How Bad Do You Want It?
I recently read a scary statistic: By 2017, 85 percent of Americans will bevery, very heavy—obese, really. That's not too far away. I fear the badhabits, the poor choices, the lack of motivation, and the non-active lifestylesthat are leading people in that direction. I don't want to sound alarmist, butthe truth is, people are in big trouble. You might even be one of them, andthat's why you bought this book.
This is not overblown information, nor is it based on false info. This is real.This is serious. This is a big wake-up call; it's something we need to deal withbefore it hurts or kills us. This, folks, is our growing weight problem.
Now, you may not be obese—you may not need to lose 50, 30, or even 20pounds—but still, I'm sure you'll agree with me: It's great to look goodand be in shape. What we need to understand, though, is that excess weight isn'tjust a cosmetic problem; it can be a health hazard—a serious one.Controlling your weight is definitely about looking fine, but it's also abouthow well—and in many cases how long—you will live.
There are plenty of diets and programs out there to help, but it's likely thatnothing has worked for you. Maybe you lost weight—and then gained it back.Maybe you just weren't ready to make the commitment to a healthier lifestyle.Whatever the problem, something has to change. You need to drop the weight andget healthy once and for all.
Enough about the bad news. The good news is that no one has to be overweight andsick. We can stop the scary side effects of obesity right now by gearing up in apositive way. In order to do that, I have a solution—a plan I've developedthat has succeeded for everyone I've worked with, because it's realistic andfits into anyone's lifestyle: the 3-1-2-1 Diet. It has worked for many and itwill work for you. By the way, I don't expect anyone to do anything that I don'tpersonally do. This plan is what I live by. It's how I eat and exercise everyweek. And I have a big responsibility to help you do it too. I just hope youwant it bad enough!
EAT AND CHEAT
The 3 and the 2 parts of this plan are the days you're going toeat clean and healthy. The 1 part is when you get to cheat on the diet.
Cheat? Dolvett, are you kidding me?
No, I'm not kidding you. Practically every diet that was ever developed involvesdeprivation. Banned foods. Whole food groups kicked out. Illegal foods. Badfoods. Don't eat this and don't eat that. You know the drill. Although I hatethe cliché, on my program, you can have your cake and eat it too.
A HISTORY LESSON
When you go on typical diets, you lose body fat, but you also lose muscle.That's not cool, since muscle is your body's main fat-burning tissue. So after atypical deprivation-type diet, you might weigh less, but you'll have a higherpercentage of fat on your body than before because of the muscle you lost. Evenworse, once you return to a normal eating pattern, you're more likely to packaway extra calories as fat. The reason is that your body, in response to thedecrease in calories, slows its metabolism to hold on to fat. In other words,your body doesn't think it's being fed enough, so it stores fat as if there werea famine.
When we were cave people, foraging for berries in the wild and slaying mammothsfor dinner, this fat-storing factor was important for survival. The fat westored was used for energy when food was scarce. And those who could store themost fat had an evolutionary advantage. While this was great for cave people, itsucks if you're trying to look good in a bathing suit.
How times have changed! Food is not scarce; there's a fast-food joint on everystreet corner. And fat people do not have an evolutionary advantage. They tendto die young, and they usually die from obesity-related diseases like heartattacks, diabetes, strokes, and even cancer.
The 3-1-2-1 Diet is not your typical diet. You won't lose muscle and you won'thold on to any fat. Keep reading, and I'll explain why.
ON AGAIN, OFF AGAIN: IGNITE THE FAT BURN
If you've ever lifted weights or done any sort of strength training, you knowhow changing your routine from time to time shocks your body into gettingtighter and fitter. Well, intermittent changes in your caloric intake do thesame thing. On your clean days, you'll be eating fewer calories; on your cheatdays, you'll be eating more calories. Those caloric ups and downs have a coupleof big benefits: They trick your body into believing it has a lot of availablefood (which means no hoarding of fat), and they boost your metabolism, thebody's food-to-fuel process, to burn fat while maintaining as much lean, sexymuscle as humanly possible. In fact, your metabolism is kept completely offbalance because it's not allowed to adapt to any set level of food consumption,so it just keeps running and burning fat.
The basic weekly process is to eat clean for 3 days, cheat for 1 day, eat cleanfor 2 days, and cheat the next day. Obviously, the clean days will have youeating fewer calories, and the cheat days will provide slightly more calories.(See page 72 in Chapter 4 for a specific day-by-day eating guide.)
THE C-WORD: CALORIES
According to a survey I read, more than two-thirds of our population has no cluehow many calories they should eat in a day to lose weight or keep it off. Andmost people are eating way too many calories each day. To my way of thinking,we're in danger of becoming "calorie comatose." And that, friends, is addingto—excuse the pun—our weight problem.
