The Secret To Skinny
Hello, 2013! And hello, resolutions! For many, this means losing the weight that has been lingering since last year, and ditching those extra pounds that showed up during the holiday season. We’ve helped thousands to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and know the key to lasting weight loss is to make lifestyle changes that cause a quick initial weight loss, for encouragement, but that don’t require drastic measures. So if the holidays have left you feeling a bit bloated (maybe you’ve noticed a full face, bulging belly, or puffy ankles when you look in the mirror), start by following a few suggestions from our book The Secret To Skinny. It provides a realistic plan that is flexible enough for you to follow for a long period of time, yet gets you immediate results. You’ll shrink your tummy, hips and thighs, which will give you the motivation you need to continue.
Tip #1: Avoid salt--the biggest bloat-promoting culprit
Why it works: Not only does salt make you hungrier, thirstier, and increase cravings, but it also causes your fat cells to store more fat, including the fat on your belly. Have you ever noticed that after a meal filled with salty foods (think soy sauce, deli meats, canned soup, processed foods, restaurant meals, fries, or chips) your stomach is distended and you weigh more the next morning? That's your body's reaction to eating too much salt.
When we eat a lot of salt, our bodies respond by holding on to water to dilute the sodium and maintain it at the proper concentration, which is why you look bloated even if you're skinny. The bloat remains until you drink enough water to wash out the sodium, or until you eat foods that are high in both water and potassium (this mineral helps the body eliminate sodium—see tip #2).
How to do it:
• Steer clear of processed foods and packaged foods and try to cook more at home. Eighty percent of the salt we consume comes from processed, packaged and restaurant sources, not from your salt shaker
• Use spices and herb-infused vinegars and oils to replace salt on all foods at the table from fish to chicken to soups, salads and sandwiches. Add fresh squeezed lemon juice to cooked veggies (a trick many chefs use)
• Read labels and pay attention; go for low-sodium options when available. Aim to get less than 1,500 mg sodium daily
7 Salt-Free Ways to Flavor Food
Tip #2: Eat potassium-rich “anti-bloaters,” such as: Apricots, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, mangoes, papayas, watermelon, asparagus, beet greens, cucumbers, kale, spinach, and tomatoes (for a full-list see The Secret To Skinny).
Why it works: Potassium counteracts sodium, so potassium-rich foods help you get rid of the excess water causing bloat. These foods restore normal hydration while filling you with fiber and few calories. Focus on eating these foods, and you’ll have less room on your plate for high-calorie sodium-loaded fare.
How to do it:
• Stuff egg white omelets with spinach and tomatoes
• Make nonfat Greek yogurt with cantaloupe and strawberries your breakfast or snack.
• Enjoy a kale salad with watermelon and sunflower seeds for a starter at dinner
• Try one of our "Potassium Packed, Salt Hangover Cures" (stay tuned for our blog on this, or check out The Secret To Skinny)
Tip #3: Focus on "flushers," such as: Apples, berries, currants, figs, kiwifruit, oranges, pears, prunes and raisins, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, pumpkin, and spaghetti squash, to name a few.
Why it works: Constipation often contributes to bloating. When things are backed up, the way they can be after a night of over-indulgence, certain high-fiber foods come especially in handy. We call these particular fruits and vegetables “flushers” because they flush you out by creating a stool that can be easily eliminated. They also flush out irritants that may be lingering in the colon and contributing to the bloat, but without adding as many calories as other high-fiber foods, like whole grains. When high-fiber foods work their magic, you can lose several pounds and your puffy stomach will instantly go down.
How to do it:
• Have a probiotic-rich non-fat yogurt and apple for breakfast
• Go for bell peppers or carrots for a snack
• Swap out pasta and go for spaghetti squash for dinner
What do you do to drop those pounds and shed the bloat? Have you tried any of these strategies before?