Bob HarperMemorial Day weekend, the official start of summer, is just one short week away. For most of us, that also means it's almost Bathing Suit Season! Snuck up on you, didn't it?
Whether the "deadline" is the upcoming holiday weekend, a wedding, a photo shoot, a red carpet event, or a reunion, all of my clients at one point or another have left their weight loss/tone-up until the very last minute. But have no fear! Having a looming deadline can be really motivating. And I can help you work wonders with even just a week to go.
My new book, "Jumpstart to Skinny," outlines a plan for supercharged weight loss (you could melt up to 20 lbs in 21 days), 13 important lifestyle rules, an easy exercise program, and delicious menus and recipes to take away all the guessing and all the decision-making. In total, it's a three-week program, but the following three rules will help meet your one-week needs. If you do just these three things, you'll see terrific change by next weekend:
1. Jumpstart Rule #6: Do 30-45 minutes of low-intensity cardio, preferably before breakfast.
Don't freak out- we're not talking about spin class before dawn here! The kind of cardio I'm calling for is low intensity. As in: walking briskly with your dog (which might be on your to-do list for the morning anyway- two birds with one stone here, people!).
Why preferably before breakfast? There is some emerging science on exercise metabolics-how your body handles challenge and change- that suggests that when you exercise in a fasted state (which is more or less what you're doing when you haven't eaten breakfast), you draw more on body reserves of fat and carbohydrates and you will oxidize fat at a faster rate. In plain English? This is a good thing if you're interested in losing weight.
2. Jumpstart Rule #3: Don't eat complex carbs after breakfast.
Ordinarily, I tell my clients to keep their complex carbs to breakfast and lunch and to always go lean and green for dinner. But since you're on deadline and we're just a few days away from you wanting to look your best, you need to ratchet things up and forego the complex carbs at lunch too. Complex carbs (even whole grains) are forms of sugar, and sugar cues the pancreas to make more insulin. And that process triggers appetite. Simple carbohydrates - like the kind found in vegetables - don't react in the body the same way, partly because the fiber in them offsets the carb load. So, eat as many veggies throughout the day as you'd like, but for the next week you've simply got to lay off the complex carbs after your power breakfast. See below for a terrifically satisfying power breakfast that you can rely on this week.
3. Jumpstart Rule #11: No fruit this week!
Fruits are simple carbs too, so why can't you eat them this week? Fruits - especially berries and apples - are fantastic for you and generally speaking, any sugars in them get slowed down, metabolically speaking, by the fruit's high fiber content. But you need to think of this one week of lifestyle change you're committing to as a "final sprint" to the finish line - this is when you need to pull out all the stops and give your best effort. Does one week of this really make a difference? Yes! It's one more way to cut calories, one more way to push your body into fat-burning mode, and one more way to curb your sweet tooth. And it works!
Bob Harper's Jumpstart to Skinny "Oatsotto" - The Perfect Power Breakfast
Olive oil spray
½ onion, chopped
6 mushrooms, finely chopped
Cracked black pepper
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
5 egg whites, lightly beaten
1. Lightly coat a saucepan with olive oil spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and mushrooms. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring once.
2. Add the cracked pepper and the oats. Cook for 2 more minutes. Pour in the broth and stir until the oats are cooked, about 5 minutes.
3. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach. Remove the mixture from the saucepan.
4. Scramble the egg whites in the saucepan and then place the scrambled egg whites on top of the oat and spinach mixture.
Nutritional Information Per Serving: 260 calories, 26g protein, 24g carbs, 6g fat, 2g fiber.
Bob Harper is a New York Times #1 Bestselling author, "The Biggest Loser" coach, and celebrity trainer.