So wake up. Calorie counting is not out of style. After decades ofweight-control schemes that claim to count everything but calories, we now knowwhat really counts: calories! We count calories on The Biggest Loser,and you will count them on this diet, to some extent.
In fact, diets you've been on in the past, like low-carb or low-fat diets,points-based plans, or food exchanges, are all just different ways of countingcalories. And when they didn't work, it was probably because you didn't reallycut down on your calories. I remember a time when low-fat diets were all therage, and lots of fat-free foods hit the market, but dieters got fat anywaybecause they were unaware of all the sugar calories they were packing away byeating those fat-free foods.
Okay, for some perspective, here's a little Calories 101. A calorie is simply atype of measurement, like minutes or miles. But instead of measuring time orlength, you measure the energy value of a particular portion of food. A big slabof cheesecake may have 500 calories, enough energy to get you through an intensehourlong aerobics class. But if you don't go to that class, or its equivalent,your body will store those unused calories as fat.
On your clean days, calorie counting is pretty easy, because I've done it foryou through portion control on your plate. On those 2 days a week when you getto cheat, I will ask you to keep a real close eye on your calories. Women needto eat around 1,500 calories, men around 1,800. Now, before you get too excitedabout cheating, understand that I'm not talking about a diet free-for-all. Ionce had a client come into my training studio with an entire box of fresh-bakedchocolate chip cookies. She was devouring them in front of me right before herworkout. That is not the way to cheat!
THE BIG THREE
You'll be eating the right amounts of fat, protein, carbs, and fiber for weightloss throughout this program. The diet is generally low in fat, and that's goodbecause fat contributes more calories per gram than any other nutrient (9calories per fat gram compared to 4 each for carbohydrates and proteins). To getlean, a great place to begin cutting calories is with your fat intake. On the 3-1-2-1Diet, I treat fat as a condiment, like mustard orhorseradish—something you use sparingly for a little flavor.
Protein is my favorite nutrient. It's the best for developing and preservinglean muscle. Keeping muscle is key because muscle is your body's metabolicregulator. Keep in mind that body-mass muscle is living tissue and burnscalories like an inferno, so the more muscle on your body, the more calories youburn—both at rest and during exercise. If you want low body fat, you musthold on to as much muscle as possible. Protein helps you do that. There's more:Protein keeps you feeling full and zaps hunger pangs. I'll go into more detailon protein in Chapter 2.
While protein is essential to the growth and preservation of muscle,carbohydrates provide the fuel you need to exercise and go about your dailyactivities. If your body doesn't have carbohydrates available for energy, itwon't hesitate to tap into muscle tissue for energy substrates. The carbs on theclean-eating portion of this diet come from healthy foods like certain types offruit, starchy vegetables, and high-fiber whole grains.
I've been putting clients on this diet for years, so I've seen it work wonders.Allow me to share what I've observed. First—and you won't believe this,but it's true—you can expect to lose up to 1 pound a day the very firstweek, particularly after your clean-eating days. The second week, you may lose 3to 4 pounds. From that point forward, your weight loss will be in the range of 2to 3 pounds a week. When you do my workout routine in conjunction with the diet,your weight loss could be even higher.
Your body is housing a certain amount of fat. At any given moment that fat isbeing burned or stored. It's never stagnant. Incorporate this diet into yourlife and get off your tush with my workout, and you'll torch fat more easily andrapidly than you ever thought possible.
My real-life work supports much general research that shows how the bodyresponds to varying caloric intakes and exercising. For example, a study fromthe Netherlands showed that periodic calorie increases can affect oursympathetic nervous system activity. That's the part of the nervous systemmostly involved in stress reactions and metabolism. In plain terms, this studydemonstrated that when people changed their calories from low to high and backto low again, their metabolisms ran more efficiently than if they had kept theircalories low all the time.
Some other studies show that increasing calories periodically with food helpsyou put on more lean muscle. How? Well, scientists have found that this style ofeating naturally jacks up anabolic hormones (chemicals that help the body repairand build tissue) in your body. On the other side of the coin, research tells usthat drastic and continuous calorie cutting (like most diets prescribe) drivesdown those same hormones. The result? You guessed it: muscle loss and fat gain(which is why a lot of diets erode your muscle tissue). Okay, maybe thesestudies won't cause you to fall over in amazement. But they do underline thefact that swings in calorie intake can help you get a hot bod.
