Chapter 1. Seven simple rules how to lie on the couch, eat, read, and lose weight
Dear reader, thank you for deciding to rely on my experience in the matters of being slim. Assuming you are no stranger to the subject, I have decided to cut to the chase: there are seven simple rules that will help you lose kilos easily and without much sweat. No dieting, pills, hypnosis, exhausting sports, calorie counting, injections, attitude manipulations, or other health endangering methods. You can go on doing you usual things, eat what you normally eat, enjoy your life in general; you can even lie on the couch, and – keep losing weight!
The chapter title promises wonders that might seem hard to believe – for whoever can get slim by lying on the couch? “There has to be a catch” you might think. Well, you would be correct: The thing is, efficient lying on the couch, too, requires some thought and sensible approach. Now therefore.
Rule one: drink hot water
Cold liquids digest much worse and are usually quick to be discarded from the body. The water temperature must be comfortable to drink in small gulps without burning your throat. I recommend drinking 160 ml hot water (this is equal to a small plastic cup) every 1–1.5 hours, and it must be pure clear water, with no additives. Hot tea, coffee, fruit drinks and other beverages are essentially food and are little engaged in maintaining body fluid balance.
It is best to drink most of your water before evening hours; after 8 pm, you should drink only if you are thirsty — this will spare you the risk of facial swelling in the morning.
Why drink so much water? Today, a thorough answer to this question can easily be found on the internet, so I will just cover the basic facts. Clear water is critical to the functioning of absolutely every system of your body — it carries nutrients to the cells and tissues, removes toxins, regulates body temperature, serves as natural lubricant for joints, nourishes your skin, and restores your energy. The effects of low water balance are sure to be felt and seen in the mirror: quick fatigue, bad mood in the morning, apathy, laziness, dull skin and hair, dark circles around bleary eyes. The lack of water is a genuine stress to your body, and the body responds as it has been taught to by millions of years of evolution — by stockpiling the incoming food to be able to extract water from it when needed.
Years of work with clients under our EatReadSlim program, as well as personal consulting have proven the idea that slimming is often impeded by water shortage in the body. Start drinking hot water, and you will be surprised by the positive changes in your look and well-being.
BTW! It is almost ten centuries ago that Avicenna wrote in his Recipes for Longevity that clear water is the key to longevity and rejuvenation. Nothing has changed ever since; we are still children of the ocean, and will ail and age faster without water.
Rule two: eat
Hunger is the worst ill-wisher on your path to a slim figure. Feeling hungry keeps your body stressed and does not let you get rid of the excessive weight, so regular and variegated meals are important. Sounds strange, right? Everyone knows that true ladies eat flower petals, drink morning dew and weigh just like a cloud in the sky. I cannot say exactly how those ladies manage to survive and keep working, bearing children, meeting with friends, or traveling. Those are probably some otherworldly ladies. I confess I have never met one in person.
What I do know though is you can never deprive yourself of wholesome nutrition — it is one of the basic human needs. You could indeed get slimmer by limiting your menu badly (e.g. when dieting), but your body would assess this as a threat to its welfare, and just like in case with water deficit it would switch to the ‘saving for a rainy day’ mode. It would, however, be ever more reluctant to give back its savings, sports or fasting days notwithstanding, for who knows what trick you might pull next time; nature likes to think a hundred steps ahead.
This is why low-calorie diets often end in meltdowns, where a person’s kilos come back with a vengeance — that is how the body fights for its right to live. Yes, this is not an exaggeration, we are talking survival here. Every day, the cells and systems of our body need a certain amount of nutrients to ensure that the heart beats, muscles flex, and blood is pumped into the brain and all the other organs. Fasting and diets cut the supply of food necessary to maintain life, and since the body cannot stop its heartbeat or breathing for the time of dieting, it is forced to create a stock for the future in the form of body fat. In this case, even sport exercises may prove useless or cause fatigue and exhaustion.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are your daily investment in your own health and physical shape. The maximum allowable time between meals is five hours. Failure to eat for longer than five hours means you give your body stress. Not eating for over 5 hours regularly means letting it know here comes the “rainy day” where it has to build up strategic stockpiles.
The normal helping of food is 300–400 grams. You do not need to have precision scales on hand, just look at the size of your two fists brought together — this is what the total volume of the food you eat with one meal should be.
Two fists brought together is practically the volume of your stomach, and more food can only be squeezed in by overstretching the stomach walls. That is why the individual size of a comfortable meal can also be identified through bodily sensations – a ‘heavy stomach’ or mild air belching. If you feel your stomach get heavy during a meal, you ought to stop; this is your body signaling feverishly “Don’t feed me anymore, I’ve nowhere to put all this.” My advice is to rise from the table before you feel heavy in the stomach. Even an air balloon will lose elasticity from constant inflation and deflation; imagine what it is like for a living organ? It would be more appropriate to look to mild air belching for the signal; it tells you about the ‘right’ saturation without overeating, so if you detect such a signal during a meal, my congratulations – you have an established a connection with your stomach. A mild belch is the body’s way of saying “Please stop, I’m good, but you got to stop now!”
I know how busy the life of a modern woman can be, but no extra workload can pass for a justification of hunger. On the contrary, the higher the load, the more attention you should pay to your body so it can manage the entrusted tasks and stay alert. It is important to allot at least 10 minutes for each meal, as food which has been thoroughly chewed and moistened with saliva is digested easier and better.
Attention! Experiment! How fast do you eat? Right now, take any bit of food the size of an almond (it could be meat, cheese or a nut), set the alarm clock or shortstop in your phone for 2 minutes and chew for that period of time. Have you been able to focus on the smell and taste of the food, or was your mind wandering as usual?
If you were able to chew the food for 2 minutes and not hurry, keep that feeling in memory – this is how you should always eat. If two minutes spent on such a small piece was too much for you, start smaller, 5–10 sec for each ‘bite’.
