Authors: Jim Karas
Achieve That Long, Lean Look.
The Specialized Plan for Women
5'4" and Under.
To my two
Olivia and Evan
ack in 1986, one of my first personal training clients was a 5'4" 32-year-old woman who weighed 145 pounds. Like so many women I have encountered, she just wanted to lose twenty pounds to get back to 125, which she felt was her ideal weight.
Another 5'3" 41-year-old woman, hovering around 170 pounds, had weighed in the mid-130s for around the past twenty years. But after two daughters, a divorce, and a demanding job, she felt it was virtually impossible to shed even one pound.
One of my favorite clients was a 5'1" 56-year-old woman who told me she would be happy weighing
under 200 pounds. She went so far as to say she would be thrilled if the weight
would just stop! She was a lifelong struggler with some serious health issues and so discouraged that she was ready to just throw in the towel. FYI, she was one of my favorite Petites because she fought hard to lose the weight–and she won!
When I look back over my twenty-five years as a weight-loss and fitness professional–now, after four books, they actually call me an expert!–I realize that I have heard the same complaints over and over from shorter women, whom I will lovingly refer to as Petites:
• I can’t lose weight. My husband diets for a week and loses ten pounds. I drop a quarter-pound if I’m lucky.
• Susan eats all the foods I never get to eat and rarely gains weight. If she does gain weight, it’s gone in a flash. I wonder if that’s because she’s 5'9"?
• Many of my taller friends don’t exercise and I am at it all the time. They stay slim and I gain weight. What’s wrong with me? (Flash bulletin–the most popular form of exercise, cardio, actually makes most people
weight. Is that you?)
Here is how I answer these complaints:
There is nothing wrong with you.
When it comes to weight loss, Petites require a customized plan.
And that is what this book is all about.
Why do Petites require a different plan? Well, start with these statistics:
• 68 percent of American adults are overweight and 34 percent are obese. In 1960, these figures were 45 and 13 percent respectively. That’s a
increase (and don’t even think about blaming your genes!).
• One-third of children and adolescents are overweight and 20 percent are obese (only 4 percent were obese in 1960). I will explain why this is important later in this introduction.
• Americans now consume 2700 calories a day, about 500 more than they did forty years ago.
Simply put, more calories will equal more weight, especially for those of a shorter stature.
While I realize the theme of this book is weight loss
I hope that I can convince you to discover that, along with most weight loss, comes improved overall health, more energy, a slowing if not stalling of the aging process, and a host of other benefits to your mind and body. Research proves that just a 10 percent reduction in your body weight results in more sex–sounds good to me! I know it sounds trite, but I finish almost every speech I give with the line: “You only get one mind and one body. Why not give it the very, very best?” I hope you know that, believe that, and respect your one mind and one body–because you aren’t getting another one
Petites, stop for a moment and truly ask yourselves: “Can I really lose weight?” Here are the two answers I’ve heard in the past:
• Probably a few pounds, but nowhere near what I want to in order to really like my body (and it would probably be
• Honestly, no. I just can’t lose weight.
And I bet you are reading this and thinking: “Right, so what do I do?” Stay tuned, I have a results-producing weight-loss plan for you, and only you. And, you’ll see that your smaller stature actually becomes an
So, let’s stop thinking about your height as something you need to overcome and start thinking about how to use it to your advantage. Let’s first tackle your belief system.
In the past, you were probably following a plan that was meant for the general population, which includes a lot of people taller than you are. If you had been following my plan, you would have seen results. So, just for now, until I lay out the program for you, cling to the belief that you absolutely
lose weight this time. To help you do that, I am going to wrap your head around the results-producing mind-set that is essential to–you guessed it–getting results! They go hand in hand. Sure, the goal is to get you to “take action,” but we can’t accomplish that until I positively tinker with your mind. Only with a “new and improved” belief system can you adopt the new behaviors necessary to achieve a different out-come–a.k.a. weight loss. That is what chapter 1, “Selfish Is Good,” is all about. I bet you always thought that putting others first was a virtue. No, no, no. You will soon learn that when you are selfish, everyone around you benefits
you lose weight.
Petites, I am going to “start your engines” for weight loss by helping you optimize your metabolism and the calories you burn–not just during exercise, but twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. You can increase your metabolism at any age; it’s never too late. That’s why chapter 2 is entitled “Metabolism: Your Weapon of Mass Reduction.” In chapter 2, we’ll dissect the word “metabolism” and clear up a lot of confusion, setting the record straight that a pumping metabolism is your first essential component to successful, long-term weight loss.
Look back for a moment and focus on the last bullet point on page 2. Americans are consuming 500 more calories a day than they did forty years ago. If you happen to be a vertically enhanced (taller) person who requires approximately 2500 calories a day to maintain your weight, then 500
calories a day represents a 20 percent increase. But if you are a Petite who requires only 1600 calories a day, then 500 more calories a day represents over a 31 percent increase in calories. (Don’t be surprised by that number, ladies. If you are moderately sedentary–as in little or no activity or exercise–it is probably close to your reality.) Ouch! That’s what chapter 3, “The Math,” is all about. If you work the math, you will finally understand why you must operate under different assumptions (like the fact that you
eat like the big girls) when it comes to weight loss.
Have you ever wondered why they make clothes for Petites but not food? Well, since it’s probably not going to happen anytime soon, I’m going to teach you in chapter 4 how to think like a Petite when it comes to selecting the right food that tastes good–in appropriate portions with the least amount of calories. Plus, I’m going to show you how to get the biggest nutritional/metabolic-boosting bang from each bite. And I’m going to introduce you to the word “satiety.”
Satiety is simply defined as a feeling of fullness. Think of it as a derivative of the word “satisfied.” You can literally teach your body, through actions and hormones, how to feel full on fewer calories, because that is what your smaller body needs.
I know, I know; you don’t want to hear that you have to count calories, but relax and breathe because I’m going to do it for you. (FYI, deep breathing is very helpful if your goal is weight loss, because it reduces stress hormones that tell your body to store fat.) By choosing the right combination of foods and eating them at the right time of day, you will enhance your satiety mechanisms and not feel hungry. Hunger is your enemy and, let’s be honest, who wants to spend the rest of their life hungry–and cranky? I don’t. By following this very specific eating plan, you won’t. There are a number of ways to enhance satiety and doing so is the key to your successful permanent weight loss. Embrace the feeling of being satisfied, because you can use this to your advantage.
The Eating Plan
Once you believe you can lose weight and understand the math of weight loss, I’ll explain certain components of your eating plan. We will explore certain calorie-blasting foods–like the right proteins and spices (surprised?)–and certain calorie-blasting behaviors–like eating breakfast. I know you have probably heard this before, but the more you understand
I am instructing you to eat and do certain things, the more you will be committed to living this plan. I want you to
this plan and not just follow it. That puts you in the driver’s seat and not the passenger seat. Drivers generally determine the way to get where they want to go! I’m going to turn you into a driver and teach you how to avoid potholes (lack of planning), excessive traffic (huge portions), and other out-of-control drivers (a saboteur, such as a so-called friend insanely jealous of the longer, leaner you) you may encounter on the road to permanent weight loss. Drivers lead the way! And you’re going to be a leader.