Ten-Week outline

This suggested ten-week outline simply gives you a structured way to implement the Target 100 principles. Its most important function is to drive home the point that you are not meant to tackle the six targets all at once on day one. I’ve found that clients see the most success when they tackle one target at a time.

In fact, for the very first week, I focus not just on one target, but on one meal: breakfast. After that, I have placed targets in the sequence that seems to resonate most with clients—after years of approaching weight loss from a food perspective, they seem to “need” to start by tackling food and water. We then quickly move to movement, exercise, stress, and sleep.

You can opt to dissect this plan and do it in any order you wish, or you can ignore it altogether!

Some Notes About This Plan

Top habits and tasks: In the book, each chapter ends with a Habit Library, geared to that chapter’s topic. These libraries are a place to begin in brainstorming about what personal habits you might want to change or cultivate. In this ten-week outline, for each week’s topic, I have included a mini version of that Habit Library: a list of the five habits and tasks that have given clients the greatest success. These five can be an easy jumping-off point if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Tracking success: I am suggesting that you weigh in at least once a week—and certainly right at the beginning. If possible, use a scale that measures body fat so you can see progress (particularly as you add exercise) even on weeks in which your weight doesn’t reflect it. Reframe the relationship you have with your scale: a scale is a tool and a guide, not a tyrant deciding your fate. Track your weight in an app or a notebook so that you can see your progress over time. Additionally, I ask my clients to track the habits they change. Being able to look back on all the behaviors you’ve battled and transformed will help you understand that the scale is not the only measure of success.

Don’t forget your secret weapon: When I was trying every weight-loss fad under the sun, I often bought a diet book and skipped right to the “plan” or better yet, the “quick start” section and started there. If you are tempted to do the same . . . don’t. Read Chapter 1 of the book, or the section on habit change on this site. Understanding habits and cultivating awareness are the tools that power this program.

Week One: Begin with Breakfast

Weigh in

If you have the book, read—or reread—Chapter Three: Beginning with Breakfast

Target 100 is all about the transformative power of small steps. I love spending our first week on breakfast because it requires enough planning and habit change to be a challenge, while also remaining simple enough to feel manageable and give you a motivating taste of success. It is a perfect way to drive home the fact that small changes can have outsized effects: it gets you off to a healthy start right away in the morning (often leading to better choices all day), and by shifting to a lower carb breakfast, you will feel less hunger and fewer cravings later on.

If you don't have the book, the general idea is to spend this one week just transforming your first meal of the day, taking some time to be thoughtful about what kind of breakfast works best for you (a small breakfast, a large breakfast, or none at all?) and to notice all the habits and tasks that go into making even that one change. 

Top Habits and Tasks:

1.     Set your alarm fifteen to thirty minutes early each morning to allow time to prep and eat your breakfast.

2.     Brainstorm your five favorite easy breakfasts. Leave the list where you can see it in the kitchen.

3.     Stock up on breakfast ingredients and grab-and-go options.

4.     Try using leftovers for breakfast.

5.     Decide where you will eat breakfast and make sure the space is clear and clean before you go to bed each night.

Week Two: Target 100 Grams of Carbs

Weigh in

If you have the book, read—or reread—Chapter Four: Food That Fuels

This week is all about expanding upon the skills you developed by perfecting your breakfast, and beginning to understand what it looks like to stay below 100 grams of carbs for the day. Use an app or a notebook to track your carbs each day, especially in this first week, to ensure that you are coming in around 100 grams. You may want to experiment with different sizes of meals and snacks, noting how you feel throughout the day.

Top Habits and Tasks:

1.     Schedule a specific time for weekly meal planning and to stock up on anything you need.

2.     Add a fruit or vegetable to every meal or snack.

3.     Carry healthy snacks with you in your bag or purse.

4.     Double the recipe for a healthy meal and use the leftovers over the next few days.

5.     Try grocery delivery to avoid the temptation of the grocery store.

Week Three: Target 100 Ounces of Water

Weigh in

If you have the book, read—or reread—Chapter Five: Water, Water Everywhere

Now that you are beginning to get a handle on food, this week is all about layering the habit of hydration on top of keeping your carbs around 100 grams. Tracking your ounces doesn’t have to be hard: if you have a big thirty-two-ounce tumbler, for instance, just make sure you drink three of these. Notice how much more satisfied you feel and how your energy perks up—and how much easier your food choices are becoming.