What is the purpose of the experiment? Our brain requires some time to process the fact that its needs have been satisfied. As a rule, it takes 15–20 minutes, and this time is enough for us to eat a much bigger amount of food than necessary. Therefore, the slower you eat the less food you will need to stay your hunger. By controlling the time spent on meals, you will learn to rise from the table in time — when you are full but still alert and light.
BTW! There is no need to stock up with food containers for the whole day. If your schedule is packed to the full, take along fruits and a meat and cheese sandwich wrapped in foil. This will be enough to defend your organism from hunger.
Rule three: air your couch every day
By airing the couch I mean daily walks: leisurely walking in any direction, perhaps around your house, office building or favorite bench in the park. Minimum 45 minutes a day, preferably 1.5 hours, maximum — as long as you want. The EatReadSlim program does not include obligatory exhausting gym workouts, and there is a very simple explanation to it.
First of all, people usually go to the gym after work, i.e. after 6 pm, when the sun is low in the west. The natural body biorhythms require rest at this time of day; your body does not want to be alert, it wants to relax. Thus, instead of caring about your muscles, you impose violence on your own body.
Secondly, sports gyms often lack sufficient air, and they are usually so crowded! A stuffy environment makes our brain suffer from low oxygen, which is why you may feel overwhelming tiredness or headache post training. Walks, on the other hand, make almost all your muscles work, and a 45 minute stroll along the streets will easily replace two hours of strenuous workout.
If you know particular reasons why walks are good for your health, you can always find arguments to raise you from your chair (or couch):
Walking uphill tones your calves and thighs; regularity will make your legs toned and tight.
Walking while tightening your buttocks will tone your gluteus muscles (try not to strain the waist however), so you can literally walk yourself a pair of good-looking well-defined glutes.
Walking backwards tones your back and butt muscles. For a better effect, keep your spine straight, put your hands on the waist and gather in your stomach.
Walking with your stomach tightened strengthens your abs.
In fact, you can tense any given group of muscles during a walk — it is a nice alternative for a weight workout. With time, this simple trick can develop your beautiful body outline without so much as a single visit to the nearby gym. Magic? Yes, but there is one condition to the whole affair: you need to walk every day.
Your walks should be comfortable and based on common sense, which means if there is -30°C and a blizzard, it is better to head to a shopping mall: these are so large these days that they may well substitute for a park.
If you are a fitness girl or an avid weight lifter and cannot pass a chance to sweat in a gym, then you should at least move your sessions towards the first half of the day. Some people find it hard to lose weight simply because they make their body work at the time of day which mother-nature meant as the time of rest and repose.
Our body was designed to move and it always remembers that: In days of yore, humans used to forage, flee for safety or fight, i.e., active motion accounted for over 8 hours a day. Modern man no longer needs prolonged physical activity to be in a good shape and feel well; it is enough to be active a short time but regularly, every day with no exceptions.
The beauty of walks is that they require no extra investment in sports shoes or other gear, and you do not feel self-conscious over posh fitness gals eyeing you, which guarantees that your self-esteem and budget will stay intact.
The rapid advance of civilization has delivered humanity from living in caves and hunting wild animals (well, almost), while at the same time it has severed the connection we used to have with our own bodies. We ceased understanding the body’s true needs, it was turned into a tool for labor and getting pleasures, and modern people pay for this by illnesses and chronic fatigue. I believe we now see the trend reverse as people seem to recover that lost connection. My recommendations are meant to help you learn how to live in peace and harmony with your body, to reinvent it as your friend and ally.
BTW! There is a theory that when a person stops moving, their body stops living and starts to prepare for death: the muscles row numb and weaken, blood circulation slows down, internal organs deteriorate from low oxygen and malnutrition, joints get stiff, and all the liveliness and buoyancy dissipate. The field of medicine engaged with the study of ageing mechanisms argues that the human body has a rated life of 120–150 years, whereas some ancient sources claim that figure to be even 300. We last a miniscule fraction from the possible because we do not care of our most valuable resource – our own body. Do not resign from life before your time!
Rule four: don’t wash down your food
Saturation with food and saturation with water are two completely different processes which impede each other when going on in parallel. It is good to drink water before or directly after a meal but not during one. So why do food and water not go together well?
Reason one. When eating, your body actively produces saliva which contains ferments necessary for thorough processing of food, while your stomach excretes acids and bases to break down matter into simpler components. If water enters the body at this stage, the body will erroneously take it for ferments and obediently inject acid and caustic at the same time. In fact, the stomach starts digesting itself, which may trigger many chronic diseases of the digestive tract.
Reason two. When washing the food down with water, the food will inevitably be chewed less thoroughly – since it goes down well anyway with water, juice or tea. The unchewed food will sink to the bottom of your stomach like a stone; your body will need fourteen hours (sometimes more!) to digest it. The process cannot be accelerated, since the important step of food crushing and ferment processing has fallen out of the digestion sequence.
BTW! Never wash the food down with hot tea or cold drinks! Cold liquids force the digestive tract muscles to reflectively contract, which may result in the food hitting the intestinal tract in the undigested form and causing acetification, whereas the tannines in the tea will numb the sensitivity of the stomach and intestines making them atonic and temporarily unable to take in the food.
Rule five: drink a glass of hot water before every meal
A hungry person is in no humor for pleasures or etiquette. Remember how you eat when you are very hungry? You hurry and literally shove the food into your mouth, and then feel heavy in the stomach. A glass of hot water before a meal will take the edge off your hunger by filling up your stomach, thus lowering the risk of over-eating or swallowing of unchewed food. Hot water will also gently activate the body systems and prepare them for fast assimilation of the food.
After drinking some hot water, you can practically immediately proceed to eating, no waiting pause required. The same goes for water you drink right after a meal. Tea, coffee or other drinks, however, are advisable only 15—20 minutes after or before a meal, no sooner and no later.
