Zen To Slim: A Simple, 5-Step Weight Loss Plan

Every Friday is Health Tip Day at Zen Habits.

I think this one will be a bit controversial — weight loss theories seem to be a bit divisive, judging from past posts on this topics, as people have very strong opinions about the right way to lose weight.

However, this post isn’t going to explore any of those theories. It’s meant to be a simple plan for people who have trouble losing weight.

These people don’t need to go into the scientific theories, and they probably don’t want to count calories or do any kind of complicated calculations. They just want a few simple steps that they can do, right now, that will work.

When I started running last year, and eating healthier (eventually becoming a near-vegan), I lost more than 20 pounds and kept them off. This year, my workout plan has been disrupted a couple of times by illness and then a back injury, but in July I’ve gotten back on track and can already feel the changes. I am confident that I’ll have a fairly flat stomach by the end of the year, barring any future injuries or severe illnesses.

Anyway, I recently had a few readers ask me about my weight loss plan. Well, I don’t diet, and I don’t do anything too intense. I’ve just made some simple lifestyle changes, one at a time, and I feel much healthier as a result. The weight loss is slower than with some of the more drastic plans, but I feel that they’re more permanent, because I’m in this for life, not for short-term weight loss.

If this sounds right for you, check out the following plan. Of course, you all know that I’m not a doctor, a dietician, a certified personal trainer, or in any way qualified to give advice. You know that you should see a doctor before starting a plan like this, to prevent any serious health consequences. However, this plan is based on the advice of experts much more knowledgeable than me, and I can testify that it works — for me, and for others I know who’ve done similar things.

There is nothing revolutionary in this plan. It’s common-sense, and simple:

Zen To Slim Weight Loss Plan

Step 1: Begin gradual exercise. Instead of trying to change your entire life with an intense weight loss plan, we’re going to start small. All you want to do is make a commitment to get yourself moving for at least 10 or 15 minutes each day for 30 days straight.

Some key points:

Step 2: Replace fatty and greasy foods with healthier foods. You’re not going to go on a diet. But take a look at what you eat, and try to slowly replace the greasier and fattier foods you eat (think: fast food, or fried food) with healthier alternatives.

Some key points for this step:

Step 3: Eat smaller meals, more frequently. Once you start getting used to less fatty foods, try eating smaller portions, and eating 5-6 times per day instead of just 3 big meals.

Some key points:

Step 4: Intensify exercise slowly. Once you’ve gone a month or so doing very short and easy workouts each day, and your body is used to daily exercise, you can gradually intensify the exercise.

Some points:

Step 5: Replace sugary foods with healthier treats. The next target food area is sugary foods. Just as you did with fatty foods, try to replace them with healthier alternatives one at a time. With the combination of lower fat and less sugar in your diet, and your exercise, you should start losing weight much faster by this step.

Some points to make: