The 14-Day Plan: Week 1
1. Get out and go shopping! Buy these items, which should run you less than $125.
- A tape measure
- A heart-rate monitor (We use Polar products—they have chest straps and monitor watches)
- A pedometer
- A good pair of walking or running shoes
- A hand-grip tester
- A blood pressure cuff (Many have memory and download options…or you can use the one at the drugstore)
- A notebook or access to computer website to record your results
3. Measure your blood pressure. Most drug stores have a device that can be placed on your arm if you haven't bought the home device yet.
4. Measure your heart rate in the evening, as well as the highest heart rate you achieve during your most intense exercise.
5. Measure your waist size. Circle the tape measure around your waist at the belly button, while you're taking a deep breath and sucking in. You would anyway, but it is the right way of measuring it as it gets the muscle we do not want to measure out of the way. Also measure your weight. The ideal is for your waist to be half your height.
6. Leave a space to record the average number of steps you take this week.
7. Make a doctor's appointment so you can get the medical tests you need.
8. Answer these questions.
- Are you living life from (A) fear or from (B) passion?
- Are you playing life (A) to avoid losing or (B) to win?
- Are your goals based on (A) preserving the status quo or (B) achieving growth?
If you answered (A) to any of them, it's an indication that you're not moving forward in life. Remember, the only times that your vital signs are completely stable are when you're dead. Like sharks, we need to keep moving in order to live fully.
9. Ask yourself these questions to really determine whether you're really happy.
- Are you happy most of the time?
- Are you as happy now as you were 5 years ago?
- Are you still expecting much from life?
- Do your days seem to be passing quickly?
- Are you often sad less than 10 percent of the time?
We obviously want you to have positive answers for these questions. If you're not there, our program, as well as professional help, can help you get there.
10. Ask three strangers how old you are. Asking friends and family doesn't count, since they either know or have a vested interest in not hurting your feelings. This will help give you some kind of baseline as to how others perceive you—based on appearance and demeanor—and can be a strong indicator of how healthy you actually are. In addition, you can ask a friend you trust to be honest with you about how you are aging compared to others.
11. Ask your friends what your three biggest strengths are. Identify how you best use them.
12. In your notebook, draw a little box with an amoeba that fills up 70 percent of the box, but also goes outside of the box. The box is your job, and the amoeba is you. The empty spots in the box are where we often focus all of our effort, but perhaps you should focus on the part of the amoeba that lies outside of the box, as this represents your strengths.
13. Ask yourself this simple question: How have you aged over the last five years? Use a picture to compare how you looked between then and now. Your initial thought:
- My oh my, I look like I did in high school, dahling.
- I'm steady Eddie—about the same.
- I'm about what you'd expect—little fatter, little wrinklier, and little more worn down.
- I look like tree bark.
15. Ask yourself these big-picture stress questions, which can help you identify things to work on while using our program:
- Is your perceived level of stress more than you enjoy? Remember that actual stress is a more predictable driver of aging than our perception of stress, so push yourself to be honest with yourself.
- Do you control most of the stress in your life or are you a rat in someone else's experiment?
- Shop for vitamins and calcium supplements. Buy calcium tablets that have at least 500 milligrams of calcium, 200 international units of vitamin D and 150 milligrams of magnesium. Get your vitamin shopping list.
- Shop for non-toxic cleaners.
- Purchase and install water filters for your home.
- Do the Chi-gong Workout to build your coordination and mind-body connection.
- If you have any addictions, start a cessation program to quit. Smoking the issue? Try this program.
- Start a calorie-restricted diet, and continue for three days. The goal of this body-basic diet: Recalibrate your settings to eating better foods—and more sensible amount of them.
Here's how it works: Eat about three-quarters of the amount of food you usually eat every day using only healthy foods now. You can do it by eyeballing, or literally filling your plate as usual and taking one-quarter of the meal away and storing it for tomorrow. If you find this too difficult, reducing your calorie intake by even 15 percent will work. And if that is too challenging, then just eat healthy foods in the usual amount for you.
Why? We're trying to get you to feel what calorie restriction, the only proven senility eraser, feels like. It will be a little uncomfortable, but you'll only do it for three days. Drink as much water with lime or lemon juice or fresh brewed green tea as you want, which will help clear toxins and prevent dehydration. Please take your vitamin supplements while on the program since we don't want to starve you if you're already nutritionally depleted from a life of kielbasa with mayonnaise.
When you add back a little more food on Day 6, chances are that even in three days, you'll have trained yourself and your stomach to need less food than you're accustomed to eating. That's because most of us actually indulge in toxic eating. We eat because we're bored, mad, sad, lonely, depressed or anything other than actually hungry. We also eat because our bodies are nutritionally starved, even though we're tossing lots of calories in them. This body-basic diet will get you on the right track and remind you what real hunger feels like.
This has a centering effect; it's not a coincidence that so many spiritual and meditative practices include a fast. Eat good-for-you foods and avoid foods with potential allergies like gluten (wheat) and casein (milk products), as well as alcohol for these three days. And if you feel more lively in the morning, you might have uncovered a subtle and frequent allergy.
- Publicize your goals to your friends and family. You should feel pride in your accomplishments and pressure to stick with the program for two weeks.
- Try the Excuse-Busting Workout.
- Continue with the calorie-restricted, body-basic diet from Day 3. To make the experience even more unique, and to challenge your taste buds, you can even try eating vegan for a day. Remember, it's all about disrupting old habits by replacing them with viable alternatives with rewards.
- Scan your life and home for environmental toxins. For example, check your home for asbestos (around air ducts, etc.), lead paint (window sills are the most common culprits) and radon. While you're looking, open the windows and vent your home to air out toxins that are locked into modern air-tight living spaces
- Just for today, turn off the TV and don't read the newspaper. Only use the computer as needed for work or important tasks. No Web surfing. Take the time you saved and practice some stress-reduction techniques. Cleanse your mind of the media toxins that poison your thought process.
- List the two things in your life that stress you the most, and for each identify at least two concrete steps you can take to feel better about the issue: (Hint: This means list a total of four behaviors you can do in the near future.) Each week assess how well you've succeeded and make concrete adjustments to your plan.
- Continue with the last day of your calorie-restricted, body-basic diet.
- Do the Excuse-Busting Workout.
- Do something you've never done before, whether it be playing a game, attending some kind of cultural event or asking your partner to try out Position Number 119 (use your imagination).
- Memorize a passage from a poem.
- In your notebook, write down what you're grateful for. With apologies to Letterman, list the top 10 things that come to mind. While you're at it, it wouldn't hurt to make peace with your biggest enemy at work. You have more important things to do than quibble.
- Carve out at least one hour to do something as a family.
- Practice a day of non-judgment, where you live, work and observe without judging—both inside and outside of yourself.
- Stop the calorie-restricted, body-basic diet. But continue to eat nutrient-rich, calorie-poor healthy foods with ingredients that increase longevity. The key to success is making the process of preparing and eating healthy snacks and meals automatic and easy.
We want you to enjoy your breakfast, lunch, and snacks—but we also want you to get in the habit of automating them, so that you eat healthfully without having to labor over choices. Dinner may be a bit harder to automate, but that's why we've included plenty of recipes.
What's automation? It means finding three or so breakfasts and lunches and snacks that you like and eating them every day. When you can automate your eating behavior with good choices, you'll have mastered one of the crucial steps to fueling your body with ingredients that help you live strong and long.
- Do something for someone else that you normally wouldn't be doing.
- Get the tests that we recommend , including those that measure intracellular vitamin levels and help your doctor "carbon date" your body. Also, check the list to see what additional tests you should be having, so you can schedule them with your doctor.
- Do the Chi-gong Workout.
- Stop reading self-help books and start doing what they say .
Congratulations! Now it's time to move onto Week 2.