Thursday, 31 December 2015

Your Post-Binge, 3-Day Diet Detox Plan

An extra serving of sweet potatoes, a sliver of pecan pie, a Campari cocktail or two. By itself, each of these festive splurges seems so innocent. But like holiday presents, dietary indulgences come at a cost. Most of us never lose the 1 to 2 pounds we gain between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve—and over the years, they add up. The damage is even worse when December's hearty eating patterns take hold and last well into spring, as they often do.
That is why we developed this 3-day quick weight loss plan—to get you out of party excess mode and put you on a healthy eating track for the new year. It's simple, fast, and effective. Stick with it and you will have those extra pounds gone before you take down a single decoration.
The Splurge:
 Those dreams of sugarplums dancing in your head may be more like a nightmare brought on by too many sweet treats. While experts used to dismiss the notion of sugar addiction, a growing body of research suggests that the sweet stuff can hijack the same brain circuitry that's affected by drugs and alcohol, leading to a vicious cycle of cravings and binges. And holiday desserts with high levels of both sugar and fat provide a double whammy. The sugar hooks you, while the fat piles on the pounds. 
The Solution: Eliminate desserts that are rich in sugar and fat for at least 3 days—7 to 10 would be even better. This will help quell cravings while you start to reestablish a taste for naturally sweet foods, such as fruit and starchy vegetables.
The Splurge:
 As the "it's a holiday, I'll diet tomorrow" mentality sets in, one of your natural appetite control systems—the stomach's network of stretch receptors—starts losing its effectiveness. Normally, when your stomach is full, these receptors send messages to the brain that say "I'm satisfied." But prolonged periods of overeating make the receptors less sensitive. This helps explain why that feeling of "I'm so full, I'll never eat again" is followed the next day by the sense that you're even hungrier than usual.
The Solution: If you keep eating the same high-calorie foods but merely reduce the quantity, your stretch receptors will signal your brain that you're starving and need emergency rations—now. But you can short-circuit this by eating healthy-size servings of low-calorie, high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Their bulk will keep the receptors happy while avoiding excess calories.   
The Splurge:
 So you had a few too many spiked eggnogs. The problem isn't just the sugar and fat. The alcohol itself packs in 7 calories per gram (compared with 4 for protein and carbs and 9 for fat). And the stomach and brain don't register liquid calories in the same way as solids, so it's easy to go right on eating and drinking—without compensating for the added calories. 
The Solution: Satisfying, low-calorie beverages can boost metabolism and even temper your hunger. Tea (lose the cream and sugar) has zero calories and lifts metabolic rate. Or prepare a pitcher of flavored water. Add sliced oranges, lemons, and limes to a pitcher—or toss in berries or sprigs of mint or lemongrass. They're refreshing and give you healing antioxidants
Now that you know the principles, you're ready to jump-start your new year's resolution. Our diet plan provides about 1,250 calories a day. To cut the craving for sweets, we've eliminated most refined sugars. To keep your stretch receptors happy, we feature plant-based foods that are rich in fiber. And instead of high-calorie cocktails, we give you delicious low- or no-cal drinks. If you're not back to your normal weight in 3 days, repeat for a total of 6 days.
