A 10-day challenge for real losers.

It’s difficult to find a one-size-fits-all weight loss plan, isn’t it? Well, here’s one that’s designed only for real “losers!” It’s called the Plus Zero Plan, which allows you to customize your calorie consumption to your desired weight.

I have done 10-day challenges for several years and one of the main things I like about them is that they only last 10 days. I can usually stick to a plan for 10 days and then rest, rinse, and repeat about every 4–6 weeks.

By repeating the cycle, I hit the reset button on my appetite control center in my brain. During the ten days, I will eat really clean (if I stick to the plan). Then like most people, my appetite will drift back to my unhealthy, high-glycemic carb diet. By repeating the cycle, I reset my control center and overall eat cleaner for longer.

Weight loss is hard but not complicated. At its core is calorie consumption and expenditure. If we consume fewer calories than we burn, we will lose weight. It gets complicated when you start to factor in all the hormonal changes that occur in our bodies as we start to lose weight. There are some fairly nasty hormones that make our brains desire calories to maintain our current body weight. Ghrelin is one of those little gremlins. As we start to lose weight, ghrelin levels will increase and it drives our hunger.

There are other things happening to our brains and bodies as we lose weight. One of these other things involves insulin. When we eat a high glycemic diet, our insulin levels have rapid peaks and troughs. Insulin tends to stimulate our appetite whenever it moves up or down. So, controlling our insulin rollercoaster will help control our appetite.

Avoiding high glycemic carbs as much as you can is the best way. High glycemic carbs are generally found in the Standard American Diet. The SAD diet items to avoid are breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, and sugar. I also try to avoid milk as much as possible.

When we eat high glycemic items, our blood sugar quickly increases. As our blood sugar levels rise, insulin rises. Insulin is a pro-growth hormone. It makes our basic metabolic rate slow down so we burn less energy and it encourages our bodies to store this energy (sugar) in our guts. This is one reason it is really hard to lose belly fat.

Even healthy carbs such as an apple will increase your blood sugar and insulin. One way to smooth out the insulin swings is to eat protein and fiber with the carbs. Protein and fiber help smooth out the insulin swings and tend to keep us feeling fuller longer.

An easy way to calculate how many calories to eat to lose weight is simply to add a zero to your desired weight. For instance, if you want to weigh 150 pounds, on average if you consume 1,500 calories a day, your weight will get really close to that number. If you exercise, you can add back about 75% of those calories burned. So, if you burned 300 calories working out, you can consume another 225 calories to your base. In our example, a 150-pound person who burned 300 calories could consume a total of 1,775 calories on that day and be on target to reach their goal!

I have included some recipes for this 10-day challenge. The calorie count for the smoothies should all be around 500 calories depending on how much protein you put into them. Again, protein will keep you feeling fuller longer than carbs. Some of the meals may include some carbs such as brown rice. The idea of this plan is to decrease overall consumption of high glycemic carbs. We all need some carbs or we will feel tired and “hangry!”

Decide what your desired weight is and then add a zero to that number. This is your base calorie count. This is how many calories you are allowed to eat during this 10-day challenge (minus a couple of days). No one is perfect on calorie counting, so don’t get hung up on getting the numbers exact, but do try to get as accurate as you can. If you exercise, estimate how many calories you burned. You can then add 75% of those calories back to your dinner plate!

Now comes the twist. On day 3 and day 9, only consume 500 calories on those days! I would recommend limiting your exercise on those days to no more than a good walk. Be sure to drink plenty of water especially on those days.

I have found PGX helps with my appetite. PGX is a fiber product you drink in a glass of water. I usually mix in a small glass of water and down it. I am not a fan of the texture, so I simply down it and chase it with more water. I like it better than Metamucil or Citrucel, but they will work in much the same way.

Before you start the challenge, measure your belly at the biggest point and weigh yourself. Some people like to journal and doing so will help you stay with the challenge. Another thing to do is to clean out your kitchen. Get rid of all of your cheat foods. This will dramatically improve your chances of staying clean for the 10 days. I have found if the food is in the house, I will eat it!

Set a date and tell your friends. Better yet, get your friends to do the challenge with you. Try to pick a ten-day window where you do not have a lot of social stuff you have to attend.

I am eager to see how you do with this challenge. I anticipate most women to drop about 4–6 pounds and most guys 6–8 pounds. Let me know how you do.

Wishing You An Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown