5 Pounds The Breakthrough 5-Day Plan to Jump-Start Rapid Weight Loss


You’ve lost weight before. Maybe even several times. But you’re still not happy with your body. Perhaps, despite all your efforts, you’re heavier than ever. Or maybe it’s that you just can’t shake those last few pounds. You care about how you look. You know what you’re “supposed” to eat. You belong to a gym.

So why can’t you drop the pounds and get the body you want—and deserve—especially given all your hard work? After a decade of studying weight loss as an undergrad and a graduate student at university, then 3 years as a scientist, and nearly 22 years in private practice, even I’ve become confused, overwhelmed, and often immobilized by all the weight-loss information we’re bombarded with. Every morning I wake up to a new slew of studies, all announcing yet another “thing” that can help us lose weight, burn calories, and banish fat.

Part 1: The My 5 Plan

Changing the way you eat is obviously essential to weight loss. But that alone is unlikely to result in the kind of weight loss you’re looking for. It’s only one of the five interlocking factors that make up my revolutionary approach to fast-track weight loss. After 22 years of working one-on-one to help people lose weight, I have a pretty good handle on human nature.

If I begin with any of the other four components, I know that you will likely skip over the other content to see what you can eat, when you can eat it, and how much of it you can eat. So I’ll save you the trouble. However, I want to reiterate that following just the dietary prescription and ignoring the rest of My 5, or choosing only the components you like best, will not give you the results promised in the title: goodbye to 5 pounds—fast! The My 5 eating plan “formula” for success isn’t just fast. It’s also simple: Eat three meals and two snacks that include protein and fiber each and every day.

5 Reasons Why My 5 Is Easy to Do

  1. You don’t have to count calories.
  2. You don’t have to weigh portions.
  3. You’ll find the foods you need in any well-stocked supermarket, so there’s no need to seek out exotic ingredients or to order expensive special meals.
  4. You won’t be overcome by cravings or extreme hunger.
  5. You can easily eat this way anywhere: at home, at work, and on the road.
WHAT, WHEN, AND HOW MUCH?

The food component of My 5 has three aspects:
  1.  Frequency: You’ll eat five times a day (three meals and two snacks).
  2. Food choices: Every meal must have protein, fibrous carbohydrates—think leafy greens, string beans, apples, and lots more—and healthy fats. Snacks, too, must contain protein and fibrous carbs.
  3. Portion control: You’ll use your hand to judge portion size.
Two of my professors at the University of Toronto, David Jenkins, MD, PhD, and Thomas M.S. Wolever, MD, PhD, pioneered the research that laid out the case for eating several small meals rather than three large ones, which underlies this program.1 The pair also created the glycemic index. 

Eating three meals and two snacks spaced out evenly throughout the day is not optional; it’s absolutely integral to My 5. You’ll be eating roughly every 3 hours. Say you have breakfast at 7:00 a.m. Then you’d have your morning snack at 10:00 a.m., followed by lunch at 1:00 p.m. At 4:00 p.m., you’d have another snack, followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. Obviously, you can adjust these times to fit your schedule, but the point is to never allow yourself to become overly hungry by going more than 4 hours between a meal or a snack. Why does this approach work so well? I’m sure you’ve had the experience of postponing lunch or dinner for hours, only to find that when you did sit down to eat, you were insatiable. You grabbed the first thing you saw and as much of it as you could—think potato chips, candy, or baked goods.

 That’s reactive eating. Instead, I want you to eat proactively, which enables you to remain in control of your appetite and what and how much you eat. And obviously, appetite control is a key component of weight loss. But the neat thing is that you’re not suppressing your appetite to control your intake. Instead, your appetite is actually reduced when you eat more frequently, and your cravings also disappear. That’s why I refer to this concept as “grazing rather than gorging.

Why does eating this way help you lose weight? There’s been considerable research comparing the impact of eating more, smaller meals each day (grazing) with the conventional three meals-a-day approach. Studies show thatthe grazing method helps moderate blood sugar levels, resulting in lower insulin levels, which is essential to weight loss. 

Grazing also reduces appetite and minimizes cravings for sweet and starchy foods. Other studies suggest that eating frequent meals leads to a steadier metabolism, which can burn more fat throughout the day as well as give you a more consistent energy level throughout the day.Because less body fat is stored, rapid weight loss can result and can be maintained.Finally, in concert with eating sufficient protein, grazing rather than gorging enhances the ability to maintain muscle mass while losing weight.

Part 2: 5 Days 5 Pounds

Now that you’ve learned about all five components of the My 5 Plan, let’s get cracking on shedding those 5 pounds. In Chapter 1, we discussed the proportions of protein, fibrous carbohydrates, and healthy fats that will make up your meals and team up to burn fat fast, as well as boost your energy. 

