In the first four weeks, focus on moving more, changing your eating patterns and eliminating six problem foods. To start, step on the scale to get your starting weight. Then, put it away!

The first step is to get moving! Activity burns calories and revs up your metabolism beyond its normal capacity, allowing you to eat more food while losing weight.

The hardest part is getting started. Determine where you are on the activity scale . If you are already exercising regularly, move up one level. If you're at level zero, go up two levels and start formal workouts right away after checking with your physician. Your body will adapt, and it will be easier to increase how much you move.

Also, start eating three meals and one snack daily. Plan to get 25 to 30 percent of your total calories from each meal, with the rest from your snack. And don't forget breakfast! It gives your metabolism a jolt and will keep you satisfied until lunch. If you wake up without an appetite, give it an hour to develop. If you're still not hungry, eat anyway.

You should also steer clear of six foods that are a major source of weight gain for most people. You'll be replacing them with less fattening foods that will curb your appetite.

There are a few other rules at this stage:
  • Have a glass of water at every meal.
  • Take a multivitamin, an omega-3 supplement and a calcium supplement if you're not getting enough from your diet.
  • Stop eating at least two hours before you go to bed.
Weigh yourself after four weeks. If you dropped a pound or more per week, consider staying in this phase two or three more weeks. If you didn't lose much weight, you're right where you should be. Your body is now prepared for the aggressive weight loss that's coming in the next stage of the program.
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.

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