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As the countdown to New Year begins, you may be regretting the extravagance of the festive season: that extra helping of Christmas dinner, all those mince pies, the Belgian chocs… But don’t despair.
Today, here’s the diet which has been scientifically proven to help you lose up to 7lb and more than five inches all over in just FOUR DAYS.
The Flat Belly Diet is a groundbreaking eating plan devised by Liz Vaccariello and Cynthia Sass of Prevention, America’s most popular health magazine.
Banish that belly: Here’s how to lose those stubborn inches – fastIt promises a thinner, lighter you by abolishing the foods, drinks and habits that cause your paunch.
Here we bring you the first two days of the diet, and tomorrow we’ll bring you two more.If you’re not quite ready to end the festive indulgence, why not cut out and keep our plan for the New Year?
HOW YOU SCOREDNow add up all your scores in the A boxes and SUBTRACT from it all your B scores to get your total score.IF YOU SCORED:A negative number: Congratulations! Your bloating risk is relatively low. You’re already avoiding a lot of the foods and bad habits that contribute to excessive bloating and water retention. But that doesn’t mean the Four-Day Anti-Bloat Jumpstart won’t help you. You may not lose significant-measurements, but you will still feel lighter and healthier and be on a better path to long-term wellbeing. 0 – 5: Not too bad. You probably experience come-and-go bloat. One day you’re swollen, a few days later you’ve deflated again. The good news is that you can tame your tummy without making too many changes to your lifestyle. You should get some immediate gratification on the Four-Day Anti-Bloat Jumpstart.5 – 10: You may experience a little withdrawal from your usual habits, but you’ll be handsomely rewarded – you should experience a noticeable difference after just two days on the Jumpstart.
10 plus: You are perfectly suited to seeing fantastic results on the Four-Day Anti-Bloat Jumpstart. This diet is not a detox, but a cleaner, simpler way to eat than you may be used to. And because of that, you’re likely to see some major belly shrinkage.
WATCH OUT FOR…Bloating is a common condition, but in some cases it can be a sign of a more serious health problem. It’s time to see a doctor when
Your symptoms don’t improve on the Four-Day Anti-Bloat Jumpstart.
You’re suffering from chronic constipation, diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting.
You have persistent abdominal or rectal pain or heartburn.
You lose weight without trying.
You have a fever you can’t explain.
There is blood in your urine.
FOODS TO AVOID AND THE TEMPTATIONS TO RESIST
CHEWING GUM: You may not realise this, but as you chew gum, you swallow air which gets trapped in your GI tract and causes pressure, bloating and belly expansion.
SUGAR ALCOHOLS: These sugar substitutes, which go by the names xylitol or maltitol, are often found in products such as low-calorie or lowcarb biscuits, sweets and energy bars. Like fibre, your GI tract can’t absorb most of them, which is good for your calorie bottom line but not so good for your tummy. They cause wind, abdominal distention, bloating and diarrhoea. Avoid them.
SALT: Water is attracted to sodium, so when you take in higher than usual amounts of sodium in the form of salty foods, you’ll temporarily retain more fluid, which contributes to a sluggish feeling, a puffy appearance and extra water weight.
EXCESS CARBS: As a back-up energy source, your muscles store a type of carbohydrate called glycogen. Every gram of glycogen is stored with about 3g of water. But unless you’re planning to run a marathon tomorrow, your body doesn’t need all this stockpiled fuel. Decrease your intake of high-carbohydrate foods such as pasta, bananas and bread to temporarily train your body to access this stored fuel and burn it off.
BULKY RAW FOODS: Lightly cooked vegetables offer much the same nutritional benefits as the raw version, however cooked vegetables take up much less room in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Eat only cooked vegetables, smaller portions of unsweetened dried fruit and canned fruits in natural juice for the four days of this diet. This will allow you to meet your nutrient needs without expanding your GI tract with raw foods.
GASSY FOODS: Certain foods simply create more wind than others in your GI tract. Avoid beans and pulses, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, peppers and citrus fruits.
FRIED FOODS: Fatty foods, especially the fried variety, are digested more slowly, causing you to feel heavy and bloated.
SPICY FOODS: Foods seasoned with black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, chilli powder, hot sauces, onions, garlic, mustard, fresh chillies, barbecue sauce, horseradish, ketchup, tomato sauce or vinegar can all stimulate the release of stomach acid, which can cause gut irritation and bloating.
FIZZY DRINKS: Where do you think all those bubbles end up? They gang up in your belly!
ALCOHOL, COFFEE, TEA, COCOA AND ACIDIC FRUIT JUICES: Each of these high-acid beverages can irritate your GI tract, causing swelling.
HOW TO DO IT
Follow the Four-Day Plan (two days appear below) – to the letter.
This includes eating four smaller meals a day, one of which will be a refreshing smoothie.
This way of eating is designed to reduce the amount of food in your digestive system at any one time, so cutting back on the release of stomach acids which can lead to irritation and bloat.
It also gets your body used to the four-meal-a-day schedule which you will need to follow for the full Flat Belly Diet.
1. Eat four meals a day. The Anti-Bloat Jumpstart Diet is a shortterm, kick-start for weight loss – you eat about 1,200 calories daily. You’ll notice a few staples, including sunflower seeds, flaxseed ( linseed) oil, cheese strings and carrots. There are three reasons you’ll see these items repeatedly. First, we tried to limit the amount of food you have to buy to get started. Second, we wanted to deliver a lot of nutritional and bloat-free value for your money. Third, we chose foods that need no added salt or bloating condiments to taste good.
2. Take a five-minute after-meal walk. Moving your body helps release air that has been trapped in your GI tract, relieving pressure and bloating. All it takes is a leisurely stroll down your street, around the office or the shops; a quick walk with your dog, a neighbour or your family after dinner – anything that gets you moving for just five minutes. You can walk for longer if you like, but at least five minutes are needed to help get things moving inside your tummy.
3. Drink one whole serving of our signature ‘Sassy Water’ every day. The authors call their water recipe Sassy (see below) because it’s much perkier than plain old water. The ingredients in it aren’t just for flavour: the ginger also helps calm and soothe your GI tract. In addition to Sassy Water, you may drink 100 per cent pure herbal teas such as camomile or peppermint.
2 litres/31/2 pt water
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced
12 mint leaves
Combine all ingredients in a large jug, chill in the refrigerator and let the flavours blend overnight.
4. Eat slowly. When you eat quickly, you take in large gulps of air without realising it. All that excess air gets trapped in your digestive system and causes bloating.
5. Work your mind. The first days of a diet are never easy, and these four days are no exception. The authors are asking you to change how you eat and to give up some of the foods you’re used to eating or drinking – and perhaps imagine you can’t live without. Of course, it’s going to be worth it in the end – it does work and you will see your belly shrink. But until you see that paunch disappear, you’ll need a mental tune-up.
Extracted from THE FLAT BELLY DIET by Liz Vaccariello and Cynthia Sass, published by Macmillan.