Your body will respond positively to this diet. It's simple and will fit yourlifestyle. It's based on balance and common sense regarding food and gettinglean. The 3-1-2-1 Diet is really a long-term eating strategy, not a diet, thoughI call it one. It allows you to manipulate calories on a weekly basis in orderto turn your body into a muscle-building, fat-burning machine—for life.
HOW BIG DO YOU WANT TO LOSE?
Goals are important and make everything we want possible. They add energy,direct our lives, and are one of the truly successful techniques in weightcontrol. If you don't know where you're going, how will you get there?
There's a cool goal-setting method you may have heard about: SMART goals. Thisacronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, rewarding, andtimed. So first, your goal must be specific; in other words, the moredetailed, the better. Saying you'll eat more vegetables is too vague; but sayingyou'll eat 5 servings of vegetables a day is specific. Consider another example:"I want to get in shape" versus "In 1 month, I want to be able to walk a milewithout resting." One is vague, the other specific.
Second, your goal should be measurable—in other words, something you canquantify—such as performing the exercise routine in this book 3 times aweek or identifying an ideal weight you'd like to reach and maintain.
Third, make sure your goals are achievable—within your capabilities,genetics, and age. Sure, I'd like to be an NBA pro, but I'm 5 feet, 6 inches so... that's highly unlikely. Likewise, you can't have the bod of a slim eighteen-year-old(unless of course you are eighteen), because our bodies change and tendto lose muscle as they age, and fat tends to shift. (You can begin to reversethis process now by faithfully following the workout in this book.) Remember therealities of genetics when you set weight-loss goals too. If your family is bigframed, no program will make you a perfect size 2. Healthier, yes. Trimmer, yes.Tiny, probably not.
Fourth, a goal must be rewarding. What I mean is that there should be a sense ofsatisfaction and fulfillment tagged to it. What type of goal will truly inspireyou? Finishing a 5K race? Fitting into a smaller size?
Finally, goals must be timed. For example, if your goal is to perform my workoutthe full 48 minutes each time, at least 4 times a week, wear a watch while youwalk to track the time, and mark on your calendar the 4 days on which you'll dothe workout.
I'll add another criterion here: Make your goals fun and challenging, and choosegoals that make you feel good about yourself: Try a new mind/body class thisweek, experiment with a new recipe, order a salad instead of a fatteningappetizer when you eat out, or switch from your midmorning doughnut to a pieceof fresh fruit. Put your goal list where you can see it, and before you go tobed at night, think about your goals and how you'll achieve them. We achievewhat we believe.
Be sure to test each goal you've written against the SMART criteria, and you'llfind yourself piling up successes left and right. Also, if there are specificsteps you need to take to make your goals happen, record those too. I call thesesteps "mini-goals"—daily goals like eating the right foods, exercising,doing daily affirmations, and all that. Mini-goals are steps toward your majorgoals—those big goals such as reaching your ideal weight or pulling downthose bad cholesterol numbers. Look at it this way: A building is built brick bybrick. A race is won stride by stride. A picture is painted stroke by stroke. Inany program to set new positive habits, it's helpful to make daily manageableresolutions rather than overfocus on far-end goals.
Here are some examples of daily mini-goals:
I will stick to my eating plan today.
I will drink enough water.
I will try one new vegetable today.
I will sprinkle less salt.
I will pay attention to my portion sizes.
I will avoid sugary and fatty foods today.
I will read something inspirational to fuel my mind.
I will do Dolvett's workout.
I will play an active game with my kids.
I will eat a healthy breakfast.
I will practice affirming thoughts.
Do these "I wills" every day, and you will get to your ultimate goal!
And listen, everyone: By the time you hit your goal weight, this way ofexercising and eating will have become second nature, raising your possibilityof successful weight maintenance.
As part of this process, imagine how your life will change after you achieveyour goals. Review your goals from time to time, and congratulate yourself formoving forward.
YOUR IDEAL GOAL WEIGHT
I believe it's vitally important to have a goal weight, or at least a goal rangeyou want to achieve. A lot of people are using a measurement called body massindex, or BMI, to determine goal weights. BMI factors in your height and weightbut doesn't take into account the fact that you might be carrying body-shapingmuscle. Under BMI calculations, you could be considered fat when you have acurvy, defined, and in-shape physique. So I prefer that you use an old standardto find your goal weight, the Metropolitan Life Insurance weight tables. I'veincluded the tables for women and men below. Look at the tables and pick arealistic weight range for your height. Write it down, then stash it away. Thenset your mini-goals to get there.
Excerpted from The 3-1-2-1 Diet by Dolvett Quince. Copyright © 2013 Dolvett Quince. Excerpted by permission of Grand Central Publishing.
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