BTW! The Chinese drink lots of hot water all the time; this is a habit they develop early in life. It is normal practice in China to come to a restaurant and ask for a glass of hot water first thing. A vacuum flask with hot water is as necessary a personal item for a Chinese as, say, a tooth brush. A well-known proverb “In any strange situation go to sleep” in China would apparently sound as “In any strange situation – drink hot water!” Perhaps this habit is one of the secrets of the nation’s fantastic working capacity.
Rule six: last meal of the day no later that 8 pm
After 6 pm all the body systems switch into the resting mode, this is the natural cycle, whereas after 8 pm they also start working in low-energy mode. Stuffing our body with food at this time means forcing it to work against its natural rhythms. It will wake up beaten and lazy the following morning: of course, it has been running non-stop for a full day already, and now you are waking it up for round two! Have your dinner before 8 pm, and then let your body repose according to its own needs.
But what do you do if the ‘horrible’ hunger pulls you to the refrigerator after 8 pm? This is what the first day of your no-food-before-sleep determination usually ends up with, right? Should you surrender and stock up, or should you take some sedative to help yourself withstand the temptation? Or should you put a code lock on the fridge and ask your family to change the password after 8 pm? Surely, there are many creative ways to fool your appetite but I actually have a simpler and more honest solution, which I am going to tell you about a bit later.
BTW! If you feel very thirsty after 8 pm, don’t exercise your patience heroically, just drink some hot water in small sips. You might need only a little to quench your thirst.
Rule seven: eat 1 or 2 hunger indicators each 1.5 hours
In our program, Hunger Indicators refer to any bits of food of 20 grams / 20 kilocalories, the size of a large almond: any dried fruit, nut, dry bread, a slice of cheese 1 cm thick, etc. The indicators must be present in your menu throughout the day. This means, keep eating 1, at most 2 indicators each 1.5–2 hours until you go to bed. Eat at least one indicator even if you are not hungry at all. This is the whole point: When your body constantly gets food, it relaxes, switches off the saving mode and starts to comfortably spend its supplies. A hunger indicator gives the signal to your brain: “There is no hunger, food is always available; there is no need to stock up in fat anymore.”
Although any food such as a piece of cheese on a scone, a piece of apple or cucumber can be an indicator, dried fruit and nuts are more convenient to carry in your handbag or pocket and eat wherever you are, be it even a most crowded place.
It may seem difficult to control the intake of the indicators. In reality, we already have the habit of chewing on something during the day, what is left is to replace our casual snack breaks and office coffee pauses with hunger indicators. Put 8 pieces of dry fruit or 8 nuts in your pocket or on your desk; you will need to eat them over the day. Every time your hand slides into your pocket or you feel like having a snack, you will be reminded of your hunger indicators.
BTW! In a situation where you cannot possibly have a wholesome meal, you can easily avoid hunger stress using those indicators. Just eat them as slowly and thoughtfully as you can.
Let’s make an experiment! Do you know how to enjoy food and make the most of it? Take any indicator available at the moment, again set your alarm clock for two minutes, put the piece on your tongue, close your eyes and enjoy the process. Imagine the history behind the nut or dried fruit: It grew under hot sun, was harvested by someone’s caring hands, washed, dried, packed and sent off on a long journey across the ocean until it appeared on the shelf of your local supermarket. Were you able to focus on the taste sensations? If you did not feel anything special, it makes sense to keep repeating the exercise for a week to learn to ‘catch a buzz’ from even the smallest piece of food. The pleasure will slow down the process of eating, focus your mind on the activity, which in turn will promote good digestion and balance your weight. What is more, the ability to enjoy simple things is a sort of therapy which lowers the total amount of stress in your life.
Rule zero: don’t sweat it
Remember, you can eat anything, even ‘bad’ products; you just need to eat them at the right time, in small quantities, and think about what you are eating without getting distracted! With time, the need in low nutrient, high-calorie products will decrease on its own. Continue living as usual and carry out your usual activities. No special foods, no sprouts, or cast-iron regimen! Don’t promise to yourself to start jogging in the morning if you don’t feel ready. Don’t stuff your fridge with celery if you feel sick from the mere sight of it. Don’t squeeze yourself a carrot fresh if you know you would have to pinch your nose from disgust to drink it. Don’t stop meeting your friends at cafes or inviting them over to watch a series and have a cup of tea. There is no need to deprive yourself of the habitual joys. You only need to replace the joys of eating with other fascinating things more often! I am going to tell you how to do it in later chapters.
Bonus rule: choose stomach-activated foods
Try to eat only things which used to grow on trees, under trees, underground, which swam in water or walked the earth. This simple criterion will help you make the right choice in favor of a particular product. For instance, marshmallow surely did not grow on a tree, therefore its practical use for your body equals zero, while the calories can very well stick to your waist and thighs. Artificially synthetized substances are not identified by our body, instead accumulating in the cells and tissues and causing illnesses and excess weight.
If you keep gaining weight and cannot understand how, mind that the answer may lie in the products containing synthetic flavors and taste modifiers: sausages, hot dogs, cheese, creams, yogurts, bottled smoothies, even tea. Yes, tea! The tea produced in vast quantities by tea manufacturers has long ceased to be a “live” product. Besides, tea plants grow in latitudes different from ours, which makes tea alien to our body on the cellular level.
There is healthy living theory that argues that a person’s menu should consist of foods which are grown and produced in the same area where the person has been born and spent most of their life. It is especially true of vegetables, fruits, greens and herbs. Such an approach has a point. And the thing is not only that our bodies have genetically developed affinity to local products. As a rule, fruits and vegetables brought from far abroad have been harvested while unripe (so they can endure transportation) and treated with chemicals (for the same purpose). For this matter, an apple grown in a neighboring region may well be safer than a glazed mango from a supermarket.
