According to Oz, the System 20 plan is “not just another New Year’s diet.” The multi-faceted plan includes altering your morning routine, setting some goals, changing up your diet and meals, and working on de-stressing and connecting with people.
“It’s a system that tackles your entire body and all facets of your health — from the way you eat, how well you sleep, to how you manage stress and connect with others,” explained Oz.
The first step in the plan is setting realistic, concrete goals. Instead of going with vague statements like losing weight by beach season or looking better for a springtime event, use specific, quantifiable statistics. Oz provided some numbers that people can aspire to in the graphic below.
He also advised setting realistic exercise goals, like working until one is able to plank for a minute straight.
While goals start the plans, the “hallmark” of the system is intermittent fasting. Oz recommends eating only during an eight-hour time period, and then not eating for the remaining 16 hours in the day.
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“The switch can actually improve our energy, help control our blood sugar, help our body fight stress, and even help reduce inflammation,” he said. “Most of the hours you are supposed to be fasting, you are actually asleep.”
During the eight hours, you should be eating two meals, according to the System 20 plan. Oz recommends centering them around a simple formula: “Beans, green and protein.” Limiting carbs and sticking to palm-sized protein portions are two other major tips for the diet.
Some of the snacks that Oz recommends include healthy twists on comfort foods, like kale chips or cocoa nibs, or keeping it simple by eating diet staples like broccoli, nuts or green olives. With most of these snacks, portion control is key, but they’ll help you stay full between meals.
When it comes to dessert or drinks, you don’t need to miss out: Just continue making healthy substitutions. Oz recommends trying some frozen berries for dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth, and if you’re enjoying a night out with friends, put down a calorie-filled drink and replace it with one ounce of clear alcohol mixed with lime and seltzer.
If the diet seems impossible, it’s not as binding as it might seem: Oz made sure to include a cheat day where you can eat whatever you’d like.
The System 20 plan might focus a lot on goal-setting and healthy eating, but there are still two more facets: routine and sleep.
Oz recommends using the plan to establish a routine, and says everyone should consider starting their day with just a two-minute meditation, a practice he himself uses.
“It’s easy, free and simple enough to do in your bedroom with just a few minutes, so no excuses!” he said.
After you start off with a morning routine, focus on your clean eating throughout the day, and spend some time tracking your goals, end the day by focusing on sleep, the final piece of System 20.
Oz recommends not drinking any caffeine past 3 p.m. so you’re able to fall asleep, and stowing any electronics away one hour before bed so the blue light doesn’t interfere with the release of melatonin.
“Our circadian rhythm is extremely important to our well-being,” he said. “Problems with it have been linked to various chronic health conditions, such as sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes and depression. If we wake up at the same time every day, we can help our body reinforce this circadian rhythm and hopefully reduce our risk of those chronic diseases.”
Staying social and connected is also an important part of this system, or any other plan that you might be trying. Oz emphasized finding “a buddy” to work with.
“We are in an epidemic of loneliness in this country, and we want to help you do something about it,” he said. “Our government actually says that loneliness is just as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”
To combat feelings of loneliness, Oz said that anyone trying the System 20 plan should try to replace one text conversation with a phone call.
“Every day, we want you to try and replace one phone call with a text message and really connect better with your friends and loved ones,” he said.