A year and a half ago my health was not as good and it should’ve been. At 33, I was faced with a health crises. I was 50 pounds overweight. My blood pressure was beyond even the high normal range. My cholesterol was 50 points too high.

As I speak to you now, my health is improved and I’ll detail for you here how I bettered my health and body via appropriate eating and exercise without medication. Instead of popping a pill to bring my body and chemistry in line, I used behaviour modification. I reduced my intake of dairy, meat and eggs. I began an exercise program.

EXERCISE

Six Days a Week
At minimum you should try to do the following exercise routine three times a week. After a year and a half I’m up to six days a week, but I started my entire exercise regime by simply going to the park and walking around its perimeter once a day. On Sunday, I only do the Modified Aerobics Routine. I don’t want to push my body beyond its limits and having a “day off” from the PowerWalk does help stave the inevitable boredom that can set in with such a strict routine.

30 Minute PowerWalk
In the morning I walk as fast as I can without stopping. At the end of the walk, I stop by the grocery store and pick up the day’s dietary needs and then I walk it all home in shopping bags that weigh an average of 10 pounds on each arm. I’m worn out when I arrive home. I’m sweaty. My hands have been cut by the plastic bags. My arms ache. I feel great!

Be certain that you walk for 30 minutes. Don’t walk by distance alone. The important thing is to get your heart moving in its prime exercise zone for as long as possible and the stronger you get, the more stamina you build up, the more miles you’ll be able to cover in 30 minutes. When you start out for the first time it might take you 30 minutes to go around a single block. That’s good! Your heart is getting a fine workout. Time is important. Distance is not. As always, check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine.

Modified Aerobics Routine
I do this routine at night as fast as I can… and it takes me 7 minutes. This is super-low impact so it won’t hurt joints. If your knees begin to hurt, don’t move your legs as far apart during the Jumping Jacks.

a). 100 jumping jacks.

b). 25 deep knee bends.

c). 25 side leg extensions for each leg.

d). 25 front leg extensions for each leg.

e). 25 back leg extensions for each leg.

f). 25 push-ups.

g). Flat on my back I bring my knees to my chest 25 times.

h). Flat on my back I cross my arms across my chest and raise my back three inches off the ground in a modified sit-up.

i). 50 torso twists with arm extensions.

j). 50 toe touches.

Bad Weather
If it is snowing or raining outside or if I can’t get out to walk, I do the following full aerobics routine and this takes 30 minutes to complete with 60 second breaks between steps if I start to get winded:

a). 100 jumping jacks.

b). 25 deep knee bends.

c). 100 jumping jacks.

d). 25 push-ups.

e). 25 side leg extensions for each leg.

f). 25 front leg extensions for each leg.

g). 25 back leg extensions for each leg.

h). 25 push-ups.

i). 100 jumping jacks.

j). 25 push-ups.

k). 100 jumping jacks.

l). 25 push-ups.

m). Flat on my back I bring my knees to my chest 25 times.

n). Flat on my back I cross my arms across my chest and raise my back three inches off the ground in a modified sit-up.

o). 50 torso twists with arm extensions.

p). 50 toe touches.

If you have the money, a home StairMaster unit or a good, strong, treadmill would work great in place of an outdoor PowerWalk.

Don’t feel overwhelmed if you can’t finish all the exercises. Start small. Go slow. Do one-quarter of what I’ve set out here and then add another quarter back every two weeks to help your body build stamina for the workout.

EATING

Calories
I don’t count calories, but I do try to stay away from known high fat content foods like French Fries and Donuts. I do, however, count Fiber because Fiber pushes out all the bad stuff so it doesn’t sit within you seeping toxins and residual fat into your body from your bowels. I try to get at least 20-30 grams of fiber a day. That’s tough to do in America because most foods you find here are not high in fiber. This is my diet. It may not work for you. Work with your doctor to find a program that will fit your health needs best.

Breakfast
8 oz. glass of sugarless Metamucil = 3.6 grams of Fiber

2 slices of stone ground 100% whole wheat toast = 4.4 grams of Fiber

Thin spread of imitation butter with no Trans-Fatty Acids (I like Brummel & Brown)

2 tablespoons (one for each slice of bread) of an all-natural, sugarless fruit jelly (I like Sorrell Ridge)

Big Glass of Water

Lunch
Banana = 3 grams of Fiber

Big Glass of Water

Snack
If I’m hungry, I’ll drink a V-8 = 2 grams of Fiber

Sometimes I’ll have some mixed nuts here or earlier with my banana.

Big Glass of Water

Dinner
Salad = 1 gram of Fiber

97% lean meat (ham, porkchop, turkey, etc. I like Louis Rich and Hormel)

Veggie (corn, peas, lima beans) = ~4 grams of Fiber.

Big Glass of Water

Evening Snack
8 oz. of Prune Juice = 2 grams of Fiber.

Big Glass of Water

Bland But Buff
As you can see, this is a pretty bland diet and it doesn’t have any dairy, but it gets me 20 grams of fiber without too much of a bulky, fatty, calorie count. I’m slimmer and fitter than I’ve ever been in my life. The key to staying on this course of action is to decide that you want to be thin. That mindset will help push you over the cravings and temptations to cheat and eat a donut or skip your PowerWalk. “I want to be thin” is the gentle reminder that sets your goal every moment you speak it and think it.

The Prune Juice is actually my highest calorie ingestion of the day at 180 calories per 8 oz serving but its benefits outweigh the calorie count — it softens and enlivens everything on its way out in the morning!

Dinner is the variable. Sometimes Janna wants to go out to eat. Sometimes we want Taco Bell or Pizza Hut or a steak or fast food. Sometimes I want a donut! I just make a point of eating half of what I would usually eat and I’m fine. If I’m worried the meal didn’t get me enough Fiber, I’ll down a glass of Metamucil when I get home.

If I get the munchies, I chew a piece of Trident Bubble Gum. Blowing bubbles takes my mind off my hunger.

I also take two GNC Mega Men vitamins a day (to fill in any mineral or vitamin gaps missing in my diet) along with a single aspirin (for my heart) and one Garlique garlic pill (to battle cholesterol). I take all these pills with my dinner since they can cause flushing or gas if taken with water alone.

I also meditate for ten minutes three times a day. That helps cleanse my mind and re-focus my life from above rather than below.

Conclusion
Remember that what I’ve set out here isn’t a diet or an exercise routine. This plan is a pattern for a behavioral change and lifestyle modification. You must change the way you live, eat and exercise forever, not just for the moment if you want success in body and spirit.

Following the routine I’ve set out here over the past year and a half has lowered my blood pressure 20 points on each end, I lost 40 pounds and lowered my cholesterol by 30 points!

While many might be pleased with this effort to reduce the risk to my health, I am not yet where I want to be for best possible overall health.

In order to push myself into the purest possible health, I’m going the extra mile tomorrow by becoming a Vegan. My wife is joining me. Veganism, I’m convinced, will be my permanent path to outstanding health. You can join me in this examination of lifestyle and further behavioral changes by reading my new Go Inside Magazine column entitled The Virgin Vegan where I’ll keep you updated on the happenings of my greener pastures to a longer and healthier life.