It is perfectly allowable to leave bread in your menu: this is the only heavily processed product which is perfectly compatible with your body. Cereal crops have been grown by peoples around the world since ancient times; your body if familiar with bread on the cellular level, which is why it is digested quite well. Opinions differ as to what kind of bread to eat and when. I believe the issue is not the sort of bread but the size of the bites. Remember that a piece of bread is included in a generic meal of 300–400 grams, and is not a complement to it.
Chapter 2. Who will provide the kick in the butt, or Where do i begin?
“How many times is it now you’ve started new?”
“Too many,” Roger had said. “And you don’t have to rub it in.”
Ernest Hemingway. “Islands in the stream”
A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.
Frank Herbert. “Dune”
Dear reader, let me congratulate you now! We have completed the overview of our slimming rules, so you may put the book down and move on with your life. Strictly speaking, this is what we do whenever we learn about yet another method of getting slim quickly and easily. At this point, many of you probably wave off what you have read, and say something along the lines of “Oh, I know, rules blah-blah-blah, what a joke!” Skeptics and disappointed crusaders for ideal weight go on sitting on their butt, and of course, nothing is happening with them. This is only logical — if you keep on doing the same thing then where can any change come from? You have to make an effort to overcome inertia, your inner resistance.
The recipe for the participants of the EatReadSlim program is simple as 1–2–3: do it, don’t haste it, and the result will come! In this connection, I will cite two examples showing how this principle works. Once, a client came to my workshop, looked through the rules and decided that they were too cumbersome for her: to drink water every hour, to eat hunger indicators, to take 45 minute walks… After the first session, she returned home and complained to her husband. The husband recognized the simplicity of the method at once, so he decided to take action himself and lost seven kilos in just one week! This is when the wife started to feel competitive herself.
Another example. One day, my hair stylist was dying my hair and complaining that she was drinking very much water but the weight would not go away, and now she had started to suffer from severe swellings. I recommended drinking hot water and eating more. Two months later I came back to the hair salon, and did not recognize my stylist. She had lost 8 kilos! At the same time, her spirits had risen, her face had been refreshed, and her swellings had gone. Whereas her colleague, the beauty doctor, in front of whose eyes the whole story had been unfolding, stated firmly that she did not believe in miracles like that… and went on to buy expensive Swiss slimming pills. So what am I getting at? Dear reader, the only one way you can benefit from reading this book and maintain your weight for many years is just – by doing it. Go on and try!
Having too many questions, like whether you can keep eating ham, and if not then how to stop, because you just feel like doing it?! Or how you can whip up a nutritious breakfast from whatever you happen to have at home? Or how you can possibly start to lose weight while eating the same food you have always been eating? (I mean come on, I am already eating it alright, and the weight is where is used to be?!) You honestly doubt that only 7 easy rules can really change your life?
Your suspicions are understandable. Indeed, it is not enough to just know five or ten rules; you need to know how and why those rules work. We receive so much different and sometimes contradictory information that we are unwilling to take any rules whatsoever for granted anymore. Deep at heart, we always want to know why we should act one way and not another.
Besides, any rules work only upon one condition: if you follow them regularly, every day. This is where we stumble most often: we get lazy, skive, castigate ourselves, give up, start again, give up again. Sounds familiar? Why does that keep happening? It happens because you have not sold the idea of slimming to yourself, and do not know why you really need to weigh a few kilos less.
The key is always internal motivation
When I first meet my program enrollees, I always ask each of them — why do you want to get slimmer? Believe me, this is not a rhetoric question. The thing is, there is only one force that inspires us to any action, our internal motivation. It is a grave emotional reason giving a meaningful answer to the Why question. The answer you personally will believe.
Strange though it may sound, a beautiful body and a bunch of dresses a size or two smaller cannot motivate us by themselves. You may hold on to the new rules for a few weeks, possibly a month, for the sake of the joy of wearing a pair of fancy jeans, but then the old habits start to reassert themselves. The internal motivation for long-term changes lies at an altogether different level and is not dependent on consumption or obtaining material goods. What do you need a beautiful figure and new clothes for? What are you really trying to achieve?
We seem to live at the time when ‘thoughts are material’ cannot puzzle anyone, when “materialization of desired events” no longer qualifies as mysticism or esoterics but is considered a legitimately scientific theory – and yet we are still having troubles fulfilling our dreams.
As it turns out, it is not enough to set a goal; you need to convince yourself that the goal is critical to you and real, as well as convince your subconscious to create no obstacles on your path to the goal. Why then does our subconscious try to impede us? Aren’t our dreams supposed to inspire and motivate us? To get to the bottom of the question, you need to understand how your wants and ambitions are seen by the Supreme Commander in Chief – your brain.
The human brain is not a homogenous structure but a strategic alliance of three systems: the reptilian brain, the emotional (limbic) brain, and the visual brain (cerebral cortex), each with its own function.
The Reptilian Brain (aged 100 million years) is the oldest part of our personality responsible for the survival of the humanity in general. The reptilian brain does not compromise, it makes no deals or negotiates, it cannot be deceived or coerced to anything, and it has vast experience of survival so it never hesitates but acts straightaway and plays to win. This is the power of our instincts and subconscious fears. If the reptilian brain assesses a certain way of action as a threat to the well-being of the whole organism, such an action has no chance of succeeding. Ignoring the power of instincts would be shortsighted at the least.
Limbic (Emotional) System of our brain formed 50 million years ago; its function is the life preservation of a particular person. The limbic brain is responsible for our emotions and physical activity; this is where our mood is generated. This is the same kind our pet animals have – which is perhaps why we tend to be emotionally attached to them and attribute human motives to their behavior: we sense kinship literally on the cellular level. The emotional brain is unique in that it does not like changes, and constantly pulls us back to our old habits. Now you understand why it is so difficult to change your lifestyle? Your emotional system is determined to leave everything as it is, acting in our best interests – after all, stability and predictability successfully mitigated the risks of the turbulent life of ancient people for hundreds of years! The comfort of the modern civilization has been acquired quite recently, practically yesterday in terms of the evolution; and when it comes to safety, our body tends to rely on that ancient experience.