Now let’s get into the specifics with a ground plan for the next 5 days, complete with meal plans, guidelines on portion sizes, snack suggestions, advice on how to get meals on the table, and some “convenience” foods to have on hand so you can always get a meal on the table, pronto. When you’ve finished this chapter, you’ll truly understand how easy it is to eat this way throughout the day, no matter where you are.

If you’re like many busy people, I suspect that you wind up eating at least some or perhaps many of your meals away from home. I certainly do. I travel a lot and often have to eat in restaurants or hotels. For many people who are watching their weight, this can spell trouble, but the vast majority of the foods you’ll be eating on My 5 are readily available in your company cafeteria, the local deli, salad bar, or coffee shop, and certainly at most restaurants. 

The snacks are also easy to find and/or tote along in your purse or backpack. In addition to being super simple, the diet part of My 5 is also versatile. That’s why I’m giving you two options in each of the 5 days’ worth of meal plans. Option 1 relies primarily on recipes that appear in Part 3. Option 2 includes items that are easy to find at a salad bar, restaurant, or deli, such as a turkey burger, Cobb salad, or a shrimp stir fry, along with readily available snacks. 

Don’t assume that just because an item appears on a menu that it’s good to go. You may have to ask a few questions to find out exactly what’s in any salad and make sure, for example, it’s not drowning in high-fat, high-sugar salad dressing. The same applies to sandwiches: You won’t want it if it comes on a huge white roll slathered with mayo. For more advice on eating out, see

“Make Your Wishes Clear” below.

Make Your Wishes Clear

Here are strategies for ordering meals in a restaurant or deli during the first 5 days, along with suggestions to get what you actually want.
EGG DISHES: Ask for egg whites only or just one yolk cooked in a teaspoon of olive oil, and one piece of high-fiber bread on the side.
SALADS: Ask if the croutons, mozzarella, salami, or other high-fat or starchy carbs can be omitted, and request oil and vinegar on the side. You may have to remove any offending items yourself, but you can control the dressing situation.
SANDWICHES: Request an open-face sandwich on high-fiber bread. If that’s not available, simply deconstruct it and eat it with a fork. Also tell the server to hold the mayo.
BURGERS: Ask if you can have it in a lettuce cup or on a single slice of high-fiber bread instead of on a bun. If not, deconstruct.
MAIN DISHES: Ask if the sauce can be omitted or served on the side. It may be full of butter and white flour. Inquire if the chicken, fish, or shellfish is breaded or batter-dipped. If so, see if it can be grilled or baked instead.
SOUP: Avoid chicken noodle soup and others heavy on the pasta. Instead, opt for a hearty fish chowder or gumbo, or beef or chicken vegetable soup. Pea and lentil soup are other options. Pass on the saltines and request a slice of high-fiber bread.

You can follow one of these two options to a T, or more likely combine suggestions from the two to suit your schedule and lifestyle. For example, you might always pick up breakfast on the way to work during the workweek but enjoy making breakfast on the weekends. Perhaps you routinely eat out at lunchtime but make a point of having dinner together as a family, even if it means relying wholly or partially on offerings from a salad bar or take-out place. 

Perhaps your Friday-night ritual is to dine out with your partner or friends. When it comes to snacks, feel free to substitute any of the snack suggestions for those on the meal plans. Whatever your preferences, you’ll find options that let you quickly pull together a meal or find a suitable (and delicious) alternative in a restaurant. By Day 6, after following these 5 days of meal plans, you’ll be able to continue confidently on your own.

Part 3: Recipes

SMOOTHIES
Green Ginger-Peach Smoothie
Blueberry-Pomegranate Slushie
Tropical Green Smoothie
PB and Grape Smoothie
Apple, Peach, and Spinach Smoothie
SCRAMBLES
Artichoke, Mushroom, and Smoked Salmon Scramble
Spinach Omelet with Feta and Avocado
South-of-the-Border Omelet
Sweet Potato Hash with Turkey Sausage
Italian Frittata with Zucchini, Leeks, and Parmesan
SANDWICHES
Salmon and Goat Cheese Melt
White Bean, Caramelized Onion, and Wilted Arugula Toast
Grilled Cheese, Pear, and Turkey Sandwich
Charred Corn and Cumin Chicken Wrap
SALADS
Curried Chicken and Baby Spinach Salad
Cumin-Roasted Sweet Potato, Quinoa, and Black Bean SaladSpicy, Crunchy Wheat Berry Salad
Kale Salad with Toasted Chickpeas and Lemon-Tahini Dressing
Chopped Chicken and Pepperoni Salad on Mixed Greens
Salad Niçoise
SOUPS
Green Split Pea Soup
Manhattan-Style Chicken-Corn Chowder
Turkey, Barley, and Chard Soup
Mediterranean Lemon-Chicken Soup
Creamy White Bean and Kale Soup
STIR-FRIES AND SKILLET DISHES
Shrimp and Black Bean Stir-Fry
Saffron Shrimp Paella
Korean Chicken Stir-Fry
Spring Green Sauté with Farro
Steak and Ratatouille Stir-Fry
SNACKS
Lite French Toast
Bell Pepper and Turkey Roll-Ups
Red Lentil Puree
Pear Crumble with Greek Yogurt
Skinny Guacamole
Chocolate-Avocado Mousse with Raspberries
Berry-Muesli Yogurt Parfait

