You've trained hard; filled your fridge, freezer, and pantry with healthy fare; and been diligent about getting your [H.sub.2]O. But despite all that, a little bit of flab lingers. Don't give up! These 14 simple strategies will help you drop 10 pounds in just a month. (Do at least one a day for the first two weeks, then continue using the ones that work best for you for the next two.) You can't get around cutting calories--just don't go below 1,200 a day; 1,500 if you're also doing our bikini body workout, page 98--but the process won't be painful. The tips are designed to boost satiety, banish bloat, rev up your metabolism, and strip away unnecessary additives that can make you retain weight and feel sluggish.
DRIZZLE ON SOME OLIVE OIL
A University of California, Irvine, study found that oleic acid, found in "good" fats, curbs hunger pangs by triggering the production of a compound called oleoylethanolamide in your small intestine. Two of the best sources: olives and olive oil. Use a teaspoon of olive oil on grilled vegetables, pop a few seasoned Greek olives as an appetizer, or whip up these olive-enhanced lettuce wraps: Fill two large romaine leaves with 2 tablespoons each roasted-red pepper hummus and chopped cucumber, five sliced black olives, and 1 teaspoon toasted pine nuts; roll up the leaves. They make a quick, cool, low-calorie meal-perfect for post-workout noshing on a warm summer night.
DON'T RUSH YOUR MEALS
You've heard it before, but new research conforms it-eating slowly can help you eat less but feel just as satisfied. And that keeps you slim. A study involving more than 3,000 men and women published in the British Medical Journal showed that speedy eaters are three times more likely to be overweight than those who are slower-paced. Additional research at the University of Rhode Island found that leisurely eaters took in four times fewer calories--while the people who gobbled down their food reported feeling unsatisfied after their meal, despite eating more in less time.
"Give yourself at least 20 minutes to eat. Putting your fork down or taking a sip of water between bites will help you slow down and will let you really focus on the flavors in your food," says Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., R.D., a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "It sounds so simple, but most of us don't do it."
FLATTEN YOUR BELLY WITH FIBER
Excess body fat isn't the only thing that leads to tummy bulge: About 80 percent of us struggle with constipation at some point. While brief periods of irregularity are normal, they can make the scale creep up and cause that little extra pooch. The easy solution: Up your intake of soluble fiber, found in apples, citrus fruits, beans, and edamame. "This sticky fiber soaks up water to form a gel-like substance that stimulates the muscles of your digestive system so they contract and push waste through faster," says Gerbstadt. A simple way to boost your intake is to sprinkle chia seeds (found at health food stores) or ground flaxseed into yogurt or a smoothie.
ADD HEALTHY BACTERIA
Yogurt and kefir contain probiotics, such as acidophilus, which may be a hidden factor in weight control. Everyone has bacteria in their digestive system, but in obese people, the blend of those bugs may cause them to extract more calories from the food they eat, and therefore contribute to their being overweight. "Getting more probiotics in your diet can change the balance of bacteria," says Steven Pratt, M.D., author of SuperHealth. And that can lead to weight loss.
EAT FIRST THING IN THE A.M.
"Having breakfast is my No. 1 tip for dropping pounds," says Mark Hyman, M.D., author of UltraMetabolism. The best meal option is a combination of slow-burn foods (foods that are low on the glycemic index), which raise your blood sugar gradually. A bowl of oatmeal with berries, a yogurt smoothie and slice of whole-wheat toast, or scrambled egg whites and veggies rolled in a corn tortilla are all good bets.
A recent British study showed that this type of meal increased production of a potent satiety hormone called GLP-1 by 20 percent, so you take in fewer calories but feel fuller longer.
CRANK UP THE FAT BURN
Capsaicin, the natural substance in peppers that gives them their heat, helps you use more calories, even at rest--and every little bit helps. "Studies show that eating the amount of capsaicin found in one small chili pepper at meals may boost metabolism by 23 percent in the short term," says Julie Upton, M.S., R.D., co-author of Energy to Burn. In other research, people who got about a gram of red pepper in capsule form or stirred it into tomato juice before they sat down to eat cut their calorie intake by 16 percent over the course of the day but didn't feel deprived. Try using fresh chilies or peppery Thai, Indian, or Latin seasonings to spice up egg, bean, tofu, seafood, beef, and chicken dishes.
GO SOLO AT SOME MEALS
Seven out of 10 office workers regularly eat lunch at their desks, according to an American Dietetic Association survey--and that's not a bad thing. "In general, if you eat with someone else, you'll take in 35 percent more food than you would if you ate alone," says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., John Dyson professor of consumer behavior at Cornell University. Conversation distracts you, and you tend to sit at the table longer. Overcome the effect by ordering small dishes (try two starters instead of an appetizer and main course) to limit the amount of food you have in front of you.
DE-JUNK YOUR SWEETS
Ditch the processed Frankencandy-many treats are made with unwanted additives, including refined sugar and partially hydrogenated oil (read: trans fat). A recent Wake Forest University study found that, even at the same calorie and fat level, a diet rich in trans fat led to four times more weight gain and 30 percent more belly fat than a diet without it. Our healthier picks: Theo Organic Fair Trade 70% Cacao Bars With Cherries & Almonds ($4; theochocolate .com) and Seeds of Change Santa Catarina Dark Chocolate With Mango, Toasted Coconut, and Cashews ($4; seedsofchangefoods .com for stores). You want to stick to a small piece, but that shouldn't be a problem: A new Danish study found that dark chocolate is more filling than the milk variety. Still, if you can't trust yourself with a big bar, Endangered Species Organic Dark Chocolate Bug Bites ($1 for two; wholefoods.com for stores) are one-third of an ounce, perfect for portion control.
