I have never read a diet book before, but the Flat Belly Diet caught my attention because it actually had science that backed up their claims. You do not even see the food you will be eating until page 84, which to me was a great thing because I had time to read and understand the basics of how the diet works from a scientific perspective, not just outlandish claims supported by random famous people.
The book talks about why you gained weight and specifically belly fat in the first place. It helps you identify areas of your life that you need to work on in order to make long lasting weight loss and eventually weight maintenance a reality. The book talks about your GI tract and really goes into detail on the different kinds of fat. I enjoyed reading this book because after reading it I felt like I was better equipped to stick with the diet and make it part of my life, not just a month long endeavor that I would more than likely cheat on.
Here is the skinny on the Flat Belly Diet.
It is created by Liz Vaccariello and Cynthia Sass, both editors of the Prevention magazine. In the introduction they say it is unlike any other diet program, because it does not impose excessive restrictions on your diet, while still aiding you in achieving a flat belly. It consists of 2 parts: (1) A 4 Day Jump Start, and (2) A 28 day flexible program.
The diet completely focuses on reducing the unhealthy fat levels present in the body. Its goal is to reduce the visceralfat present in your body which contributes in excessive weight gain. Before reading this book I had no idea what visceral fat was, but after reading a full chapter on it I feel like a pro. They go into great detail about it, but the skinny version is: visceral fat is much more dangerous and difficult to lose, because the fat resides deep within the torso and in the book they sometimes referred to as “deadly” fat, because of its proximity to your heart and liver. From what I learned in the book, excess visceral fat can increase your risk of all sorts of diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. The author says that you can cut calories and exercise religiously and still be left with too much visceral fat.
The Flat Bell Diet claims it specifically targets belly fat! That is what grabbed my attention in the first place. I was up late googling random stuff and one thing lead to another and I was on the Mayo Clinic website reading about this diet.
What these women have done is made use of monounsaturated fats, or MUFAs. Other fats like saturated and trans fats are excluded in this diet plan. The book sites studies that have shown that moderate-fat diet, containing up to 40% fat, are more effective at helping people lose weight and keep it off for life than low-fat diets containing less than 30% fat. When you consume a reduced-calorie diet that’s high in the specific type of healthy fat (the MUFA), the book claims that you not only lose pounds and feel satisfied, but you will also lose visceral belly fat. That is the key to this diet.
So, to start you off on this diet you do a 4-Day Anti-Bloat Jumpstart. This is the most strict part of the diet because they want you to have some initial success that will help keep you motivated during the second part which lasts 28 days. Each meal is planned out for you but if your like me and do not like squash or mushrooms you can substitute green beans and steams carrots. There is also the SASSY water you are suppose to drink that I will get to in a moment. There are a few other things you need to steer clear of during this jump start.
The salt shaker, salt-based seasonings, and highly processed foods
Water is attracted to sodium, so when you take in higher than usual amounts of sodium, you’ll temporarily retain more fluid—which contributes to a sluggish feeling, a puffy appearance, and extra water weight.
You probably don’t realize this, but when you chew gum, you swallow air. All that air gets trapped in your GI tract and causes pressure, bloating, and belly expansion.
Carbonated drinks (even diet)
All those bubbles end up in your belly! Avoid these completely.
Alcohol, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and acidic fruit juices
Each of these high-acidic beverages can irritate your GI tract, causing swelling.
Spicy foods Foods seasoned with black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, chili powder, hot sauces, onions, garlic, mustard, chili, barbecue sauce, horseradish, catsup, tomato sauce, or vinegar can all stimulate the release of stomach acid, which can cause irritation.
Ok, I had to make an adjustment to the SASSY water because I am allergic to to mint, but the recipe is simple:
2 liters water (about 8 ½ cups)
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced
12 small spearmint leaves.
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and let flavors blend overnight.
Drink the entire pitcher by the end of each day.
Then they give you some other pointers to handle the Jumpstart:
Take a quick 5-minute after meal walk
Moving your body helps release air that has been trapped in your GI tract, relieving pressure and bloating. Do this after all 4 meals.
When you eat fast, you take in large gulps of air, which get trapped in your digestive system and cause bloating.
Follow the Four-Day Meal Plan exactly
This includes four smaller meals, one of which is a refreshing, belly fat-blasting smoothie. This reduces the amount of food in your digestive system at any one time, cuts back on the release of stomach acids, and gets your body used to a four-meal-a-day schedule (which you’ll be following on the rest of the Flat Belly Diet.)
Eat four meals a day
The Four-Day Jumpstart includes fewer calories—about 1,200 daily—than you’ll be eating on the rest of the Flat Belly Diet, which allows about 1,600 per day.
The cool thing about the 28 day diet, is that it does not tell you exactly what to eat each day. Instead, while on the 28 day Flat Bell Diet, you will pick four pre-approved meals and only eat what the meal prescribes. Sounds pretty great to me. I am really excited about this diet so I also purchased the cookbook that has a ton of other options, but there are over 80 recipes in the main book and the main book also tells you what to eat at almost every major fast food and sit down restaurant, which is great for me on the road! Each day of the four week program starts with a Core Confidence. The first day for example, wants you to write down 3 reasons why you started this program. Then in the book under each day there is a space to write down what you ate, what time, and how hungry you were both before and after. I love this because if your still hungry it helps you to identify meal that you may not want to eat again when you are really hungry. There is also a separate mini journal you can buy, but for now I plan on using the original book. Maybe for round two.
The authors really stress that this is part of the diet and says that it is essential you to your success, so if you are think of just making a meal plan and sticking with that, take the time to really put the effort into this diet and fill out the journal. I am going to make a meal plan, just so I know what I need to eat, but I will most definitely still be using the book to journal in. Oh, FYI there is a websitethat is part of this diet that you can try risk free for 30 days, that will make you your first 28 meal plan and it includes weekly shopping lists. I am not going to do this because I have a crazy schedule, but it is definitely worth a look.
One last thing, you do not have to exercise to have results, but they do recommend it of course and since I just joined the YMCA I will be attending some classes while I am in town. Besides, Miss Beauty is not going to walk herself.
I will lets you know how it goes, I plan on starting Tuesday, after I go grocery shopping!! Let do this!