A one-day diet? Ah, you're thinking, there's a trick to this. And you're right. But it's one that you're going to want to play on yourself.
Of course, we all know that in one day you won't fit into Angelina Jolie's castoffs. But you will have proved to yourself that you can do it - which will give you the confidence and courage to try it for one more day. So often we lose sight of our goals, particularly when we catch sight of a slab of cheesecake that reminds us how "deprived" we've been. On the One-Day Diet, every day is the first day.
Now, here's your first dose of motivation: You can lose up to two inches and 10 pounds in four weeks by following our meal plan. Just as important: Follow these simple rules that will help you zero in on key risk factors for weight gain - and conquer them once and for all.
Related: See the full One-Day Diet plan
Rule 1: Renew Your Vows DailyStart each morning anew, and recommit to sticking to the plan one day at a time, day after day. That helps you keep the energy and motivation that you always bring to a new project...and that can fizzle out once you see how challenging your undertaking is.
As you get out of bed, repeat this mantra: "I am going to follow my plan for the next 24 hours" - and remind yourself of the reasons (Your health? That gorgeous little black dress you bought on sale?) you want to lose weight.Rule 2: Do Something Completely Different Every Day
Add what we call the "George Costanza element" daily. It's based on the Seinfeld character who, in one episode, decided to turn his life around by doing the opposite of what he usually did. (And it worked - at least for 30 minutes.)
Doing something different can help shake up your thought patterns and challenge old habits like "I'm tired; I need a Cinnabon." It's like traveling in a country where they drive on the left-hand side of the road: You're forced to pay more attention to traffic patterns and where all the gears and gadgets are in your car.
Being more mindful about how and when you eat, how you think when you're under stress, and what you could be doing instead will put you in the driver's seat when it comes to your diet. No more popping handfuls of candy, skipping breakfast, or reaching into your grab bag of excuses for why you can't exercise today.
Rule 3: Set Your Kitchen on Automatic
You want to arrange your pantry, fridge, and life so your only choices are good ones. Don't worry; there will be a lot to savor. Since ours is a Mediterranean diet, you'll get healthy fats in the form of olive oil as well as olives themselves, avocados, sunflower seeds, nuts, and other foods that are satisfying in small quantities. Fat makes you feel fuller longer, and it gives you that soul-pleasing taste that helps keep you on track.
While you'll have lean meat or fish every day, the bulk of this diet is plant foods: vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. The fiber in these will - by slowing your digestion--help stave off hunger without adding a lot of calories. "But whole grains doesn't mean just bread," says Dr. Oz. "In the Mediterranean and the Middle East, bread tends to be very thin (pitas) and used mostly as a spoon." Experiment with other grains, such as quinoa ("a whole grain high in amino acids," says Dr. Oz) and even chia (yes, the sprouts that miraculously grow on your Chia Pet). "Serve it in or on another dish," he advises. "It's very chewy."
Rule 4: Extend the Burn
There are two easy things you can do to keep metabolism chugging:
1. Have water with every meal
A German study found that drinking 17 ounces of water (a little more than two cups) can increase calorie-blasting 24 percent. Research also suggests that green tea may help keep your metabolism in high gear and whittle away at body fat.
2. Take a 20-minute walk
Maybe after each meal? Three jaunts a day will give you a good start on the 60 to 90 minutes of daily exercise recommended for weight loss. "Walk at a strong pace, with good posture and your belly tucked in," says Dr. Oz. This exercises your core muscles, helping to give you a firm base of support.
But walking alone isn't enough. To build strong, fat-burning muscles throughout your body (alert: it's almost sleeveless-shirt season), you need to do weight training. But you don't have to hoist barbells. Use your own body weight, and you'll get a bonus: "You'll be motivated to eat less so you won't have to lift as much," Dr. Oz notes. (For an easy routine, try "The No-Weight Workout.")Rule 5: Check Portions
Size counts. One small, naked potato is about 13/4 to 2½ inches in diameter and contains 135 calories. If you eat a large potato - 3 to 41/4 inches in diameter - you're adding 293 calories to your meal, and that's without slathering on butter or sour cream. Those additional 158 calories can make a difference: Most of us put on weight over the years just by eating an extra 100 to 200 calories a day.
Of course, unless you carry a tiny scale, a measuring cup, and perhaps a ruler with you at all times, you may have trouble assessing portions. Luckily, you can use your hand as a guide: A one-cup serving of cereal is about the size of your fist. A half-cup serving of pasta, rice, or ice cream fits in your cupped hand. A tablespoon of salad dressing, peanut butter, or cream cheese is about thumb-size, while the tip of your thumb represents a teaspoon of butter, mayonnaise, or oil.
What's your favorite stay-on-track tip?
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