For the first 30 days, we focused on achieving a healthy mind. We learned how health is built on habits, so we focused on reprogramming your bad habits to turn them into good habits. Now that your mind is on track, we can use those changes to power the next journey: reaching your healthy weight, but first, your weekly habit of health.
Weekly Habit of Health: Drink Water
In addition to the Weekly Habits of Health that you’ve adopted in the previous four weeks, strive to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Water is essential to a healthy body, and simply drinking enough water can dramatically improve how you feel each day.
Create a New Energy Management System
To reach and maintain a healthy weight, you need to take control of your energy management system—that is, calories in and calories out. It’s also critical to get your body out of fat-storage mode and into fat-burning mode by controlling your body’s release of insulin.
Take a look at this chart of our typical eating pattern. Does this resemble the way you eat? When we eat meals that are high in fat, sugar, and simple carbohydrates, our blood sugar and insulin levels increase and facilitate the accumulation of excess fat. This lesson is designed to help you fire your current energy management system and enter your new leptogenic world through a comprehensive approach that puts you in charge.
Eating a little healthier or walking a little more isn’t going to get you to your healthy weight because the evil forces out there—tempting you with calories and offering you a nice, cushy ride in place of exercises—are just too powerful. The” steady as you go” approach just isn’t going to work for most of us, but it does provide a foundation for us to begin using our biological design to our advantage.
We’ll start by giving you a new eating strategy. Look at it this way: if I can help you lose two to five pounds of fat per week while keeping you from being hungry and eliminating your cravings for carbohydrates, and if a little later (after you have lost some weight) all I ask of you is thirty minutes of your time for a nice walk… will you do it? I hope your answer is yes.
The Logistics of Healthy Eating
Can you eat every three hours? If so, you can change your life. A study by David Jenkins, MD, PhD—the University of Toronto pioneer in low-glycemic eating—demonstrates that eating small portions at frequent intervals is good for your health in a number of important, even remarkable ways. Among those benefits are weight loss, hunger control, reduced blood insulin, and reduced LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
Here’s the schedule that you’ll use during your weight-loss phase, which I call Phase I in my book The Habits of Health:
7:00 a.m. breakfast
10:00 a.m. nourishment
1:00 p.m. nourishment (or small lunch)
4:00 p.m. nourishment
7:00 p.m. dinner
9:30-10:00 p.m. small nourishment
Like many of my new patients, you may be thinking: I don’t have time. It takes too much effort to prepare meals. It’s inconvenient. It doesn’t fit my lifestyle. Don’t worry—I’ve got you covered. You will learn to plan your meals in advance to make sure that you have healthy morsels of fuel with you wherever you go. It’s quite easy to manage, logistically. More importantly, it’s easy to manage biologically, and that’s the point. You won’t have hunger pangs. You’ll feel satisfied and in control.
Tomorrow, we begin this process by creating a microenvironment of health. I hope you’re thirsty, because you should already be drinking your first 8-ounce glass of water!