Exercise and Say Thanks

The holidays are here! From Thanksgiving until Chinese New Year, they last for nearly two months straight in China!!  So if you want to keep the fat off while enjoying the holiday food and festivities it is very important that you have a strategy.


The one we are trying this year combines the best of East and West and comes compliments of Tim Ferris’ ‘4 hour Body and Vipassana Meditation.’


The FIRST thing to understand is: this is not a diet. This is a strategy to help keep the weight gain down or to a minimum. You might be pleasantly surprised and lose a pound or two, but the main goal is to keep you from gaining so much weight that it takes you the rest of the year to lose it again! This strategy is very simple and requires minimal effort. The best part is that no special diet is needed and there are no limits on what you eat.  The basic guidelines are:


1. Do the exercises right before eating and again 90 minutes after eating

2. Write down everything you eat and drink (you can use your iphone if this is easier)

3. Before you take the first bite/drink of each new item, take one moment to reflect on where the food came from and the people that worked to bring it to you

4. Say a word of gratitude.



First, let us explain the exercises. They are not strenuous – the intensity is about 5-6 out of 10.


  1. Air Squat – Keep your arms in front of you at shoulder level to balance your weight. Squat until you hips are slightly below your knees then straighten your legs completely and squeeze your butt. Repeat 40 times.
  2. Wall Press – This is simply a push-up on the wall, but obviously less intense. Perform the reps slowly and with full concentration. Bend the elbows to 90 degrees and keep the back neutral and squeeze your belly muscles. Complete 50 repetitions.


Both of these exercises together should take no more than 3 minutes! Repeat the same exercises 90 minutes after your meal.


Next, write down everything you eat and drink. This alone would be enough for most people. So much of what we eat is “mindless eating”. We don’t even taste, enjoy, remember or appreciate what we are eating. This is not an exercise to judge your diet habits. It is simply an exercise in awareness. Finally, there is a Chinese proverb that has stuck with me-


“When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them.”


Simply say thank you. Thank you for this food. Thank you for this life!


I know there are some challenges and potential obstacles in this strategy, but remember where there is a will, there is a way! Give it try for a week or two and see if it works for you. You have nothing to lose, except maybe a few pounds.