I’ve said it before, but I’m not a huge fan of going on a diet. I love healthy eating, and I try to avoid the bad stuff most of the time. However, with the summer coming to an end, and marathon training finally over, I’ve let my eating slip in a big way. Also, I’m studying nutrition, and it always feels wrong reading about nutrition while eating the whole bag of Skinny Pop popcorn . . . in one sitting.
Recently, I paid a visit to Barnes & Noble where I hid out in the health and fitness section thumbing through the countless diet books. The Flat Belly Diet book probably caught my eye because of it’s bright yellow cover, but as I thumbed through the pages, I saw meal plans with food I liked, and most importantly, the authors, Liz Vaccariello & Cynthia Sass actually explained the reasoning behind this diet and meal plan. Also, the concepts they share in the book line right up with my nutrition studies, so I know they know their stuff!
After indulging in a microwave Lean Cuisine pizza and chocolate for a final time, I jumped right in, and began the Four Day Anti-Bloat Jumpstart plan. The plan is simple enough, focusing on reducing your calorie intake like any other diet, but it also requires you to eat a MUFA (I’ll explain later) with every meal, which is the plan’s special ingredient to a flat belly. I almost skipped the anti-bloat plan, thinking, “I’m not bloated, this isn’t gonna do anything for me.” But Oh, Was I Wrong! After four days, I could see my abs morning and night! Whether you decide to pick up the book or not, here is list of 5 things I learned about healthy eating from the first four days on this plan. These tips can easily be incorporated into an everyday eating and I will keep using them on a regular basis!
- Portion is everything! Okay, I probably knew this one before, but this was the first time in my life that I measured my food. Most diets require this, so it’s not a new trick, but I was shocked at what an actual serving of oatmeal or sugar-free cereal looked like. After a few days, I have become pretty good at eye-balling portion size now, but I will be using my measuring cup whenever I can!
- Small meals equal a small belly. I have always been a fan of the ‘several small healthy meals throughout the day’ plan, but my “small” meals were not quite living up to that description. One thing the Flat Belly Diet pointed out, is that when you eat a smaller meal, your stomach is less likely to look overstuffed, and you will control your appetite down the road because your stomach learns what a real meal size should feel like. They even ask that you avoid foods that take up too much space in your stomach, which is different from other plan’s I’ve read. For instance, you’re asked to avoid broccoli, because it’s super filling, and will stretch your belly! (of course breaking it down into smaller portions isn’t a bad idea) On a trip this week, I couldn’t finish a full meal in one sitting because my stomach was trained! YES!
- Say goodbye to salt. Typically, I don’t go crazy with the salt, but I definitely use it in my cooking everyday. The 4 day jumpstart nixes salt altogether, in effort to reduce bloating of the belly, and elsewhere (I am known to wake up with a “puffy” face from time to time). This probably has quickest pay off of all the jumpstart’s elements, so if you can cut anything back today, leave the salt on the table.
- Fight the sweet tooth. Over the last few months, I’ve worked on cutting back my sugar intake, especially in drinks like coffee and cocktails. But this plan forced me to go straight to NO processed sugar, and I haven’t turned back! A fruit smoothie and a small serving of fruit with breakfast instead is used to kick the sugar cravings, and so far, my sugar cravings have fallen from 100-10 (my sweet tooth still haunts me).
- MUFAs MUFAs MUFAs!!! The unique element of the Flat Belly Diet is that you must eat a Monounsaturated Fat (MUFA) with just about every meal. For breakfast, this means unsalted sunflower seeds. For snack time, it’s adding flax seed oil to your smoothie, and for dinner it’s using a small amount of olive oil on veggies and meats. According to the authors (and my nutrition book), MUFAs actually help prevent the body from storing fat in the belly, and they promote fat-burning! That’s why these are one of the “healthy fats” that people always rave about.
I’m looking forward to continuing with the Flat Belly Diet as it hasn’t been very difficult to incorporate into my normal eating habits so far. I will keep you posted with some before and after photos as I keep going!
What diets have you tried with success? What healthy eating tips did you keep using? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,
Keep it moving!
Copyright FitLikeThat December 2015