Top Habits and Tasks:

1.     Drink one full glass of water upon waking.

2.     Get a new water bottle or tumbler to keep with you.

3.     Set alarms on your phone to remind you to drink water at set points throughout the day.

4.     Drink a full glass of water before each meal.

5.     Use the habit loop to drop soda—regular and diet—completely.

Week Four: Target 100 Minutes of Exercise

Weigh in

If you have the book, read—or reread—Chapter Six: Exercise Therapy

This week you begin training your brain with exercise, building your confidence and your strength, both mental and physical. Adding exercise to your budding food and water habits may seem like a lot of plates to keep spinning, but each practice should make the others easier and build momentum. Your 100 minutes can be divided any way you like, and it may change week to week: Take a sixty-minute class and do a forty-minute DVD, or schedule three thirty-five-minute workouts at the gym. If you find skipping days makes it hard to jump back in, especially at first, try a week where you exercise every day, but for just fifteen minutes. Find what works for you—and remember to start where you are! If you are starting from zero, you don’t have to leap to 100 minutes all at once: try twenty minutes a week and work upward from there.

Top Habits and Tasks:

1.     Set out your workout clothes at night to trigger you to exercise in the morning.

2.     Ask a friend to meet you for a workout or a run.

3.     Buy a new pair of shoes for your new exercise habit.

4.     Schedule your exercise sessions one week ahead.

5.     Research exercise classes in your neighborhood.

Week Five: Target Boredom—New Discovery Week

Weigh in

This week you aren’t going to tackle a new target. Keep up with your carbs, your water, and your exercise . . . and try at least three new meals and one new workout.

It’s not widely known to the general public, but those of us who have worked in weight loss for many years have learned that after about four weeks, new dieters and fitness converts reach an exhaustion point. Many give up then, because they don’t realize it is “normal” to get bored and lose focus at this stage—I make sure clients are aware of the four-week slump and have a plan in place to combat boredom and fatigue. This is an additional skill that will improve your chances of long-term success. We all get stuck in ruts. This week, set aside time to roam the internet for new recipes, check out streaming offerings or a local dance studio, and just generally make an effort to keep things fresh.

Top Habits and Tasks:

1.     Set an appointment with yourself, for the same time each week, to look for new recipes.

2.     Ask a friend to try a new fitness class with you—make it an adventure!

3.     Try a fruit or vegetable that you have never eaten before.

4.     If you usually exercise in the morning, try exercising in the evening, or vice versa.

5.     Have breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast.

Week Six: Target 100 Minutes of Movement

Weigh in

If you have the book, read—or reread—Chapter Seven: Move More

Hopefully, you are feeling refreshed from your week of boredom busting and ready to take on your next target: movement. Add 100 minutes to your movement baseline this week, and notice how moving more makes it easier to keep moving. You can get your 100 minutes by adding walks, but also by cleaning the house, gardening, dancing while you cook dinner, or playing outside with the kids.

Top Habits and Tasks:

1.     Set alarms to remind you to get up every thirty minutes (or use a wearable device that vibrates to remind you to move when you’ve been sedentary too long).

2.     Add walking to your commute.

3.     Ask a friend to join you for a walk.

4.     Get a wearable device, pedometer, or app that counts steps on your phone.

5.     Take a fifteen-minute walk after dinner.

Week Seven: Target 100 Minutes of Stress Reduction

Weigh in

If you have the book, read—or reread—Chapter Eight: Stress Less

Now that we know how our stress levels are affecting our weight and driving our decisions, it’s time to target stress reduction. You can split these 100 minutes up any way you like, and, as always, feel free to change things up from week to week. You may choose to spend forty minutes journaling each Saturday, and knock out the remaining sixty minutes with five fifteen-minute meditation sessions one week, and a mindful walk and a bubble bath the next. It’s up to you! Seek out and practice simple stress-relief techniques you can use throughout your day, whenever you feel stress building, to halt the body’s flood of adrenaline and cortisol.

Top Habits and Tasks:

1.     Download a meditation app.

2.     Practice deep breathing.

3.     Stop using the snooze button.

4.     Stop checking work email once you are finished with work for the evening!

5.     Take a ten-minute walk outside at the peak stress time of your day.</listnumbered>

Week Eight: Target 100 Minutes of Sleep

Weigh in

If you have the book, read—or reread—Chapter Nine: Sleep Your Way to Success

Sleep is your body’s essential recovery time. Without it, you will battle fatigue and sluggishness, alongside wild hormone swings that hound you to eat. Create conditions that support quality sleep. Examine your bedtime routine, and allow yourself to wind down at night. Begin to play around with the amount of sleep you get to discover your perfect amount—and then work to protect it and ensure you are getting that amount regularly. You can get your 100 extra minutes in no time by getting to sleep just fifteen minutes earlier.