EAT MORE SPINACH
One cup of this leafy green (about the size of a baseball) packs just 41 calories-five times less than a cup of cooked brown rice or whole-wheat pasta. This superfood may be light on calories and carbs, but it's rich in more than a dozen stress-fighting antioxidants. Try it sauteed in 1 teaspoon olive oil with chopped red bell pepper, garlic, and a dash of chili oil. Or serve it raw in a salad with strawberries and a little minced onion.
"C" YOURSELF SLIMMER
Summer vegetables and fruits--like strawberries, red peppers, and leafy greens--are rich in vitamin C, which can help you get more out of every sweat session. A study in Nutrition & Metabolism found that exercisers who skimp on the vitamin burn 25 percent less fat during workouts. "Vitamin C helps produce carnitine, an amino acid that helps you use fat for energy. If there is too little carnitine in your tissues, your body will use carbohydrates or protein for fuel," says lead study author Carol S. Johnston, Ph.D., R.D., professor and chair of the department of nutrition at Arizona State University, who published the study. "Not only does this reduce the amount of fat you burn, but you're also more likely to feel fatigued when exercising." Johnston advises aiming for at least 100 milligrams daily, the amount in 10 large strawberries, one small red pepper, or 1 cup of cooked broccoli.
TURN TO 'SHROOMS
According to research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, replacing ground beef with chopped mushrooms in a single meal saved more than 400 calories and 30 grams of fat, but the meal testers felt just as satisfied and didn't compensate by eating more food later in the day. Make mushrooms the main event at mealtime: Sliced or minced 'shrooms are a great stand-in for meat in burritos, sloppy joes, and wraps, or as a pizza topping.
INDULGE IN POTATO SALAD
Spuds are high in resistant starch (RS), a filling, fiber-like substance that, as it passes through your digestive system, releases compounds that enhance satiety and blast fat. "One study found that replacing about 5 percent of your total carbs with RS resulted in a 20 to 30 percent bump in fat burning after meals," explains Christopher Mohr, Ph.D., R.D., owner of Mohr Results, a nutrition consulting company in Louisville, Kentucky. RS forms when starchy foods are cooked, then cooled. The best sources are perfect for summer recipes: potatoes, beans, lentils, rice, and pasta. Add half a cup of chilled beans or cubed red potatoes to a salad; or toss lean protein, like shrimp, chicken, or tofu, with chopped veggies, light vinaigrette, and half a cup of brown rice or whole-grain pasta.
HAVE FRUIT FOR DESSERT
The enzymes bromelain (in fresh pineapple) and papain (in fresh papaya) ease digestion by breaking down proteins in meat, tofu, dairy, and beans, so food moves through your system faster, which can decrease bloating. So end your meals with one of these fresh, sweet treats.
SLICE UP AN AVOCADO
This fruit is rich in potassium, a mineral that helps you lose the pooch by flushing out excess sodium and reducing water retention. Per ounce, avocados pack 60 percent more potassium than bananas, and their healthy fats blunt hunger by keeping you fuller longer. Try serving avocado-mango salsa over chicken, fish, or tofu: Chop a quarter of an avocado and toss it with a quarter cup fresh mango, 1 tablespoon lime juice, fresh cilantro, and 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno. Or, for a double hit of potassium, try avocado-banana salsa: Chop a quarter of an avocado and half a small banana and combine with 1 tablespoon minced onion, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and freshly ground black pepper.
RELATED ARTICLE: 5 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO EVERY DAY
Make this a healthy slim-down by following these guidelines.
* Banish the bottle Giving up alcohol forever may not be realistic, but a break can help you see how it affects your appetite and sleep schedule. Not getting enough zzz's has been linked to weight gain in studies.
* Drink water [H.sub.2]0 is the ultimate detoxer. It's required for every bodily function. Think of your day in three segments: wake-up time to noon, noon to 4 p.m., and 4 p.m. to bedtime. Aim for about three 8-ounce glasses per time period.
* Keep the caffeine Detox plans typically ban coffee and tea, but these beverages can actually help you drop pounds. When you drink caffeine about 30 minutes before a workout, it helps you push harder and longer. Caffeine also stimulates your digestive tract, so it eases bloating.
* Put a cap on sugar Foods that contain natural sugar, like fruit and milk, come bundled with fiber, antioxidants, and protein. But refined sugar can stoke hunger and cause bloating. Read nutrition labels and cut back on foods that have any form of sugar high on the ingredients list.
* Don't ban carbs Whole grains are linked to lower body weight, less belly fat, increased satiety, and better blood sugar control. The magic number is five to six servings per day. One serving is half a cup of cooked oats, brown or wild rice, whole-grain pasta, barley, or quinoa; or one slice of whole-wheat, oat, or rye bread.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALEX CAO
CYNTHIA SASS, R.D., is a New York City nutritionist and Shape contributing editor.
Source Citation:Sass, Cynthia. "Lose the last 10 pounds! No fasting, no cleansing, just 14 simple clean-eating strategies that will help you detox your diet without feeling deprived.(BIKINI BODY SPECIAL)." Shape 28.91 (Summer 2009): 92(6). Academic OneFile. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 3 Oct. 2009
Gale Document Number:A203622207
Disclaimer:This information is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional care.
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