The 21-day Plan Your Step-by-Step Guide to Fat Loss in Three Weeks

With the end of 2009 fast approaching, have you achieved all the fat-loss goals you set for yourself this year? Since more than 95{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of people who set health, fitness, and weight-loss goals fail every year, I am willing to bet you are not where you want to be.

Don’t get discouraged; this month’s article is going to give you a 21-day fat-loss kick-start to help you get on the right track and start achieving real results. Follow my guidelines for the next three weeks, and you’ll be on your way to achieving your best body before the end of 2009.

For simplicity’s sake, we’ll start with Day 1 as a Monday. If you apply all of the lifestyle changes I recommend, you’ll find that making the correct and healthy choices becomes easier and more effective as you progress through the month.

Plus, if you follow this easy to use schedule, you won’t find these changes overbearing. In fact, you’ll look forward to one new challenge every day — until your new, healthy lifestyle becomes a habit.

Day 1 (Monday): Workout Day

Determine your goals, write them down, and recruit a support partner. Schedule a time to work out, and perform your first workout today. I highly recommend a program consisting of both resistance training and cardiovascular training. Exercise conservatively, work at your own level, and perform every exercise with good technique.

Day 2 (Tuesday)

Clean out your cupboards and refrigerator. Create a meal plan for the next three to five days, and prepare a healthy shopping list. Base your meal plan on lean protein (chicken, turkey, beef, fish, etc.), veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds.

Day 3 (Wednesday): Workout Day

As you work out, visualize yourself reaching your goals. Keep a positive attitude, and you will remain motivated and continue to make progress.

Day 4 (Thursday)

Make sure that you are eating six small meals per day rather than two or three large meals. Make sure to spread your protein, fiber, fruits, and vegetables throughout each meal to help you reduce your appetite, keep your energy levels up, keep your blood sugar stable, and help you burn fat.

Day 5 (Friday): Workout Day

Eliminate all sources of liquid calories and replace these drinks with water, green tea, unsweetened iced tea or a small amount of unsweetened coffee. Start to enter your food intake on Fitday.com and continue to do so for the next 16 days.

Day 6 (Saturday)

Report to your support partner on this day and review how your first week went. Always be accountable to your support group. This will encourage you to stick with the exercise and nutrition program. In addition, take some time and pick an activity you really like to do (playing with the kids, biking, yoga, sport, martial art, dance) and make it a regular habit on Saturdays. This can be done on your own or with your social support group.

Day 7 (Sunday)

Plan ahead for the next week and do all of your grocery shopping and meal preparation. Do some extra cooking, chop your vegetables, and wash and cut your fruit. By doing this, you will be prepared to avoid unhealthy eating situations that lead you to cheat on your plan.

Day 8 (Monday): Workout Day

To make sure you are working out correctly, recruit a fitness professional or someone who is knowledgeable about exercise, and make them part of your support team. To help you stick to your workouts, schedule each of your workouts like any other appointment in your daily schedule. Let nothing, except real emergencies, come between you and your workouts.

Day 9 (Tuesday)

Today make an effort to eat one new fruit and one new vegetable. If you aren’t already, consume a fruit and/or veggie with every snack and meal. Add an extra veggie with dinner.

Day 10 (Wednesday): Workout Day

Eliminate all sources of trans-fatty acids from your diet. There is no place for these in a healthy eating plan.

Day 11 (Thursday)

Review your water intake and confirm that you are consuming enough water each day to keep you hydrated and healthy, as well as using water to stay full. As a general rule of thumb, you should consume at least one-half of your body weight in ounces of water per day.

Day 12 (Friday): Workout Day

Review your nutrition. Check the number of calories you are consuming. Are you still eating too much? Are you eating too little (less than 1,500 calories)? More important than the number of calories you consume is the composition of each meal and the quality of the foods you consume. If you are focusing on consuming lean protein, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds, it’s very challenging to overeat.

Day 13 (Saturday)

Check your fiber intake and make sure you meet the recommended intake (at least 25-35 grams per day). Eat more veggies to get fiber and keep your appetite in check.

Day 14 (Sunday)

Plan, shop, and prepare for the week ahead. Make sure to include one new fruit and one new vegetable in your grocery list. Variety in your nutrition is very important, so try a new fruit today, such as blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries.

Day 15 (Monday): Workout Day

Set a new short-term goal for your workouts, such as using a higher level on your cardio machine or performing one extra pushup per set.

Day 16 (Tuesday)

Purchase a new cooking appliance, such as a grill or steamer, to help you eat healthy, nutritious, low-fat foods in a quick and convenient manner.

Day 17 (Wednesday): Workout Day

Try an alternative source of lean protein at dinner, such as lean beef or salmon (in case you have been eating only chicken, turkey, pork, or tuna).

Day 18 (Thursday)

Take time and review the goals that you set. Have you met all of your short-term goals? Are you getting closer to your long-term goals? If you aren’t, determine the obstacles in your way and make a plan to get around them.

Day 19 (Friday): Workout Day

Remove all refined sugars and processed food. Refined sugars (cake, cookies, ‘protein’ bars, etc.) and processed food (anything in a box) has absolutely no place in a healthy nutrition plan.

Day 20 (Saturday)

Recruit a new member into your social support network, such as a new workout partner or healthy-eating partner. This will add strength to your commitment.

Day 21 (Sunday)

Perform 30 minutes of activity. Plan, make a shopping list, shop, and prepare. Include one new source of lean protein in your shopping list.

There you have it: 21 days of healthy habits. If you apply these habits over the next three weeks, I guarantee you’ll lose a lot of fat in that short amount of time. Good luck!

Coach Holly Leonard, owner of BeFit Health and Wellness Solutions, is a body transformation specialist who has helped more than 300 Pioneer Valley men and women reclaim their health, fitness, and vitality through proper fitness and nutrition. For more expert fitness advice and information about her coaching programs, visit www.befittraining.com.

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