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Give Up the Extra Weight For Good

Do you want to release weight and maintain your ideal size for the rest of your life?

I want to help.

Writing this article makes me a bit nervous. I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist. There are billions of dollars of weight loss products and services out there. Why can I help?

I still fit into the same size two clothes I wore in high school. (My Grandma was right that a little black dress never goes out of style.) I've stayed the same size two consistently over the years, except for my pregnancies. With each pregnancy, I put on between thirty and thirty-five pounds. My blood boils when I see super skinny pregnant women. I want to shout at them, "Feed your unborn baby!"

After each pregnancy, I was back down to my size two within three to four months. I want to add in here that for the past thirteen years, I've had no membership to a gym. I have no pass to a yoga studio. And while I adore swimming laps in the summer, I struggle to find the time in the winter to make it to the indoor pool.

May I add that I eat pizza, hamburgers, chocolate, and pastries regularly? 

I want you to throw out all preconceived ideas right now about what it takes to lose and then maintain your ideal weight. It isn't about depriving yourself. It isn't about sweating for hours at a gym.

Am I making it sound too good to be true?

Yes. Because achieving your ideal weight is a lot of work. It isn't for the faint of heart. You can't just spend a few weeks eating salads and sweating it out on a treadmill. You can't just join a gym and go regularly, or add a few more servings of salad onto your plate at lunch every day.

You need to take a holistic approach. It isn’t just what you eat, but when. It isn’t just how much you exercise, but what you do and at what time of day.

So let’s break the day down from waking up to going to sleep. Incorporate these elements into your lifestyle. Then be PATIENT. This process is not a quick fix. But it is a LASTING one. Take the weight off this way, and you will keep it off. 

Step 1: Half a liter of water on waking

The first thing you do in the morning should be to drink a liter of water. Press one garlic clove onto a spoon; set aside for five minutes. Squeeze one entire lemon into a glass of water, preferably boiled water at room temperature. Swallow down the spoon of pressed garlic and chase with the glass of lemon water. I know, yuck right? But it works. Now, if your body and GI tract are healthy, you will feel fine after this. But if you have some terrible company flourishing in your digestive system, you will feel nauseous or unwell. Make sure you have time to lie down for a minute if you don't feel good and take heart. That garlic and lemon are working to kill off and purge you of any unwelcome entities in your system.

Step 2: At least 30 minutes of exercise in the morning

The morning is the most effective time to exercise. Your body is lighter because your digestive system has at least an eight-hour break. So don’t ruin your body’s lightness by eating even a piece of toast before starting your exercise routine in the morning. Aim to exercise at least thirty minutes, and preferably sixty minutes in the morning, five consecutive days a week. No matter what exercise you choose to do in the morning, start with fifty push-ups and thirty leg lifts. I promise this will change the way your body looks and how you feel for the rest of the day. You might have to summon a surge of willpower to force yourself through the five minutes. (I still have to.) Don’t skip this step. And if you are super strong and can do more than fifty pushups, wow. 

 I recommend yoga next. You can sign up for my free yoga classes on*Yoga With Heather Youtube and they will stream right to your living room or garden terrace. I'm sure you have read or heard about the multiple physical and mental health benefits of a regular yoga practice. I won't detail it now. If you want to find out more, then read all about yoga’s goodness here. 

Sorry, Heather, I'm not a yoga person. Oh yeah? Well, since you're doing it in the privacy of your own home, why not give it one more try? You might feel differently in the privacy of your own home than in a studio class.

Still not convinced? Okay my friend, then grab those running shoes and head out for a run, and be sure to stretch afterward. Or you can try tai chi, the Miranda method, weight training, or ballet conditioning. If you want fast results, then focus on selecting an exercise that will both strengthen and elongate your muscles; you will look leaner, and faster. Yoga, ballet, and the Miranda method are perfect for this.

There is no need to waste travel time to a studio or gym. Just select a practice you enjoy (or at least don’t hate), find a live stream and press play. Do half an hour to an hour, Monday through Friday without fail. 

Step 3: Drink your coffee black

Yes, you have to drink your coffee or tea, black: no sugar, no milk. Oh, how I love a pumpkin spice latte or a caramel caffè macchiato. Coffee drinks full of milk, yes even if it is no fat and sugar, yes, even if it is Splenda, will cause weight gain. I promise you. There is just no getting around step 3. You must drink your coffee and tea black if you want to lose weight and maintain your ideal weight.

Step 4: Fast at least three mornings a week

This one may make you grumpy. A critical component of my delicious glow weight plan is to not eat anything from seven pm until 11:45 am the next day, at least three days a week. I promise you; it's worth it.

