HOLLYWOOD—A keystone to losing 30 pounds in 30 days, as well as successfully promoting lifelong weight management, is routine exercise–especially daily exercise in the morning. Non-negotiable. Around 20 minutes of moderate pre-breakfast physical activity jump starts the process of becoming toned and feeling stoked.

Look at it this way, without daily exercise you can eat healthy all you like, and it’s like putting premium fuel in an un-driven car that already has the tank full. You must drive your body around the block a few times. The pre-breakfast part is essential. Exercising in the morning before breakfast, before ingesting anything whatsoever, draws on existing body fat for energy. By doing this you accelerate slenderizing, you are shaping your body. You will likely feel the results before your see the results. And gradually seeing the results of a slightly trimmer you, you will boost motivation to continue flexing those muscles in the morning.

Look not to the bathroom scales for motivation. Do not seek confirmation of results from numbers, which are an abstracted and misleading form of your weight reality. Look instead to the fit of your clothes, the shape of your body, or new hole on the belt where your buckle connects. When we look at numbers: focus your attention on the numbers you want to increase. Surprise money in your pocket, the little things that turn out right in the haphazard course of a day, the number of things that make you chuckle. . .

The question is what kind of routine do I do? A twenty-minute walk around your neighborhood, breathing deeply, swinging your arms vigorously can suffice. (Besides looking like a dork, when you swing your arms, you move muscles in your back, chest and stomach.) That is more than enough. Walking is gentle on your body and easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

Breathing deeply is essential; it’s the kick-starter to the mind-body metabolism.  My own routine I’ve developed is half standing and stretching exercises, waking to the day. Yoga based as this is, it vividly brings to mind old school Jack LaLanne exhorting viewers INHALE – EXHALE.

I lace my hands over my head and stretch high as I can go (these are yoga poses called the Sun Sequence.) Fingers still laced, standing, I bring the hands to my midriff. While keeping feet planted, I swivel my right elbow all the way to the right; then my left elbow all the way to the left, back far as it can go–my arms describing a semicircle, far to the right and far to the left. Repeat this half a dozen times.

The fingers of both hands laced together, bring the right elbow down toward the floor, so your body is crooked to the right side. (Your left forearm should rest atop your head.) Breathe in and out ten times. Do the mirror image, keeping the hands laced together and the left elbow pointed down toward the floor. Breathe in and breathe out ten times.

For more details please check out my full routine outlined at www.canyon-news.com, “Number 1: Morning Exercise,” August 11, 2013.

After the gentle stretches and breathing exercises, on different days alternate sit-ups and push-ups, while breathing in and out, or at least catching yourself and reminding yourself to breathe in and out.

My preference is for a gentle routine that is easy to integrate into the early morning. Something you can be easily motivated to do and generate a good feeling that comes from fulfilling that promise to exercise in the morning before breakfast. I’ll be honest, my traditional routine usually fails to break a big sweat, but it has made me more resilient, given me a better outlook, made my body less prone to aches and pains throughout the day. And the main point is I’ve been able to stick with my stretching-breathing-pushing 90 percent of the time.

When we’re on this freight train to lose 30 pounds in thirty days, being able to adhere to the most possible to our exercise is the name of the game. Obviously if you abide by any practices 10 times out of 10, you’re going to hit your mark.

Humorist Grady Miller is the author of “Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet.” He can be reached at grady.miller@canyon-news.com.

By Grady Miller