The Visual Brain (cerebral cortex) is the youngest part of our brain, born a ‘mere’ 1.5–2.5 million years ago. This is what we refer to as ‘mind’: our thoughts, logic, ambitions, wishes, and dreams. It is the cortical cells that are responsible for the visions of future and new ideas; here is the birthplace of all invention. We can imagine anything we want using our visual brain! However, the visual brain has its own limiter — our doubts, and the ceaseless mental “mumbling”. Besides, since it is evolutionally very young, the mind cannot bear responsibility for long-term actions. So our subconscious appears to control most of our life, quietly but consistently. A true Grey Eminence!
So if you keep failing to achieve your ambition despite all effort, it means your reptilian and emotional systems disagree with your methods, or find the goal dangerous. As long as you do not take steps to enter into a friendly and honest alliance with all the three brain systems, fulfilling your dream is cumbersome.
“So what should I do?” you may ask. “How can I convince some barbarian part of my brain (literally a contemporary of dinosaurs), with all its instincts and fears, that I need to lose some 5 or 10 kilos?” The answer is simple: Start to deal with your wants, do not be afraid of them, fight the internal resistance, and of course, take action. A few simple daily actions will bring you closer to your desired image than a week of strained and forced morning runs.
Chapter 3. How to dream smart: steps of wise planning
The main rule of reality is not to get lost in your illusions.
“Inception”, the movie
First of all, let us revise your ambitions and separate the true ones from the acquired. This is a very important step in building a harmonious relationship with your subconscious. The ancient part of your brain will easily and accurately separate what is true from what is false and transitory. If you learn how to do the same, you will acquire great power and support.
Many goals associated with the ideas of beauty and appearance are actually implanted in our mind by the fashion and advertising industries, by the society we exist in. Perfect men and women shine their white smiles to us from innumerable billboards, from every internet page or ad leaflet – tanned, smooth as dolphins, ripped as Greek gods, and flawless to the last hair on their heads. Such mass psychosis makes it so difficult not to fall prey to the desire to join the ranks of those ever-beautiful people, whatever it takes! The desire to be slim and look young is in itself natural and positive; it is however important to be able to have a detailed insight into your dream so you could stop chasing a pie in the sky.
I would like to acquaint you with a simple and effective goal achieving technique developed and given to the world by Marilyn Atkinson, PhD. The technique is being successfully implemented by psychologists and coaches all over the world. It helps people gain insight on the sea of their desires, make the right decisions, and choose the best way to achieve their goals. Actually, it is a turn-key plan for any project — from an apartment redecoration to emigration. The essence of the method is very simple: you ask yourself direct questions and give straight answers.
Step 1. What do I want?
You need motivation to start doing something, you need inspiration! And the only thing that can stop you is the fear to dream. But I know how to deal with it.
Right now, close your eyes, take three deep breaths, and imagine your life and yourself one year later. How you live, what has happened to you over the months, what you are thinking and dreaming about? How much do you weigh? What outfits hang in your wardrobe; what has changed in your appearance?
What thoughts have come to replace your concerns about the excess weight? You might have moved your scales out of sight (you are no longer interested in watching kilos come or go), and stopped scrupulously counting calories. Perhaps, you have chucked out the herbal supplements, teas or other items which were supposed to make you lose weight magically, or you may have visited a stylist to makeover your wardrobe.
Imagine your activities during business hours and after that. What are people around you busy with? How do they look at you, how do they appraise and describe you in your new weight, what do they say when you are not around?
Reflect on what you feel at the moment, what emotions fill you. What are you proud of, what achievements have you made?
Step 2. Why is it important for me to want it and do it?
If you have worked well in step one, you will feel joyous and a little buzzing with anticipation. This is good, as it is high time to bring your dreams to life. You might be faced with yet another dragon here — the fear of failure, the fear of falling a victim of your misfortunes yet again. If you have already tried dieting or other slimming techniques and failed, that fear may be breathing down your neck right now. But you do have something to say to it. Make your intentions clear! Show this fear that you are not going to back down this time, and you have what to fight for.
Why is it so important to you to become slimmer, to be slim, or to have a chiseled core? What pleasure does it hold for you personally (not for your partner, your neighbors, your friends or colleagues, or somebody else)? Why are you trying so hard to lose your excess kilograms? Write down 2–4 reasons why this is important to you, what kind of high you are getting from achieving your goal?
Step 3. What is my actual plan?
I am very proud of you, my reader, if you are still here and looking to yourself for support in all honesty. You are doing everything right! Now you need to secure the determination by an action plan. But be careful: The temptation to throw in the towel could be very strong. This is the system’s fear manifesting itself as if whispering “Why all the fuss and conundrum? Look at the people, they live well eating burgers on weekends, laughing, having fun; they are happy so why should I go out of my way?!” Yes, the system is interested in that this is how we keep thinking, otherwise who would support the powerful fast-food industry and pharmaceutical companies? Well, do you want to be the one the corporations thrive upon, or do you have your own desires?
What will you do to find yourself living the life you personally want? This step allows you to understand how real your goals are, and whether you have resources for achieving them. Describe how you are going to incorporate our Seven Rules into your life. What time you will be getting up, having breakfast, lunch or dinner, what will be the times for drinking water, having your hunger indicators, what time you will go for a walk. It could be an hour in the evening, or three 20-minute walks during the day. Many Program participants use part of their lunch break to walk down the street.
Useful Tip. How to make the rules a part of your life quickly and painlessly? You could leave memos in your phone or pin up the daily timetables everywhere around your place, but a better way would be to start listening to your subtle sensations. We recommend that you avoid rigid scheduling as this is precisely what our natural body mechanisms resist the hardest. Please remember that our weight management Program is not a diet! This is a way of living that can make you a beauty and a centenarian.
