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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey

Are You Up for a Challenge?

Jul 02, 2020 10:39AM ● By Joseph Condora

If you’re anything like me, you probably put on a few extra pounds during the quarantine. While my typical weight fluctuates between 180-190 lbs, I recently found myself shocked when I stepped on the scale and it read 205 lbs. As a nutrition coach, I knew I had to change my eating habits to get back to my goal weight of 185 lbs.

To do this, I developed a 20-day nutrition and fitness protocol with the goal of dropping 20 lbs. in 20 days. While I had great success with following similar protocols in the past, I wanted to make the program fun and interactive for anyone interested in following along.

The program includes a meal plan, recipe book, grocery list, and follow-along at-home fitness videos. The meals were designed with nutrient density in mind, meaning that the meals are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. While most “diet” plans require you to struggle, suffer, and deprive yourself, I wanted my protocol to address the root cause of most weight issues — hormones.

While developing the program, I made sure that the recommended foods and fitness regimen would not only allow for easy weight loss, but also nourish the body from a hormonal standpoint. Each meal is intended to satiate you for a long period of time, while maintaining metabolic health and energy levels. 

The three key factors that I accounted for when designing this program are:

1) Nutrient density

Nutrient density refers to the amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that a food contains compared to its caloric content.  When you prioritize nutrient dense foods, you will be less likely to experience cravings that typically come along with following a weight loss program.  When your body is deficient in specific nutrients, you begin to have intense food cravings. Your body creates hunger to attempt to satisfy these deficiencies.

2) Hormones

The most overlooked factor in weight management is hormones. In reality, hormones play major roles in weight retention, weight loss, hunger, energy level, and fitness performance. This program was designed using foods that have been shown to decrease ghrelin and increase leptin. Ghrelin is a hormone that is produced largely in the gut and known as the “hunger hormone”. Ghrelin interfaces with the reward processing areas of your brain and stimulates hunger. Leptin on the other hand, is released from fat cells and is known as the “satiety hormone”.  The main function of leptin is to inhibit feelings of hunger and regulate energy balance. The meals in this program were constructed with the purpose of maintaining healthy levels of leptin and ghrelin while providing you with all of the micronutrients you need to maintain health and energy levels. 

3) Accountability

According to research published in the Obesity journal, individuals involved in team-based weight loss protocols lose significantly more weigh than individuals who embark on a weight loss journey alone. Having a friend, teammate, or community to help keep you accountable is one of the best ways to assure success on your weight loss journey. With this in mind, I created a private Facebook group for everyone who joins the “20 lbs. in 20 days program”. In this private group, individuals motivate each other, ask questions, share recipes, and get ongoing support after the 20-day program is completed. 

Disclaimer: This program is meant to be a weight loss jump-start, not a long-term solution. Long term weight management requires a more personalized approach that addresses your specific root cause of weight gain. It is recommended that you consult with a doctor before beginning any nutrition or fitness program.

Joseph Condora is a nutrition and health coach at Valley Integrative Pharmacy, located at 75 Washington Valley Road in Bedminster. For information on “20 lbs in 20 Days” call 908-658-4900 or visit

Valley Integrative Pharmacy  - Bedminster NJ

Valley Integrative Pharmacy - Bedminster, NJ

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