Rather than feel overwhelmed by your diet and fitness goals, give yourself 28 days to instill new eating habits and exercise routines. Several fitness experts and doctors have safe 28-day diet and exercise plans that support a gradual level of weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. This rate of weight loss means that you are burning 3,500 to 7,000 extra calories per week, easily achievable with daily exercise and improved eating habits.
Kick Your Carb Addiction
Dr. Mehmet Oz has several month-long challenges that help people improve their eating habits and get fit. His 28-day plan to kick your carb addition encourages a slow transition to a diet free of refined carbohydrates, such as white rice and white breads 1. In the first week, you eliminate all simple carbs and eat healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts and olive oil. He also recommends that you limit sugar to less than 4 grams per serving. During the second week, you add brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain breads and other fiber-rich complex carbohydrates to your eating plan. The third week emphasizes portion control. The fourth week allows you to select a weekly cheat day, when you can enjoy your favorite pizza or pasta dish without feeling guilty.
To lose up to 2 pounds per week, or 8 pounds in a month, you need to cut 500 to 1,000 calories per day. Counting calories, reducing portion sizes and swapping fattening indulgences for healthier options can help you achieve these goals. Cut out a snack-sized bag of potato chips and a glass of soda to save yourself around 500 calories. Fill half your plate with fresh fruit and vegetables rather than processed food products. Eat a bowl of berries instead of a large order of fast food french fries and you save another 500 calories.
In four weeks, you can raise your level of fitness through a simple walking program. Use a pedometer so you can count how many steps your walk during the course of your day. Do this for three days, total the steps and divide them by three to get your baseline. On the fourth and fifth days, add 1,000 steps each day to your baseline, and do an extra 20-minute walk. Repeat this routine on the sixth day, and add another 1,000 steps on the seventh day. By the end of the second week, you should have increased to 2,000 steps over your baseline. In the third week, walk 2,000 to 2,500 steps over your baseline and be doing 20- to 30-minute walks. In the fourth week, do the same amount of steps but incorporate hills into your route.
Full Body Workout
A 28-day fitness plan can sculpt your body, build muscle mass and burn fat. Spend Sundays doing 30 to 40 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise. Spend Mondays doing a strength training workout that features dumbbell press squats, pushups on a stability ball, lunges, squats and dumbbell raises to your chest and overhead. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, do cardiovascular interval training that intersperses steady activity with 30-second sprints every five minutes. On Wednesdays, do deep lunges, opposing arm and leg lifts while balanced on a stability ball, high steps up to a bench and abdominal crunches. On Fridays, choose one of the strength workouts. Rest on Saturdays.
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