Top Habits and Tasks:

1.     Begin dimming lights two hours before bedtime.

2.     Set an alarm for thirty minutes before you want to be in bed to remind you to start getting ready.

3.     Ban screens from the bedroom.

4.     Stop using a smartphone as an alarm so you are not tempted to browse the web at night or first thing in the morning.

5.     Read before bed instead of watching TV.

Week Nine: Target Your Toolbox

Weigh in

If you have the book, read—or reread—Chapters Ten and Eleven: You Need a Network, and Technology Is Your Friend

When you have a strong support network, you turn environment from an enemy to an ally. Technology provides us with much-needed triggers and endlessly evolving tools, all while expanding our support system. Set aside this week to find ways to use support and technology to make your life and your program easier and more livable. Try a meal-box delivery service, enlist a friend in your weight-loss challenge, join a recipe-sharing group on Facebook, or download a habit-building app to help trigger and keep track of the new behaviors you are working on.

Top Habits and Tasks:

1.     Try a meal delivery service.

2.     Sign up for a fitness class where you’ll see the same people each week—and maybe make some new friends.

3.     Tell friends about your goals.

4.     Set aside twenty minutes for exploring apps or scrolling through recipe or weight-loss sites for inspiration and motivation.

5.     Join the Target 100 Facebook group for support.

Week Ten: Take It Up a Notch

Weigh in

Now it is time to see how this is done over the long haul. The series of new behaviors and habits that you’ve set up throughout the past nine weeks will begin to feel more natural. You’re hydrated, getting to bed on time, relieving stress, eating better, moving more, and even working out. Yay you! Now it is time to revisit the targets systematically to observe where you are—what needs work and how you might push yourself one step further. This week, take a moment to focus on each of the six targets and implement one small change in each area to advance your progress.

For example, maybe you have been getting to bed on time but know that your sleep environment could really use a makeover. Set aside a two-hour chunk of time to rearrange the furniture and remove the old TV from your bedroom. Maybe get some new sheets and clear clutter from your sleep space. This will make your new habit of getting the right amount of sleep even stronger. You will begin to look forward to getting into bed and associate your bedroom with restful peace. Now take a look at the other five pillars and set a tiny goal within each one, like getting a few new songs on your workout playlist, adding a new snack into your snack rotation, making sure you are hydrating evenly throughout the day, and so on.

This is how a healthy lifestyle grows. You simply look ahead at your week and decide on one new action to propel you forward. If you’re struggling in a certain area, maybe you don’t add anything new, but instead refocus your efforts where they’re needed.

Use your habit loop and the worksheets from the book. Make copies and use them to periodically reexamine and rework your plan. Watch out for old habits that are cropping back up and changes that demand new ones. Stay conscious and aware, talk to yourself kindly and without guilt or shame, and build trust and confidence by keeping your promises to yourself. Most of all, enjoy seeing yourself transform, and relish the empowerment that comes of knowing that your life is yours to change.

Top Habits and Tasks:

1.     Food. Try a new recipe.

2.     Water. Drop a nonwater drink from your day (soda, coffee, or alcohol) and replace with water.

3.     Exercise. Add five extra minutes to your workout.

4.     Movement. Add 1,000 extra steps or ten extra minutes of walking to your day.

5.     Stress. Try a new type of meditation.

6.     Sleep. Clean up your sleep environment.

 

WORDS OF LIZDOM

ACHIEVING SUCCESSFUL, LASTING WEIGHT LOSS IS LIKE BUILDING A HOUSE, OR KEEPING A CIRCUS TENT ALOFT, OR PLAYING A GAME OF JENGA—GO AHEAD, PICK YOUR METAPHOR! THE FORMULA FOR HABIT CHANGE IS YOUR FOUNDATION, AND STRESS, SLEEP, HYDRATION, NUTRITION, EXERCISE, AND MOVEMENT ARE ALL VITAL STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS, BRACED BY AND SUPPORTING EACH OTHER. OVERLOOK OR WEAKEN ANY ONE OF THEM AND THE WHOLE THING COULD TOPPLE OVER.