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The Petite Advantage DietAchieve That Long, Lean Look. The Specialized Plan for Women 5'4" and Under
By Jan Karas
HarperOneCopyright © 2011 Jan Karas
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSELFISH IS GOOD!
Is that the first time you have ever heard that phrase? I believe
wholeheartedly in being selfish when it comes to caring for yourself
self and I also believe that being selfish and placing yourself first
is critically important to your success at weight loss.
For the past five years, I have been speaking at Oprah's live
magazine events called "O You!" The events promote Oprah's "live
your best life" message and include all of her contributors and
favorites, like Suze Orman, Nate Berkus, Dr. Mehmet Oz (I've been
on his show a number of times and he's a great guy), Martha Beck,
and Stacy London, to name a few. When I first prepared my speech,
I hadn't touched upon this concept of "selfish is good." It wasn't
until I kept hammering another phrase"put yourself first and
everyone benefits; put yourself first and everyone benefits"that
one of the women raised her hand (she was actually a Petite) and
said: "But isn't that selfish?" To which I replied: "Yes, but selfish is
good! Selfish is smart. Selfish is what makes you live your best life,
because you are giving yourself the best first and that will enable
you to give your best back to others." The women cheered, loudly.
I don't know where it came from, but I just blurted it out and it
resonated immediately with the audience and with me. The event
became a bit like a rock concert and I actually made them stand
up and chant with me: "Selfish is good; selfish is smart!"
This is the first belief system I want you to work on. The old
belief is: "Everything and everyone else comes first and I come
last." You believed, in the past, that:
Your family comes first.
Your home comes first.
Your aging/ill parents, siblings, or friends come first.
Your job comes first.
Your church and community responsibilities come first.
Let's examine that for a moment. You are the cog that holds all
these moving parts in place, yet you assign to yourself little or no
value. Are you supposed to just pick up whatever crumb of time is
left over to make a beer food choice, to sleep, to exercise, to
breathe, to do whatever is required to take care of yourself (and
lose weight) so that you can then take care of everyone and everything
else? Do you see why this doesn't make sense?
Your first "official" selfish act is to adopt this program. I want
you to work it with intensity and consider that you are staging your
own, personal intervention.
Changing Your Belief System
According to Martin Fishbein, Ph. D. and Distinguished Professor
at the University of Pennsylvania (which happens to be my alma mater),
"The study of health behavior is really a way to determine
how to design interventions that change or reinforce beliefs." I
like that approach a lot. Let's face it: changing your belief system
does require an intervention similar to what we see on television
or in movies when people "stage" an intervention for alcohol or
drug abuse. Drug addicts and alcoholics believe they are really
okay, that they don't really have a problem.1 You may be thinking:
"But alcohol and drug addition is a disease." Ah, that's a great
point. In fact, researchers at Tulsa University are looking into
whether food addiction is truly an addiction and their preliminary
research indicates that the answer is yes. Overeating is also a
diseaseand one that happens to be extremely contagious. I will
cover that in chapter 9, as I urge you to look at the potential
"obesogenic" environment in which you live and work, and the people
with whom you live and work. Food addiction is a function of both
the mind and the body. Your body is not meant to be overweight.
What do they tell you on an airplane when the
oxygen masks come down in the event of a change
in pressure? Put your mask on first; then help your children
and the elderly. Why? Because in that way, you are
strong enough to take charge and take care of those in
need. Our instinct is not to do that, even though we have
been told repeatedly to do so. We think we should help
everyone else first, while desperately gasping for air and
possibly passing out. But once you are toast, who is going
to be there to help the others? Do you see this flawed
belief system? Ask yourself if you would put on your own
oxygen mask first? If your answer is "no," let's work on
making that a "yes."
You've trained it to be that way and made it accustomed to asking
for more food. You may also have trained your brain to behave
the way it does around the whole subject of food, especially an
unhealthy combination of salt, sugar, and fat. If you are struggling
with your weight, and have been for a while, you need to start
owning your behavior and not making excuses. Owning bad dietary
behavior is the first step to changing your belief system. Once you
change your belief system, I will give you a plan to follow that
proves that you can lose weight without starving or excessively
How can I help you believereally believethat selfish is good?
That will occur the moment you begin this plan, as the following
changes begin to occur:
1. You will immediately start to lose weight. Seeing the scale go
down will inspire you. Yes, you are going to get on the scale.
But I will be there with you, spiritually holding your hand as
you take those two big steps to successon the scale each day.
2. Your clothes will instantly start to fit better, since you are
embarking upon an exercise program that blasts off the inches
faster than ever before. That's the re-composition I was telling
you about in the introduction. You will very quickly feel leaner
and sexier andtrust meboth selfish and sexy is good!
3. Your energy levels will soar, since you will be taking much better
care of both your mind and your body. Energy levels also
soar as you lose weight, since everything you do on a daily basis
becomes that much easier. I believe energy levels are like bank
accounts in which you make deposits and withdrawals. The
more I teach you how to deposit more energy and make smaller
withdrawals, the more your energy levels will explode.