NOTE: Portion sizes assume a weight of up to 175 pounds. If you weigh more than that, increase
portion sizes by one-third. Nutritional information reflects the regular serving

GREEN GINGER-PEACH SMOOTHIE

Smoothies blend faster if you add the fruit and the liquid or yogurt at the same time. Add ice cubes to the mixture until the consistency is to your liking.

INGREDIENTS

1½ cups frozen peaches
¼ cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt 1½ cups spinach leaves
6 whole raw almonds, coarsely chopped 1½ tablespoons (about ½ scoop) unflavored protein powder Ice cubes (optional)
In a blender or food processor, blend the peaches, raspberries, ginger, yogurt, spinach, almonds, and protein powder until smooth. Add the ice cubes, if desired, and blend once more.

NUTRITION INFO: 315 calories, 25 grams protein, 37 grams carbs, 8 grams fiber, 9 grams fat

BLUEBERRY-POMEGRANATE SLUSHIE

There are many types and brands of protein powder. My favorite is Source Organic Whey. Floating pomegranate seeds add texture and crunch to this frosty concoction.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen ¼ cup raspberries, fresh or frozen ½ cup nonfat milk
¼ cup pomegranate juice

1 tablespoon lime juice

3 tablespoons (about 1 scoop) unflavored protein powder Ice cubes (optional)

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds for garnish

In a blender or food processor, blend the blueberries, raspberries, milk, pomegranate juice, lime juice, and protein powder until smooth.  Add the ice, if desired, and blend again. Garnish the drink with the pomegranate seeds.

NUTRITION INFO: 322 calories, 22 grams protein, 57 grams carbs, 8 grams fiber, 3 grams fat

Part 4: The My 5 Workouts

As a reminder, you’ll do one exercise each day, for about 5 minutes, following a brief warmup. The program is adaptable to every level of fitness, from Beginner to Advanced, and is designed to allow you make modifications and add variety as you build your strength and endurance in a number of ways. You may want to review Chapter 2 before beginning. 

Over 5 days, you’ll work every major muscle group. On Day 8, repeat this sequence of exercises. Continue to perform one exercise daily for a total of 6 weeks, moving from Beginner (if necessary) to Intermediate and finally Advanced. If you have not yet moved to Advanced after 6 weeks,

DAY 1REVERSE LUNGE




MUSCLE GROUPS WORKED: Quads, hamstrings, and butt (glutes)

FYI: There are many variations of lunges. I like a reverse lunge as an introductory lunge because it’s simple and reduces strain on the knees.

HOW TO DO IT

Start by standing upright, feet shoulder-width apart, and take a large controlled step backward with your right leg. Lower your hips so that your front thigh is parallel to the floor and your left knee is directly over your ankle. Keep your right knee bent at a 90-degree angle and pointing toward the floor. Keep your back straight and look straight ahead.

When your right knee is almost (but not actually) touching the floor, contract your left thigh to return your right leg back to starting position. Repeat with left leg. That’s one rep.

BEGINNER: Complete 10 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then repeat 2 more sets of 10 reps with another 1-minute rest between sets.

INTERMEDIATE: Complete 20 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then repeat 2 more sets of 20 reps with another 1-minute rest between sets.

ADVANCED: Complete 30 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then repeat 2 more sets of 30 reps with another 1-minute rest between sets.

DAY 2SUPERMAN

MUSCLE GROUPS WORKED: Lower back (spinal erectors) and butt (glutes) and some hamstring FYI: Superman helps create a long, flat midsection by strengthening the lower back.

HOW TO DO IT:
Lie with your face down on the floor and your arms and legs fully extended so that your body looks like the letter X from above. 

From this position, lift your arms/chest and thighs toward the ceiling as though you were flying, and then lower them down to the beginning position. Do not hold the pose; just keep going up and down without resting on the floor.

