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Harley Pasternak: Do This Every Day and You’ll Lose Weight

Salad with Salmon
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Harley Pasternak is a celebrity trainer and nutrition expert who has worked with stars from Halle Berry and Lady Gaga to Robert Pattinson and Robert Downey Jr. He’s also a New York Times best-selling author, with titles including The Body Reset Diet and The 5-Factor Diet. His new book 5 Pounds is out now. Tweet him @harleypasternak.


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 know what you’re “supposed” to eat. You go to the gym. So why can’t you drop the pounds and get the body you deserve, especially given all of your hard work?

Putting aside all those silly methods marketed to us in books and magazines, on television and the Internet — think of the Cookie Diet, the Caveman Diet, the fat-burning cleanses, pole dancing, etc. — there are countless actions supported by good science that can help you slim down. Examples: drinking cold water or green tea; eating more loganberries, grapefruit or whole grains; laughing or fidgeting more; exercising in cold weather; replacing your desk chair with a stability ball; getting a workout partner; keeping a diet log and so on, and on and on.

Even I have found myself 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.

So which of these things do we actually need to do? Which ones make the most difference? And which take the least amount of time? Bottom line: Which are the absolutely most effective and efficient behaviors we need to incorporate into our lives to lose the most amount of weight in the least amount of time?

In search of the holy grail of weight loss, I recruited scientists at three of the top North American universities, and together we examined the vast body of weight-loss research recorded over the last couple of decades to see which weight-loss habits proved to be the most effective. Then, I reviewed two decades’ worth of client notes and logs from my own practice as a nutritionist and fitness trainer. After narrowing down that list, I tried those behaviors, first on myself and then on my clients.

Two years later, I have the answer. I’ve distilled the essence of weight loss into five simple daily habits that complement one another and work synergistically. Please pick up a copy of 5 Pounds and Tweet me your results!

Here is what a perfect 5 Pounds day looks like:
7 a.m.: Wake up (you just had at least seven hours of sleep!)
7:20 a.m.: Walk to your local coffee shop and back (2500 steps)
7:45 a.m.: Breakfast. How about an apple pie smoothie (1 apple, 1 sliced frozen banana, 5 raw almonds, 3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon)
8:15 a.m.: Park your car a block further away than normal (get an extra 750 steps)
10 a.m.: Morning snack of cut veggies and hummus, bottle of smartwater
12:30 p.m.: Walk to great lunch spot around the corner (2000 steps) and have a salad with as many veggies as you want, a piece of grilled salmon and some fresh Hass avocado. And be sure to turn your phone off — this is your unplugging time
3:30 p.m.: Afternoon snack time! Have a siggi’s yogurt with blackberries and a bottle of smartwater in the courtyard downstairs at work, and take the stairs back up to the office (500 steps)
5:30 p.m.: Tell your boss, “I’m outta here!” and walk back to your car (750 steps)
6 p.m.: You’re home! First, grab your earpiece, then call some friends as you walk around your neighborhood (2500 steps). Head home to do 5 sets of 20 reps of skater lunges
7 p.m.: What’s for dinner? How about a homemade chicken stir-fry with slivered cashews?
10 p.m.: Time for bed. Leave your phone to charge in the kitchen (and not in your bedroom). Grab a copy of one of my earlier books, and you’ll be counting sheep in minutes

Harley Pasternak 5 Pounds
Courtesy Harley Pasternak

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