Step 4. How do i understand that this is me one year later?
This is the last step on your path to the goal. You have done a lot for yourself, which means it would be easy for you to lose a few kilograms. In fact, making a detailed analysis of your dreams and fears is way more difficult a task than simply following our Seven Rules. Any rules are just a physical effort, while only someone having a True Goal is capable of facing off their fear (the fear of hailing, of making a mistake, standing out from the crowd, starting something new, etc.).
If you set such a goal, then you should have the criteria to help you understand you have achieved it. The inability to locate such criteria often holds us back or stops us from realizing where are already there; this is where our disappointment and dismay take root in. Define and make sure to write down three criteria to help you understand that you have achieved perfection. Some look to their size and vitals, others to their emotional state, for still others it is enough to be able to put on a favorite outfit they did not use to fit in. What telltale signs are meaningful to you? Who should you become when you have achieved everything you wanted? What would you call the new you? What would you say about yourself as in “I am …”? Magical? Amazing? Happy? Or, maybe, fluttering?
When you are your perfect self, what else becomes possible for you? For you projects? Your close ones?
This system of questions will allow you to translate any dream (provided it is feasible) into a set of tangible targets. Detailed and honest answers will balance all the systems of your brain, give you a giant supply of energy for fulfilling your dream and, most importantly, relieve the internal uncontrolled resistance against change.
Chapter 4. The power of decision, or How do I understand where to go?
Ever notice how ‘What the hell’ is always the right answer?
Attributed to Marilyn Monroe
Do you know that some goals cannot be achieved, apart from other things, because the person has not made the decision to pursue the dream at their heart? They are torn between what is right and what is familiar. Their goals have only the external hull: I kind of need it, it’s sort of important; it should make me happier and better, but… what if… it doesn’t? Such a goal is like an air balloon: It hovers above your head reminding of itself every time you turn your gaze upward, but it does not give you enough pull to actually move forward. You could stand still for years.
The decision-making method formulated once by one of the greatest philosophers and mathematicians Rene Descartes allows you to take a much broader look at the situation while at the same time is able to ‘ground’ a goal which is too up in the clouds: it helps you either to realize what you really need, or to see that the decision is not so important to you. Either outcome is good, as it eliminates any doubt and saves your energy for other useful things in life. The technique is very simple and will not take you long. Just do it.
Step 1. Answer all the questions; be honest. Put each argument that comes to your mind into the relevant quadrant. Try avoiding repetitions as much as possible.
My advice: If you have a loyal friend and soul mate who would not laugh at you or wonder why on earth you would need all this, then ask her for help. Let her read out the questions to you and write down your answers. When you see the whole picture by the end of the activity, you may well have an epiphany, and the effect from the technique may transpire more clearly.
— What will I get if I make the decision?
Describe what will come to your life with your new body shape. What kind of clothes will you wear? Thin fabrics, tight silhouettes, shirt skirts, something else? What will change in your behavior at work? What will your personal life be like? What will be the changes in your health status and self-esteem?
— What will I lose is I make the decision?
What habits you may have to leave behind? Perhaps, you will no longer keep a stock of sweets at home or go to friendly get-togethers while hungry? Or you might never have a late dinner nestled cozily in front of the TV? Maybe you will lose your large trousers and sweaters that are meant to hide your fat. The changes might cause even more serious losses — for example you could cease to be interesting to your friends with whom it used to be so much fun to sit in the kitchen at night, eating cake, drinking wine, and talking. What other things may disappear from your life?
— What will I get if I do not make this decision?
Chubbiness has its perks people are often not aware of. Think what might happen if you maintain your current size? You would not have to change your wardrobe or try to find money for it; you would not have to wake up earlier to do your morning exercises; you would not have to always make conscious efforts to think of what makes you eat this food or that. You would be able to stay angry with yourself or your parents (why after all, they have presented you with your plumpness genes!); you could continue being self-conscious, turn down invitations to parties or picnics, and just stay at home and pity yourself. Many people are quite happy in their self-deprecation and mullygrubbing.
— What will I lose if I do not make the decision?
Not being able to put on a sexy dress seems the most obvious answer. Think what you would actually lose. Maybe, your partner would look at your with less trepidation and desire; maybe your fat would fuel your shyness, and you would not find courage to embark on an important project; maybe you would avoid comfortable but crowded beaches; or maybe you would not be waking up in high spirits and enjoy yourself and your life. And think of the effect your refusal to act would have on your health, now and later?
Step 2. Now, we have pinpointed the most important things in each of the quadrants. You can mark it in color highlighter. And then, the most valuable will transpire.
Step 3. Look at the highlighted answers — and you will see what you truly want!
Do not choose between gritting your teeth and not eating after 8 pm from now on, and leaving everything as it is now. This would be choosing between two evils; and neither suits you – otherwise you would not be reading this book now. Stop choosing; make a decision how to life further and why this is exactly how you want to live!
I wish you happy decisions which will make your life even fuller and happier. And please remember, “I won’t do anything” is a decision in itself, and any decision has consequences. What consequences would make your life better?
Chapter 5. So what do I eat to get slim?
A human lives not by what he eats, but what he digests. This is equally true for the mind and body.
At first, you are going to worry whether the new program takes your particular timetable into account, whether you can really follow the rules in full, and most importantly, what price you are going to pay for that? The EatReadSlim program has been designed to help you stay slim and healthy without turning your whole life over, so you needn’t scrupulously count calories or eat nothing but spinach and mussels. When you follow the Seven Rules, your body draws energy for its needs not only from food but from its own strategic supplies as well, and does not strive to replenish them, which is exactly what is needed for a slim figure!
The most important thing in the diet of a slim person is rhythm and absence of prolonged ‘troughs’, i.e., periods with you are hungry.
