Authors: Jillian Michaels
Put the tips to which you have an immediate “no way in hell” reaction out of your mind for now. Chances are, if your aversion to
them is that strong, and they feel impossible or ridiculous to you, it doesn’t matter how effective they might be—you won’t employ them. Guess what? There’s a good chance you won’t have to. It’s likely you’ll rack up enough slim changes that the tips you can’t manage will be irrelevant. When we get to
and you add up your slim score and are looking for more radical results, then we’ll revisit your rejected tips with a more open mind. Worry about that when we get there.
Now, fair warning, there’s some information here that you won’t be rewarded points for. Here’s why: even though they’re great tips and I want you to employ them, they don’t
your actual weight loss. Instead they facilitate it. So, for example, tips for saving money on healthy eating and exercising and dressing in slimming ways will not be awarded a point rating as they’re optional and have no direct impact on the scale. They will, however, smooth the way to slim and make your life better overall, so I highly recommend you implement them. Getting and living slim is really about the whole picture after all, right?
By the way, there will be a few tips in here that don’t reinvent the wheel—you’ve likely heard them before. I debated whether to include the ones that are more commonly known, as I always strive to give you the most current and cutting-edge information, but I ended up arriving at the conclusion that I must. Here’s why: first, all of you have varying levels of knowledge on the subject matter of slim. On the off chance that you’re new to the topics of diet and fitness entirely, I didn’t want to rob you of Slim 101. Second, I worried that if you didn’t see the basic or old-hat information listed in these chapters, you might think it wasn’t important—but it is. In addition to teaching you new state-of-the-art slim strategies, I’m also going to improve upon any existing knowledge you may have of the more common weight-loss methods by explaining to you
the advice is important and
to better implement it into your life.
Now, let’s roll.
The purpose of this chapter is to lay your
for lifelong control over your weight, and that starts with what you eat. You’ll see that this and the exercise chapter are some of the longest ones in the book—that’s on purpose. These two subject matters are the cornerstones of successful weight loss. And it’s my goal to teach you how to master and implement them in the easiest and most effective ways possible.
I’ve always hated the word
, because I truly believe that nothing in life worth having is easy,
my goal here is to make your relationship with food and eating healthy easier—as easy as
. In other words, there might be some sacrifice, but I’ve done my best to make it as effortless and painless as can be.
Slim for Life
’s effectiveness relies on applying the proven science behind fast and lasting weight loss to your daily life. It’s all digested throughout these pages into strategies, tips, tricks, and “secrets” that allow you to lose weight without needing a mind-numbing education in biochemistry, tediously counting calories, or wasting hours in the gym. The lifestyle changes I’m suggesting ultimately will
burn the most
calories as quickly as possible without making you miserable and bored.
has a negative connotation when it comes to finances, but when it comes to calories and weight loss, it’s key. You simply must burn more calories in a day than you consume. This book is designed to help you do this without hours of calorie counting and calculating.
Fat is nothing more than
energy; a calorie is a unit of energy. The energy you don’t use gets stored in your body as fat. The obvious way to lose weight, despite whatever load of crap the diet charlatans tell you, is to eat less and move more. But that’s not always as simple as it sounds, is it?
We used to believe, until very recently, that we could calculate weight loss based on a simple equation: a
pound equals 3,500 calories, so we need to create a 3,500-calorie deficit to lose a pound. For example, if you have 25 pounds to lose, then based on the 3,500-calorie theory, if you exercise and reduce your diet for a combined deficit of 1,000 calories a day, you should lose 25 pounds in about 12 weeks (2 pounds per week). The most current research, however, published in 2011 in
suggests that this rule of thumb is both a misnomer and misleading. Not only do some people lose weight faster than others, but the amount that people lose is not equal within the same time frame.
The researchers in this study suggest that there are other factors
at play that we hadn’t previously thought were relevant—age, height, weight, gender, body fat percentage, and resting metabolic rate. These count when it comes to estimating a truer calculation of calories used versus those taken in each day.
Genetics make you fat.
Although it may be harder for you to maintain slim than it is for that friend who eats whatever he or she wants and never gains an ounce, you’re not relegated to obesity because of your genetics. I’ve never met a person I couldn’t help take the weight off. People nevertheless embrace this theory for weight-loss failure. Genetics are dynamic, not static. This means that we affect the expression of our genes through our
lifestyle choices. Stop comparing yourself to others. I guarantee that if you eat well, move more, and take care of yourself, you’ll be slim and healthy.
To see what it will take you to lose weight calorie-wise in conjunction with the amount of activity you’re willing to put in, the researchers have created a mathematical tool, available to the public online:
. You simply go to this page and enter your personal info and the amount and intensity of training you’re willing to do, and the
simulator will ballpark for you how much you should be eating in a day. Try it—it’s supercool. I used it during Season 14 with our
contestants, and it worked like a charm.
In the event you want to go a little more old school, we can get in the ballpark of what you’re
burning in a day right now with a pen and paper and a calculator. The first thing we’ll do is calculate your
basal metabolic rate (BMR), the amount of calories your body uses for involuntary bodily functions—basically when you’re asleep or at rest. Your BMR doesn’t take into account the number of calories you burn from your daily activity, though. That’s your AMR, or
active metabolic rate. I’ll get to that in a minute.
uses the variables of height, weight, age, and gender to calculate the body’s energy expenditure. The only factors it omits are
lean body mass (the ratio of muscle to fat that a body has) and biochemistry. If you have hypothyroid, polycystic ovary
syndrome (PCOS), insulin resistance, or estrogen dominance, there’s no way for the BMR formula to read that—you need blood work and an endocrinologist to deal with these issues. Barring a hormonal disorder, however, this formula will be fairly accurate overall. One additional caveat: for very muscular people, it will slightly underestimate the calorie burn, and for those with a higher percentage of body fat, it will slightly overestimate it.
