can walk, cycle, or jog—anything aerobic.
- After your workout, continue on with your day but do not eat or drink anything other than water, coffee, or tea until lunchtime. (You may also take your nutritional supplements if they don’t upset your stomach.) You will probably have to try it to believe it but the combination of exercise and fasting actually blunts your appetite, and the caffeine in tea and coffee helps to put the brakes on hunger as well.
- Your mini-fast ends at lunch. You should eat sensibly for the rest of the day, focusing on lean protein sources such as turkey, chicken, fish, and eggs, and low-glycemic carbohydrates like beans and legumes, fiber-rich veggies, and a little fruit.
Skipping your morning meal not only cuts down on the calories you take in but adding exercise burns additional calories and helps kick-start fat burning in a process called ketosis.
In a recent study of obese individuals, participants who followed this mini-fast protocol for 12 weeks lost 16 pounds of fat (25 percent of their initial fat mass) plus three inches around the waist. The biggest losers were a man and woman who respectively lost an astonishing 44 and 31 pounds of fat! Additionally, the group’s fasting insulin fell by one-quarter, into the normal range.
Try the mini-fast/exercise combo yourself and let me know how it works for you. Don’t be surprised if you see improvements in all aspects of your health—from lower blood sugar readings and better blood pressure to improvements in energy, weight, and so much more. Good luck to you and here’s to starting 2010 off right.