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Diet Success for your wedding : Nordine Zouareg


Many brides want to look their best on their wedding day and losing weight is often part of that equation. Bringing in the new year gives many people the initiative they need to get started on a weight loss program, so I thought this was the best time to feature this information. I did some research and found Nordine Zouareg. He is a former Mr. Universe and author of “Mind Over Body”. After I read his information – I thought it was awesome and I wanted to share it with brides everywhere, so I wrote to him and asked him if I could post his Diet Success article by Kim Droze, here on my blog for brides wanting to lose weight and he replied and said, “of course”. So here it is… enjoy!

Nordine Zouareg, former Mr. Universe and author of "Mind Over Body"

Diet Success? It’s All in Your Head
Losing Weight Takes More than Exercise

The formula for weight loss is elementary – eat less, exercise more. Yet as basic as it sounds, more than 58 million Americans are still overweight. On any given day, it’s estimated that half the women in the U.S. are on a diet. So why can’t most people unload those extra pounds? According to fitness coach and former Mr. Universe Nordine Zouareg, it’s because they’re focusing too much on their bodies and not enough on their brains. Could the right mindset hold the key to permanent weight loss? 

It doesn’t matter if you follow a well-balanced diet program and an effective exercise regimen. Without the right attitude, the best-laid weight loss plans will go awry. After training thousands of clients, Zouareg, fitness coach at the world-renowned Miraval Spa & Resort near Tucson, Arizona, knows what separates the winners from the losers… or rather, those who can’t lose weight. He shares his formula for beating the bulge in his book Mind Over Body (Springboard Press, 2007).

Sure, it takes work – and workouts – to shed those extra pounds. But according to Zouareg, the most important work has nothing to do with counting calories or lifting weights. As a former bodybuilding champ, he knows what it takes to get in tip-top shape: knowing and visualizing your core desire. That’s Zouareg’s secret weapon for fighting fat.

“I know people want a quick fix to tell them how to get in shape in seven minutes,” he says. “You have to understand that the mental part is most important.” But most people, he says, are very reluctant to focus on it. (See related story: Think Thin, Stay Slim

Zouareg’s first step when he meets clients is to outline all the benefits of shifting their mindset. Once they understand those, he says, people don’t mind devoting 10-15 minutes a morning to the mental exercises he advocates. The same holds true for physical exercise.

“People are overwhelmed with the thought of having to work out for one to two hours,” he says. “We’re not talking about fitness buffs. We’re talking about people who want to lose weight and feel great. They need to get in and out [of the gym]. A simple exercise program works.” Better yet, he says, it doesn’t take huge amounts of time to get where you want to be.

Zouareg’s fitness plan is simple and straightforward. It features short, varied workouts done five days a week. None require more than a half hour to complete.

Days 1 and 4: 12 minutes of upper body strength training (chest, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps, upper abs, and waist), followed by 12 minutes of cardio training.


Days 2 and 5: 12 minutes of lower body strength training (quads, glutes, hamstrings, abductors, abductors, calves, lower abs, and waist), followed by 12 minutes of cardio training


Day 3: 24 minutes of cardio training


The Core of Weight Loss

The most demanding part of Zouareg’s program may be the mental exercises he recommends to achieve lasting weight loss. Most people know how to lose weight, but they don’t know how to put that knowledge into action, he says. 

The goal of Mind Over Body is to help readers move from knowing to doing. By gaining control of your subconscious, you’ll overcome the biggest hurdle standing between you and permanent weight loss.

His book creates a balance of body, mind and spirit through four steps that explore each reader’s true desires. In this LifeScript exclusive, Zouareg shares his secret formula for losing weight. 

1. Identify Your True Core Desire

Close your eyes and begin breathing deeply. Think about the things you truly want. If you’re thinking about losing weight, picture yourself in your best swimsuit. Envision the goal you want to achieve. Imagine yourself there. Think about the work that needs to be done to look and feel that way. See yourself in the environment you want to be in. 

You’ll notice your heart rate increasing. You’ll feel either good or bad. Ask yourself the truth about how you feel; it lies in your level of excitement, Zouareg says. Once you start to see yourself at your ideal weight, gauge your reaction on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most excited. Once you reach that level of excitement, you’ll feel that nothing can stop you from obtaining your core desire. Practice envisioning your desire to raise your level of excitement.

2. Use the Power of Intention
Someone who wants to lose weight might go on a treadmill or elliptical machine. That is their intention – to shed pounds. However, if that same person is eating a chocolate bar, there’s a difference between their action and their intention. If you’ve ever heard people say they’re going to start dieting and then caught them eating junk – or done the same thing yourself – the action clashes with the intention. 

Harnessing the power of intention is simply matching your core values to your actions. Zouareg blames our failure to merge the two on our inability to live in the moment. “At Miraval, we give people access to the bar, something that no other health spa does,” he says. “We give them the choice so they can make sure that their actions are truly matching their values.”

Three of the most powerful tools to synchronize action with intention are meditation, visualization and affirmation. Using them, you can shift your conscious thoughts to feed your mind positive messages about you and about the things that matter to you. Ultimately, this will help you take the actions necessary to reach your goals.

3. Make an Appropriate Action Plan
When you’re getting started, it’s important to make a reasonable plan of action. For example, if you’re a busy working mom who can barely find time to go grocery shopping, you’re going to have a hard time making it to the gym every night. (See related story: Top 5 Morning Exercise Benefits

Devise a plan that fits into your life. If you set standards you can’t meet, you’ll quickly become discouraged and give up. Formulating a feasible action plan fueled by the power of intention will help you achieve your core desire.

4. Apply Your Resolve and Make It Automatic

People often start fitness programs only to give up after a few months. That’s because old habits are hard to break and new ones hard to form – especially without the right mental approach. 

According to Zouareg, 93% of what we do is based on the subconscious mind; a new habit takes 90 days to form in the subconscious mind. You have to do it for that long – and do it consistently – for a new routine to become an automatic behavior.

To help you hang in there and strengthen your resolve until a new behavior becomes second nature, Zouareg encourages using meditation, affirmation and visualization techniques at a certain time of day. 

The Mind-Body Fitness Formula

When Miraval patrons first meet Zouareg, many of them brace for a vigorous fitness regimen. They’re often surprised at how much he focuses on what happens above the neck. 

“I tell them we’re going to work on their mental patterns,” he explains. “Too many people don’t work with the right mental approach. Without the right mindset nothing is going to happen. You can get in shape, but you’ll revert back to where you were.”

Want to learn more? Get your own copy of Mind Over Body.

Which Foods Can Boost Your Mood?

Food isn’t just a palate-pleasing experience – it affects how you feel physically and mentally. In The Good Mood Diet, Susan Kleiner uses scientific research to recommend a list of “feel-great foods” that are sure to lift your spirits. Do you know which foods make you feel better than others? More important, do you eat these mood-enhancing foods? Take this food and mood quiz to find out.
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