Make sure to have your breakfast, lunch and dinner, and replace office snack breaks by hunger indicators. I know you still be wanting to eat something in between these, sometimes your body actually needs charging, and at other times you may just to chew on something to create a pause in your work. In an average office, people drink coffee or tea 3–5 times a day chasing it down with cookies and chocolates. Hunger indicators were developed precisely as a countermeasure against consumption of calorie-rich but useless food. You can keep on chatting with colleagues and chew on a piece of dry fruit, cheese or a nut, or sip on a glass of hot water with lemon. You chill out, socialize, eat and drink with your co-workers or friends, while at the same time not putting on excessive weight. Today, healthy living has captured the minds of people across the globe, and there are even more opportunities than needed: all sorts of healthy lifestyle schools, blogs and forums for professional fitness coaches, athletes and amateurs. I do not intend to argue with any of the systems; they exist, and everyone has the right to choose what suits them best. After all, faith can make any system effective. Just please do not starve yourself out. I am a supporter or any commotion but a hunger strike. So, how do you find a way to build a harmonious relationship with the familiar foods, so you can eat, enjoy yourself and keep getting slimmer?
Your relationship with water
Water balance is the basis of a healthy lifestyle. It is recommended that you top it up with hot water with no additives. Water with lemon and honey is delicious and good for you as is gives energy (glucose) for your brain. Still, water with honey and lemon is ‘eating’, not ‘drinking’. During the day, you can have about 2–3 cups, or 0.5 l water with lemon and honey but not in place of clear water. Water balance cannot be replenished by lemonade, juice, mineral water, smoothies, tea, or coffee. These are independent meals, and not the most nutritious ones.
Remember that natural freshly squeezes juice will make your blood sugar soar, which in turn will fuel your appetite. All the most valuable nutrients are discarded with the fruit pulp, peel and seeds. Juices and fruit nectars sold in cartons are not stomach-activated food, they are useless food, having no energy value for your cells but containing colossal amounts of sugar and other synthetic components. Where do they go? Correct: they are highly likely to settle in your sides. If you did not use to have the habit of drinking lots of hot water, you may take my word (along with the words of numerous alumni of the program) for it — you are going to develop this habit faster than you acquire any other healthy living skills. Your body does not need to readjust specially for this new rule; it will remember what it knows by nature. You might need the remind-me mode for the first couple of days: set alarms on your phone or install a special app to control the amount of water you drink, but later you should abandon the reminders of electronic assistants, as you must learn how to listen to your own body signals. In three days, your body itself will start reminding you to drink water by developing a dry mouth. This is a good sign; it means you have restored one of the connections with your body. In fact, not having the habit of drinking water is not normal! Remember yourself as a child; look at your own children: after a few hours outside, a child can drink a glass of clear water before you bat an eyelash. Their body demands that, and they follow this call without thinking.
It is best to drink hot water. Our blood vessels cannot heat the incoming water with the same speed as we drink it; that is why cold water (or any other cold liquid) is not assimilated by the body, and is discarded. You must have noticed how quickly you need to the toilet after drinking cold water? As a last resort, if there is no other way, you may drink cold water, but very slowly and in very small gulps.
Useful Tip. It is impossible to be constantly tied to the kettle; however you can keep water in bottles on the window sill, or on the dashboard of your car where sunlight will warm it up even in winter. When traveling by car, thermo cups are convenient, and for other situations it is enough to have a one liter vacuum flask; this volume will be enough for half a day. Unless you are in a desert, you will find a place where you can replenish your supply of water within this time.
Your relationship with sugar and sweeteners
It is recommended that you refuse sugar, sugar-containing products, and sweeteners for the period of the program, and replace them with dried fruit, fresh fruit, and honey; ideally, you should make friends with them for life. Sugar and high-sugar products are as good as useless for your body (contrary to salt), and very often they are even harmful and dangerous. Sometimes however we (especially women!) cannot resist a “tiniest piece of chocolate”. The urge could be so strong that you might take it for a true need of your body. “Why, if I want it so much, then I somehow really must need it, right?” we nod in agreement and … unwrap another candy bar.
In such a situation, we deal with a certain substitution of notions. Indeed, a strong affliction to a certain product is a clear signal from our body, but let’s get into what it actually wants to tell us about.
The desire to immediately eat or drink something sweet (a chocolate, cookie, sweet coffee or tea) is a message that the body urgently needs an energy recharge or emotional support, so we can handle our current tasks or inner turmoil. You reach for sweets because it is an easy access to energy. If you remember, nature is uncompromising in all that pertains to survival, and tends to look for the easiest and most effective solution. Besides, each of us has a reflex learned early in life: sweet means good, approval, comfort, or reward. Parents should be more cautious and not promise chocolate to their child in exchange for their consent to tidying up their room or stopping crying.
Sugar is a source of fast-acting carbohydrates, quick to give us warmth and energy – yet the cheap energy is quick to leave our body, so new and new charges are needed.
This method of energy replenishment is impractical; sugar and synthetic compounds gradually destroy our body and provoke weight gaining, while the habit of eating sweets sometimes makes the person a real hostage to the substance. There are terms such as ‘sugar needle’ and ‘sugar withdrawal’. Let us not dramatize, however, because getting off the sugar needle is a bit easier than it seems!
If you are faced with the desire to eat something sweet, allow yourself to do it, but first answer the question, what exactly do you want to receive in this way: comfort, relaxation, satiation, praise, affection? Then choose and try another method of obtaining the thing you actually need.
What can physically replace sugar? Hunger indicators, especially sweet ones (dried or fresh fruit), can give you the same sensations as sugar-containing foods – the sweet taste, something to chew upon, energy, satisfaction. You can satisfy your need in sweets by fresh fruit and berries. The only condition: Fresh fruit and berries are best digested in the first half of the day. Try using ‘smokva’, the Russian dry marmalade; it is a sweet yet harmful treat. Smokva is made from fruit, most often apples. You can make it at home or sometimes find it in ‘healthy foods’ departments of supermarkets. Here is how is it is cooked: peel rinsed fruit and take away the seeds; then crush them in a blender and boil down to the state of paste; cut it in stripes and let them air dry. The stripes of dry marmalade can be formed into rolls and stored in a box. It is chewed like a gum; it has a rich sour-sweet taste while lacking the drawbacks of sugar-containing foods.