DAY 1 
  • Egg white-veggie scramble: ½ c egg whites (or 4 egg whites) with 1 c chopped mixed vegetables (tomato, bell pepper, baby spinach leaves), prepared with cooking spray
  • 1 slice toasted whole grain bread or ½ whole wheat English muffin with 2 tsp 100% fruit spread
  • 1 c fat-free Greek-style yogurt Coffee or tea with ¼ c fat-free milk 
SNACK: 1 sheet graham cracker with 2 tsp natural (no added sugar) peanut butter 
  • Hummus-veggie pita sandwich: ½ whole grain pita spread with 1 tsp deli mustard and 1 Tbsp hummus, then stuffed with vegetables (bell peppers, sprouts, lettuce, tomato) and 2 slices avocado
  • 1 medium orange or 2 tangerines
  • Unsweetened herbal tea (hot or iced) with cinnamon stick 
SNACK: 1 piece fresh fruit or 1 c mixed vegetables with 2 tsp oil and vinegar dressing 
  • 3 oz grilled salmon brushed with citrus glaze while cooking
  • Citrus glaze: 1 Tbsp each orange juice, honey, and reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ c cooked brown rice prepared with 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 c cooked winter squash, broccoli, or asparagus 
DESSERT: ½ c fat-free plain Greek-style yogurt with 2 tsp 100% fruit spread 
NUTRITION 1,288 cal, 91 g pro, 181 g carb, 27 g fiber, 26 g fat, 4.5 g sat fat, 1,322 mg sodium, 82 mg cholesterol
DAY 2 
  • 1 c low-fat (1%), no-added-salt cottage cheese with ½ c pineapple chunks
  • 5 whole grain crackers
  • Coffee or tea with ¼ c fat-free milk 
SNACK: ½ turkey sandwich: 1 slice whole grain bread with 2 oz low-sodium or reduced-sodium turkey breast, lettuce, tomato, and 1 tsp mustard 
  • Pasta tuna salad: 1 c cooked whole grain pasta spirals or bow ties with 1 c chopped cherry tomatoes and our tuna salad
  • Tuna salad: 4 oz water-packed tuna mixed with 2 Tbsp chopped white onion, 1 Tbsp fat-free Greek-style yogurt, and 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Water with sprigs of mint or lemongrass 
SNACK: 1 medium orange 
  • 3 oz broiled or grilled boneless chicken breast
  • 1 medium baked sweet potato topped with 2 tsp light spread
  • 2 c tossed field greens drizzled with 1 Tbsp vinaigrette dressing
  • Unsweetened herbal tea (hot or iced) with lemon 
NUTRITION 1,242 cal, 122 g pro, 146 g carb, 26 g fiber, 21.5 g fat, 4 g sat fat, 1,565 mg sodium, 162 mg cholesterol
DAY 3 
  • 1 c cooked oatmeal topped with ¼ cup fat-free plain or vanilla Greek-style yogurt and 1 c berries
  • Coffee or tea with ¼ c fat-free milk 
SNACK: 1 oz low-fat cheese with 5 whole grain crackers 
  • 1 c low-sodium lentil soup or minestrone soup
  • 2 c mixed salad greens with ¼ c low-sodium water-packed tuna or low-sodium diced turkey and 1 tsp olive oil with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
  • Unsweetened herbal tea with cinnamon stick 
SNACK: 1 piece fresh fruit (banana or apple) or 1 c berries, with 8 oz fat-free plain or vanilla Greek-style yogurt 
  • Veggie burger on whole wheat bun topped with 2 slices avocado
  • Spinach salad: 1½ c baby spinach; ¼ red onion, sliced; ¼ c fresh mandarin orange slices; and 1 tsp olive oil with balsamic vinegar
  • Seltzer water with sliced lemon, orange, or lime 
NUTRITION 1,277 cal, 86 g pro, 173 g carb, 34 g fiber,32 g fat, 5 g sat fat, 1,577 mg sodium, 38 mg cholesterol