Research has shown that regular fasting is beneficial for your health. If you want to read more about the research, you can learn about the wellness wonders of fasting here. Or, you can take my word for it and try it for yourself. 

I prefer scientific research over someone's opinion any day. I have the most respect for advice I can go try it out for myself to find out if it works.

Step 5: Drink half a liter of water before lunch, and chase with a handful of nuts.

The majority of us don't drink enough water. The only way to change that is to make drinking water a part of your routine. Down a half a glass of water before lunch. Then enjoy a handful of almonds, cashews, or walnuts. Nuts are packed with goodness and have multiple health benefits. 

Step 6: Make Lunch your most substantial meal of the day.

Step 7: Start your lunch with crunchy uncooked veggies

Every single day you should eat two full cups of uncooked vegetables, such as cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, red peppers, and chicory. Yes, you read that right. Two cups of cut-up vegetables. And no, you can't just eat a plate full of salad leaves.

This is the pivotal element in the entire loss and keeping off excess weight. I have not had good results with eating green-leaf salads. They don't keep me full, long enough. Another issue is that they are healthy, but only have one set of nutrients. By cutting up two full cups of at least four different kinds of vegetables, you are getting a powerhouse of nutrition from various sources. For good measure, I throw on some dark greens on the top, but they are the topping, not the foundation.

Add in at least half a cup of shredded cabbage every day. Red cooked beets, chickpeas, and red beans are also great, nutrition-packed foods you should alternate adding you're your uncooked veggies. Throw a handful of salad leaves on top of your vegetables.

Last of all, add a tablespoon of an all-natural salad dressing, which is devoid of E numbers, saturated fat, sugar, and preservatives. The best bet would be to add a tablespoon of cold-pressed olive oil, flaxseed, or almond oil to your salad with some vinegar to taste.

Step 8: Eat what you want, but it has to be ‘real food.'

Now that you’ve eaten your two cups of at least four different kinds of vegetables, it’s time to eat whatever you want for lunch. Really! Enjoy some slices of pizza, or comforting mashed potatoes and turkey, or whatever your heart desires. 

There is a catch though. It needs to be homemade from scratch. No more going out to eat. YES. No more going out to eat.

Listen, I know you're tired. Not everyone loves to cook. (I don't either.) But there is no getting around cooking if you want to lose and maintain your ideal weight. Goodbye going out to eat. Hello, ‘real food' groceries. Get rid of all the processed food in the house. Cooking at home does not mean packaged or pre-prepared food. Processed food is full of sugar, saturated fat, coloring, and preservatives that are causing your weight gain and your metabolism to spin out of control.

Take control back. Only buy whole vegetables, fruit, grains, and proteins. 

The golden lining is that you can make pizza, lasagna, wholegrain pasta alfredo, and more dishes that would usually be off of a ‘normal' dieting list if you make them homemade. You won't gain weight.  

You need to eat a reasonable portion, which means, two cups of pasta, two to three slices of pizza, and one cup of lasagna. Portion control is important.

You will discover that it isn’t difficult to eat a smaller portion of the main entrée after eating so many vegetables. I promise!

When my Mom comes to eat she is always a bit hesitant to go with my flow and eat the portions I put in front of her. She doesn't think she should be eating so much food in one meal. But she always comments by the end of the trip on how much better she feels eating her most substantial meal in the middle of the day.

Step 9: walk for 10 minutes in the fresh air every day

Sometime in the afternoon, you need to head outside for at least ten minutes of walking or strolling. I am not sure why spending at least ten minutes outside has such a powerful impact on maintaining a healthy weight. It could have something to do with receiving a dose of vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D is critical for mental and physical health. You can read more about the rejuvenating effect of getting enough vitamin D here. Perhaps future research will reveal that vitamin D has an impact on metabolism.

Strolling around the block doesn’t exactly get your heart pumping. It certainly doesn’t use up that many calories. So why does it have such a slimming effect? 

People, I’m just not sure why that ten-minute stroll outside is so pivotal. 

What I can tell you, is that I have controlled the other elements in this plan, and removed the ten-minute stroll. What happened? My weight started to inch up. It wasn't dramatic, but it was there. It didn't make much sense to me, as I was adding ten minutes more of yoga in the morning to compensate. So it wasn't as if my exercise time for the day was less than before.

I hypothesize that the ten minutes of movement outside, in the fresh air, recharges your metabolism. It reactivates your digestive system. It just wakes everything up.

A side benefit of the ten-minute walk is that I sit back down to work refreshed and well, just happier. Now that’s a short break worth taking.