We sometimes explain our attraction to sweets by the necessity to cheer up our brain; when the brain is active, it really needs to be fed glucose. Natural honey is a very good source of energy for the brain cells. Feeling mentally tired? Have a teaspoonful of honey. That is enough. As with any other product, it is important not to overdo it; in big quantities it harms the pancreas, and teeth enamel, and may provoke buildup of body fat.
A teaspoonful of honey is the maximum one-time portion of the product.
I would like to dwell a little more on the subject of sweeteners. The majority of sweeteners are synthetic compounds created in chemical laboratories, hundreds of times sweeter than the natural sugar, with zero calories. Sweeteners do not belong to the group of stomach-activated products, meaning they do not have any nutritional value at the same time having lots of limitations in use and lots of possible side effects.
Some experts say sweeteners are toxic for humans and ought to be banned from the open market. Nevertheless, sweeteners are widely used in the foodstuff industry, since unlike natural sugar, their production is very cheap. Sweeteners are added to candies, chocolate, soda, chewing gum, pastries, sweet rolls, ready-made yogurts. The potential danger is that the sweetener components are assimilated in the full form, they are not recognized or processed, but gradually accumulate in cells and tissues, becoming the causes of many disorders in the functioning of organs and systems. Since their breakdown is a slow process which may go on for years, people mostly do not associate their health problems with the use of sweeteners. Most likely, we are yet to discover the entire truth about the negative consequences of these products.
If it is beyond you power to give up sweeteners completely, at least try to shield your children from them, as children’s bodies are twice more sensitive to toxic and foreign substances.
Your relationship with dairy products
Dairy products must be present in a healthy diet (with the exception for medical contra-indications or personal intolerance); they are a source of calcium, which is crucial for the health of the heart, muscles, bones, teeth, and nervous system. Calcium in large doses can even prevent the development of precancer colon conditions in the risk groups.
I would like to dismantle the myth about the wholesomeness of defatted dairies. One cannot actually say they are harmful, they are rather just useless: our bodies are not meant to extract calcium from low-calorie yoghurts, milk, or cream. That is why it is better to opt for products with normal fat contents: 40% for cheese, 3% for yoghurt, 20% for cream, and 9% for curd.
Dairy products are good for the first half of your day, e.g. for breakfast. Your metabolism is active enough at this time to assimilate fatty food easily and completely. If you are used to cereals for breakfast, try adding a little curd to it. By the way, a portion of 9% fat curd in the morning will give you the feeling of fullness until lunchtime, which means you can easily go without the obligatory coffee plus sweets (but do not forget the hunger indicators!)
Your relationship with fruit, vegetables and salads
There is a common food habit of eating fresh fruit, vegetables or salads before bed. They are said to be ‘light foods’. In reality, everything is the other way around: fresh fruit, vegetables and greens you eat after 4 pm will cause flatulence and intestinal discomfort. The thing is, your body produces little to no appropriate ferments in the afternoon, so when they arrive in the stomach, unprocessed fruit and vegetables are digested too slowly; then the proceed to slowly move along the intestines causing putrification and fermentation.
Sour and sour-sweet fruit stimulate the production of stomach juices and your appetite, which is undesirable in the evening, while sugar contained in fresh fruit puts a lot of stress on your liver if eaten in the second half of the day. If you want to make sure the fruit and vegetable you eat are good for you — eat them before 4 pm!
After thermal processing, however, fresh fruit and vegetables become quite suitable evening food. So if you really want an apple in the evening, let it be a baked apple. For example, bake it with cinnamon – it will be delicious, aromatic, and truly healthy. The simplest way of cooking fresh fruit or vegetables is baking them in the oven with your favorite spices or just microwaving them for some 3 min.
Useful Tip. Always scald onions before adding them to dishes (salads, hamburgers, ravioli, soup, etc.). Sautéing chopped onions unfortunately does not solve the problem, as they remain raw and can provoke intestinal fermentation; onion-flavored belch, you would agree, is not the most pleasant thing for a romantic morning or family breakfast.
Chapter 6. Time to eat! (proper hours for effective slimming)
In food as in life, sometimes the missing ingredient is love.
(“The Ramen Girl”)
Everything that pertains to health and longevity has been long discovered and tried out by ancient civilizations, and (unfortunately) long forgotten by their successors. We are now lucky to see the world coming to senses and starting to reach out for these sources of knowledge, supplementing them by modern discoveries and technologies. The rules of our Program are nothing revolutionary in healthy eating, which is not a surprise — all true value usually is simple and based on common sense. I wish the Program works its best for you, therefore let us dwell a bit more on how you can incorporate its rules in your daily routines. One of the principles of the system says: to each dish – its own time of day. This means: for your breakfast, lunch and dinner, choose only the products which are fully digested at this particular time of day.
The most important time of day, it sets the mood for the whole day. Want to change your life? Do not hurry to ‘leave everything and go travel the world’, try to change your morning routine for starters.
The participants of the EatReadSlim program which goes on for about one month begin each morning with a visit to the toilet, and weighing. You should weigh on an empty stomach and only in the morning, and record the results in a special journal; this is important, as it disciplines the mind and allows us to see the dynamics and the direct effect of your actions.
Next, drink a glass of hot water and eat a spoonful of cold-pressed olive oil. Hot water in the morning functions as a natural ‘alarm clock’ for your body; it gently wakes all your systems and organs, carefully cleans the lining of your stomach, and prepares it for the intake of food. You could even drink two glasses of water: the more actively your cells imbibe water, the easier it is for your body to discard toxins and non-assimilated substances.