Why People Fail
Why is this especially important for Petites? Well, as you will see
in the next chapter when we work the numbers, you need to be
committed for this plan to work and to work the plan so that you
don't end up last on your list. As a Petite, you have a limited margin
for error, but don't be discouraged by that. As I said in the introduction,
you have probably been on plans that didn't work because
they were more suitable for taller women and didn't speak directly
to you. This program will workin just twenty-one days!
Here is a statistic that may shock you: 97 percent of all people
who attempt weight loss regain all the weight (and then some) in a
five-year period. Now, before you get discouraged, I want you to
understand that my personal success rate is around 75 percent.
That's right, 75 percent of the people I have personally coached,
or who have worked with my team of trainers, or who have followed
the programs outlined in my past books have lost weight and kept
it off. I know this to be true because the vast majority of them are
in regular contact with me. But I've been in this business for
decades. There are very few competitive authors or doctors or
trainers or dietitians who can claim that much experience or that
consistent a success rate. There are also very few comparable
professionals who have worked one-on-one with as many people
as I have over the years. It's that direct contact that makes the
difference and, through trial and error, this has led to this winning
program. I've helped thousands of petite women slim down and
stay slim and I will do the same for you.
And I know why I succeed where so many fail. Because I
provide a comprehensive plan and don't just deal with one variable,
like what you eat. To promise weight loss by changing one variable
alone (like eliminating carbs, which hasn't worked) is a sham and a
waste of your time. In this book, I give you everything you need to
Most people have only a 3 percent chance of success because:
They tried a gimmick (Tai Boplease!) that didn't work, got
discouraged, and then went back to their old belief system and
behaviors and proceeded to gain even more weight.
They lost a few pounds by changing one variable (this time,
they stopped eating by 7:00 p.m.wrong!), then resumed their
old belief system and behaviors as soon as they were "done"
with their weight-loss plan. They subsequently gained all the
weight back and then some.
No More Excuses
I wrote my second book, Flip the Switch, because so many readers
wrote to me and said, "I love the concepts in your book but I just
can't get started." They then listed excuses, and the beliefs that
I have bad genes.
I have a slow metabolism.
I don't have the time.
I can't get the energy.
I hate to exercise.
I love to eat.
I'm a woman (yes, they actually used that as an excuse).
It's just too late for me to even try.
These readers were passionately holding on to what kept them
overweight and, in many instances, gaining weight. But by educating
my readers and proving to them that they would lose weight
(which is what will happen to you), I created the necessary shift in
their belief system that translated into far better results-producing
For a moment, let me address the last bullet point above: "It's
just too late for me to even try." Petites, it's never too late. You can
start, right now, to make a shift in your body weight, your body's
composition, your posture, your energy levels, the aging process,
you name it. All you have to do is follow this plan, trust me, and
truly believe that it will work. I've even helped Petites in their eighties
get into far better shape, lose weight, and live a pain free life.
The wear and tear on your joints from excess weight is not something
thing I can repair, but I can take pressure off those joints by
strengthening the muscles, the tendons that connect muscles to
bones, and the ligaments that connect bones to other bones. That
"support team" eases the pain and, in many instances, eliminates
it. If you are a Petite, odds are that you have a mother or sister or
children who are also Petites. Please don't ever feel that it's just
too late. It's not.
I was very fortunate that my first book, The Business Plan for
the Body, came out exactly when Diane Sawyer went public with
her twenty-five-pound weight loss. She achieved this dramatic
result by following my plan, exactly as it was outlined in that book.
Diane told the world on Good Morning America that, not only did
she lose weight, but she experienced her first "re-composition."
She even showed provocative before-and-after pictures,
demonstrating the results, which were very impressive. The plan took
a lot of inches off her body, which truly shocked her. She had to buy
a whole new wardrobe. Her arms alone each lost four inches. Think
about thatfour inches from each arm. Once again, she was
proudly sporting sleeveless tops. Her hips and glutes also shrank,
just as they did for Gayle King, Oprah's BFF. Gayle got with my
program because the magazine profiled Diane's success, then put
four other women to the testone in her twenties, one in her thirties,
one in her forties (Gayle), and one in her fifties. Gayle became
my second "celebrity" success story. The participant in her thirties,
Cindy Paragallo, is a Petite. She shrank noticeably, losing eleven
pounds of fat. To this day, she looks great and just had her second
Since then, I have been fine-tuning my techniques, as there is
tremendous new research availablesome of which I will share
that proves that there is a right way and a wrong way to lose
weight, especially for Petites. As a Petite, you need to embrace
the fact that your size can and should be used to your advantage,
and I will make sure that every inch of your body is sleek, slender,
Excerpted from The Petite Advantage Diet by Jan Karas Copyright © 2011 by Jan Karas. Excerpted by permission of HarperOne. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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