Step 10: Eat fruit and nuts at some time between three and five in the afternoon

Eat a plate of fruit and nuts in the afternoon to give your body some energy when it starts to drag in the afternoon. Cut up an apple, kiwi, orange, or even better, grab a bowl of berries. Berries are the best choice because they are packed with not only vitamins but powerful antioxidants that help repair your cells. Who doesn't want a mouthful of regeneration?

Step 11: Drink a spice or herbal tea before dinner

Drink another half liter of water before dinner to hydrate your body and dampen your hunger. Often people think they are hungry and eat more than they should because they are dehydrated.

Step 12: Eat a whole-food dinner packed with fiber and protein

For dinner eat a green salad as well as an entrée. Just be sure to only eat whole grains, lean protein, fruit, and vegetables. I highly recommend that you eat very little meat for dinner.

 Instead, one dinner idea I recommend is eating plain, no-sugar-added yogurt with whole grains mixed in, such as oats, puffed quinoa, and amaranth. Mix in a teaspoon of chia seeds and a teaspoon of flaxseeds. If you can, grind the flaxseeds in your coffee grinder so that your body is better able to absorb the nutrients from the flax. You can also grate an apple to mix into your yogurt or throw in some berries. 

From scratch, homemade soups are a healthy comfort food that will fill you up. The easiest soup to make is to throw in some chopped carrots and celery into vegetable broth for a few minutes, then add some whole grain noodles and a handful of diced, already cooked chicken you have leftover. You can serve the soup with a slice of whole-grain bread. 

Step 13: Eat a treat sometime in the day

Don’t deprive yourself. If you find yourself craving a pastry, brownie, chocolate, a bowl of chips, or the like, go ahead, you can indulge! Just make the rule that you need to eat an entire apple or orange first, and five almonds or walnuts, first. It may seem counterintuitive because you are planning to eat more food than just that brownie. 

Here's the jumping point though. Will you eat one brownie, or bowl of chips, and not want more? Probably not. The apple is full of fiber, and the nuts are full of protein, both of which will work to make you feel satisfied and full. So when you savor that decadent piece of velvet chocolate cake, you will be able to resist indulging in one more piece, (too many).

Step 14: Elevate your heart rate for an hour on Saturday or Sunday

Wait a second Heather, you want me to do thirty to sixty minutes of yoga, Monday through Friday, and then I still have to work out on the weekends too? What?

Listen, this hour could be cleaning your house top to bottom, working an hour in your garden, going for a bike ride or walk with your friends, kids, or partner. It could be climbing a mountain, or swimming in a turquoise sea. You could be power shopping for an hour, or pacing around watching your kid’s soccer game. Hey, the point is, whatever you want folks. Just be sure to move.

Step 15: Sleep at least 7-8 hours a night

You can't attain and keep your ideal weight without getting enough shut-eye. So turn off that TV show, put down the work, leave the party, and relax in bed. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep will impede all your best efforts at losing weight. Imagine you work hard following all the steps I listed from the moment you wake up until the time you rest your head on your pillow and close your eyes for the night. If you go to bed too late, you still won't lose the weight!

We are increasingly an action-orientated culture, so it doesn’t sound right that by spending more time in bed, we will achieve better health. It isn’t too good to be true. To read more about the power of a good night’s sleep, read more here. 

Final step: Relax & Enjoy life.

Hey Heater, black coffee? Do I have to cook everything from scratch? A half hour of yoga every day? Wait, what? I don't have time for that. Frankly, my dear, a permanent life like that doesn’t sound much fun. Picking up my two-shot double whip, nonfat, one-pump vanilla latte is the best part of my morning!

Listen, I understand. 

So don’t say never to your favorite coffee drink. Just say, rarely. Make it a treat you get on special occasions.


While I was on holiday recently in Lewiston visiting my 92-year-old Grandpa Harry Chinchinian, I drank mug after steaming a mug of pumpkin spice lattes, mochas, and caramel macchiatos with my Grandpa and my Mom. We went out to eat, and I enjoyed plate after plate of restaurant pizza, French fries, and waffles. 

Hey, one needs to enjoy life sometimes. 

I did come back seven pounds heavier though. If you decide to take a week off from the weight plan, then here is what you need to do when you get back:

Up your fasting mornings from three to five per week.

Up your morning exercise to one hour, five days a week instead of half an hour.

Add in an hour of walking on Saturday and Sunday.

Give up sugar. (You’ll be grumpy, so warn your loved ones.)

Wishing you radiant health, joy, and abundance, Heather

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