BEGINNER: Complete 10 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then repeat 2 more sets of 10 reps with another 1-minute rest between sets.

INTERMEDIATE: Complete 20 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then repeat 2 more sets of 20 reps with another 1-minute rest between sets.

ADVANCED: Complete 30 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then repeat 2 more sets of 30 reps with another 1-minute rest between sets.

DAY 3LYING DUMBBELL TRICEPS EXTENSION

MUSCLE GROUPS WORKED: Triceps

FYI: Your triceps are the muscles that run along the back of your upper arm. Most people overexercise their biceps and underexercise their triceps.

HOW TO DO IT:
Lying on your back, hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms fully extended toward the ceiling, your palms facing each other. Hinging at your elbows, lower the dumbbells until they are next to your ears. (Don’t let them touch the floor.)

Then extend toward the ceiling, returning to starting position.

BEGINNER: Complete 10 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then repeat 2 more sets of 10 reps with another 1-minute rest between sets.

INTERMEDIATE: Complete 20 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then repeat 2 more sets of 20 reps with another 1-minute rest between sets.

ADVANCED: Complete 30 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then repeat 2 more sets of 30 reps with another 1-minute rest between sets.

DAY 4STIFF-LEG DUMBBELL DEADLIFT


MUSCLE GROUPS WORKED: Hamstrings, glutes

FYI: This is a great exercise for working your hamstrings and butt.

HOW TO DO IT:
Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, with a dumbbell in each hand in front of you, palms facing in toward the front of your thighs. 

Inhale and, while hinging at the hips but keeping your back arched, push your butt backward and slide the dumbbells down the front of yourthighs. Push your hips back as far as you can, feeling a stretch in your hamstrings.

When you can no longer push your hips any farther back, inhale while sliding your hips forward, back to standing. Repeat.

BEGINNER: Complete 10 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then repeat 2 more sets of 10 reps with another 1-minute rest between sets.

INTERMEDIATE: Complete 20 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then repeat 2 more sets of 20 reps with another 1-minute rest between sets.

ADVANCED: Complete 30 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then repeat 2 more sets of 30 reps with another 1-minute rest between sets.

DAY 5STANDING DUMBBELL CURL PRESS


MUSCLE GROUPS WORKED: Biceps and shoulders

FYI: This is a compound movement and combines a biceps curl with a shoulder press, efficiently targeting two areas at once.

HOW TO DO IT:
Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing toward your body. 

Slowly curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders, and then continue to press them up toward the ceiling.

Do the same in reverse as you lower the dumbbells down to starting position.

BEGINNER: Complete 10 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then repeat 2 more sets of 10 reps with another 1-minute rest between sets.

INTERMEDIATE: Complete 20 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then repeat 2 more sets of 20 reps with another 1-minute rest between sets.

ADVANCED: Complete 30 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then repeat 2 more sets of 30 reps with another 1-minute rest between sets.

Part 5: Journal Pages

Answer each question with a yes or no. When you’re just starting out, it will be helpful to add some commentary, particularly if you answer no to a question. Be straightforward (only you will see this), explaining what stood between you and a yes answer. Also record your feelings, any challenges you faced, your sense of accomplishment, and the like. It’s helpful to add details, such as which foods you ate or how many sets and reps you did of the resistance exercises.

After the initial 5 days, as My 5 becomes second nature, you may not need to supply as much detail. My philosophy is that simpler is always better, particularly once you’re in the groove. For that reason, the sample journal page that you can photocopy for Day 6 and beyond is less detailed. Bottom line: Follow whatever approach works best for you, whether that’s including details or just answering a quick yes or no to the five questions.

You’ll notice that I don’t ask you to enter either your starting weight or your weight from day to day. That’s because, as I explained, the scale is an unreliable tool since your weight naturally fluctuates from day to day, depending on your body’s natural processes—and, if you’re a premenopausal woman, upon where you are in your monthly cycle. Either of these factors could create a 4-pound or greater seesaw in weight. A more reliable measure is how a pair of tight jeans fits from day to day. 

Of course, you’re free to enter your weight in this journal if you must, but just don’t let it discourage you if your results aren’t immediately reflected on the scale. I’ve filled in the following sample journal page as an example of the kinds of entries you might make in the first 5 days. Continue to use the journal pages to stay motivated until you achieve your goal and then to maintain your new weight.

I’ve filled in the following sample journal page as an example of the kinds of entries you might make in the first 5 days. Click Here

to download journal pages for each of the first 5 days of My 5 Plan, as well as an extra page you can use for Day 6 and beyond if you decide to continue to keep a journal going forward, as I recommend. Continue to use the journal pages to stay motivated until you achieve your goal and then to maintain your new weight.

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