Use the following BMR formula for your gender to
calculate your BMR:
Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 × weight in pounds) + (4.7 × height in inches) - (4.7 × age in years)
Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 × weight in pounds) + (12.7 × height in inches) - (6.8 × age in years
After you’ve run through these simple calculations and come up with your BMR, we need to then calculate your
AMR. This next exercise is going to tell us how many calories you’re
burning in a day
adding in your exercise burn—simply the amount you burn in an average day of your life (sans exercise).
category you fall into:
1. If you’re chained to your desk and sedentary most of your day, you’re a 1.1. People who fall into this category would be receptionists, telemarketers, and customer service reps.
2. If you’re mildly active over the course of your day, you’re a 1.2. People who fall into this category are housewives and retail salespeople—basically folks who are on their feet throughout the day but not exerting themselves as a part of their job (though the moms among you might argue with me on this one).
3. If you’re active and on your feet moving at a fast pace, you’re a 1.3. I fall into this category, as most trainers will. So will a plumber or an electrician. This applies to those who are up, moving, and exerting energy but not working on a chain gang.
4. If you’re extremely physically active, you’re a 1.4. Construction workers, professional athletes, essentially anyone who is constantly exerting themselves throughout the course of their day fits into this group.
Once you’ve identified which category fits you best, take that number and multiply it by your BMR. So if my BMR is 1,300, I would multiply it by 1.3 and arrive at 1,690. Now I know that if I eat around 1,700 calories a day on the days I don’t work out, I won’t gain weight. Additionally, on the days I do work out, I’ll be able to factor in that additional burn and ramp up my AMR. Let’s say I add an hour of training and I burn 500 calories during that hour, then my total AMR will be 2,300.
With all the info I’ve just given you here, there’s absolutely no way you won’t be able to figure out your personal magic number. Use the URL from earlier in this section to calculate your weight-loss
goals (the amount of weight you want to lose and the time frame you want to lose it in), and it will tell you how many calories you should be taking in daily. Or use the AMR equation I’ve provided here. As long as you don’t eat over your AMR on a daily basis, you won’t gain weight.
If you don’t want to do any math and just want a bottom-line number for accelerated weight loss, here it is: 1,200 calories a day if you’re a woman and 1,600 if you’re a man. Don’t go any lower than that. Anything less will leave you miserable, hungry, and weak
and possibly cause your body to cannibalize its own muscle tissue. Ultimately you won’t have to count your calories at all after you get used to following
Slim for Life,
as the tips in this book, when applied, will healthfully regulate your food intake without you even realizing it.
It’s important to know the basics, though, as these principles are going to be the foundation of your new slimming lifestyle.
This is always my first step when I help people get slim. I go through their cabinets, fridge, and pantry and dump out the fattening junk
foods. You can’t eat what’s not there.
Ever heard the maxim
less is more
? This should be a no-brainer when it comes to food—it’s an easy way to seriously cut calories
cutting out the foods you love, without feeling deprived. If there’s a smaller version of the food you’re purchasing and consuming, buy it. Just in case you’re clueless as to what I mean, here are some examples. When ordering out, always ask for the smallest size, or baby portion, available. Get the small order of fries, the child-size ice cream cup, the Tall-size mocha at Starbucks. Choose the cheeseburger instead of the triple-patty bacon extravaganza. Get it? The same is true when you’re grocery shopping: buy the mini-bagels, the baby muffins, and the 4-ounce yogurt container, not the 6-ounce. Even choosing a smaller piece of fruit will reduce the sugar content you consume, as well as the calories. This simple portion-control tactic will reduce your calorie intake with minimal effort and thought.
This one can be so tedious, especially when you’re on the go. But the reason we health folks say it all the time is that tracking your intake helps you eat less. It forces you to stop and figure out how
much you’re actually eating, it helps you realize when you’re grazing too much, and it allows you to tally up your calories at the end of the day. As time consuming as it is to do, study after study on successful long-term weight loss pinpoints the fact that
daily, accurate journaling (leaving nothing out, even binge days) is
key ingredient to keeping the pounds off. According to a six-month study of 1,685 dieting individuals, published in the
American Journal of Preventive Medicine,
those who tracked their food daily kept off as much as twice the weight as those who tracked it one day a week or less.
Here’s the secret part that no one tells you: you don’t have to do it forever. I don’t even remember the last time I actually wrote my food down. Now, if you like to keep an ongoing log, then God bless, but there are only three situations when I really need you to buckle down and track in this way: (1) right now, for the first two weeks, as you begin to get your slim on, so you can get a sense of what you’re eating each day; (2) when you’re successfully losing or maintaining and you add a new food to your usual repertoire; and (3) if your weight plateaus.
We really are creatures of habit, and our food choices show it. Did you know that most people eat only twenty foods consistently, out of the thousands of foods available? By tracking your food at the beginning, you’ll learn how to account for the number of calories in the foods you’re regularly eating, as well as create awareness of your eating habits and grazing patterns.
Think about it. I bet you have the same three or four things for breakfast every day, eat the same three or four things for lunch, and hit the same three to five restaurants for dinner. I know I do. I’m pretty sure you also purchase the same brand of bread, turkey, cheese, yogurt, and oatmeal—just as I do. Because I eat so many of the same things, I know there are 80 calories in an egg, 100 calories in my Oikos low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt, and 80 calories in my Horizon organic low-fat cheese stick. I also know that my
two-eggs-over-easy breakfast with two slices of dry Ezekiel toast equals roughly 360 calories.