Exercise Program Starts With Motivation

Well, the summer's almost melted away… but it's not to late to still melt away a few pounds in these last few weeks of "bathing suit weather."

To explain how, Good Morning America is launching a five-part fitness series called "Summer's End to Fat," featuring fitness expert Jim Karas, the author of The Business Plan for the Body.

Since she started training with Karas back in January, Dawnie Mercado has lost 25 pounds, though she still wants to lose 20 more. She began at 165 pounds and was wearing a size 14. She now weighs 140 pounds, and is wearing a size 6 or 8. She feels that Karas gave her the key to making lifestyle changes, rather than just putting her on a diet.

"It's just exercising 10 minutes a day, calorie-counting and making some smart substitutions," Karas said. "You can't be rigid and think that you're never going to fall off. You have to be gentle with yourself."

Karas' three main tips for weight loss are as follows:

1. Drink Water: Next to oxygen, water is the most essential element that the body needs to help remove body fat. It helps people feel full.

2. Keep a Food Diary/Notebook. Use the Harris Benedict Equation to determine your recommended calorie intake. (Go to Karas' web site, businessplanforthebody.com, to find yours). Then, keep track of your daily calorie intake. "The equation is a way to determine what calories you need to limit yourself to in order to lose weight, and what you need now to maintain weight," Karas said.

3. Get New Sneakers. Look at the soles of your sneakers to see if they need to be replaced. When their soles have lost their support, your sneakers can actually cause you injury, which would sideline your whoe fitness program. You should also check the insides of your sneakers to make sure you have the correct amount of arch support. If you do not, try placing insoles inside the sneakers.