Let me know if you found this 'post-holiday detox' plan helpful. Do you struggle with weight gain over the holidays? Let me know tricks and tips you've learnt to help battle the weight gain.


Tuesday, 29 December 2015

15 Easy Weight Loss Tips to De-Bloat and De-Stuff Yourself After the Holidays

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tip 1: Fuel Up on the Right Breakfast
The last thing you may want to do after a food binge is eat more the next morning, but having a morning meal is essential to getting your diet back on track. Choose a breakfast that includes a balance of lean protein and fiber, says Christine Bransford, M.S., R.D., a dietitian at Chicago weight loss center DayOne Health. "Having foods high in insoluble fiber like whole grains can help move things along in your body and eliminate bloat."

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tip 2: Eat Some Melon
Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew are high-liquid fruits, which can help flush out toxins and relieve water retention and bloat. Smart! Have a cup of chopped fruit in the morning, or make a quick smoothie with vanilla yogurt and lime juice.

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tip 3: Reset Your Idea of Portions
If your portion sizes ballooned during the holidays like floats in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, use portion-control tricks to get back on track. Remember, the goal is to feel comfortably full—not overstuffed. "Using a salad plate, which is usually eight or nine inches in diameter, can help someone visualize what a reasonable-size plate should look like," Bransford says. These tips will also help you figure out how much to eat and how to stick to it.

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tip 4: Make Simple Food Swaps
Using spices in place of fat in many dishes can boost flavor and combat that inflated-waistline feeling. "Cinnamon and ginger are digestive aids and commonly used in home remedies to help with gassiness and bloating," says Las Vegas nutritionist Andy Bellatti, M.S., R.D.

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tip 5: Go Bananas for Potassium
You know you have to cut back on salt to de-bloat, but did you also know you should stock up on foods that are high in potassium? It can help your flatten your stomach by flushing out excess sodium in your system. Try potassium-rich bananas, raisins, milk, and yogurt.

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tip 6: Restart Your Diet With Plant-Based Protein
To reboot your healthy-eating habits, step away from the white rice and cook lean protein, which can stave off hunger longer than simple carbohydrates. Grilled chicken breast isn't your only option; Bellatti recommends plant-based sources like beans and lentils. "When you eat them, you're getting lean protein and fiber, which is so important for feeling better and restarting a healthy diet."

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tip 7: Chew on Fennel Seeds
Many types of gum, even the sugar-free kinds, are made with sugar alcohols like mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol, which can make your distended feeling even worse. For fresh breath plus a de-bloating benefit, nosh on fennel seeds instead.

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tip 8: Know Which Carbs to Avoid
Repeat after Bellatti: "Carbs are not intrinsically bad." If you're trying to give your metabolism a clean slate, carbohydrates can even help you slim down by giving you an energy boost. Bellatti says the problematic carbs are processed ones "like white flour, refined grains, and added sugars."

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tip 9: Eat Your (Leafy) Greens
Low in calories and packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, greens are essential to jump-starting any new eating plan. "Dark, leafy greens are hands down some of the best things you can eat," Bellatti says. The nutritionist's pick: kale, because of its versatility. "You can stir-fry it, blend it in a smoothie, or make chips out of the leaves."

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tip 10: Add Artichokes to Your Plate
Artichokes are a great fat-busting food. Low in carbs and high in fiber, these spiky globes also take a long time to eat, allowing your body to register when you've had enough. Try sprinkling lemon juice and olive oil over steamed artichokes for a simple and sophisticated side or appetizer.

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tip 11: Be Extra Mindful of Alcohol Choices
Celebrations and family get-togethers provide plenty of opportunities to imbibe, but choosing the right drink can help relieve your post-holiday ick feeling. "Limit yourself to one or two drinks in a sitting, and opt for wine, vodka with a low-sugar mixer, or a dry cider," says Chicago dietitian Kelly Schmidt, R.D., a nutrition counselor at Paleo Infused Nutrition. Things to skip: margaritas, the punch bowl, and beer.

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tip 12: Stop Adding Sweeteners
One of Bellatti's core principles for detoxing is banishing the sweet stuff. He advises against artificial sweeteners and suggests green stevia powder if you must sweeten your morning coffee or tea. If you need a sweet kick while snacking, Schmidt recommends naturally sweet fruits like dates, figs, and berries.

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tip 13: Avoid Carbonation
If you're trying to get back to your healthy habits, you're obviously not reaching for sugary sodas, right? Right. And although bubbly drinks like seltzer or diet soda contain no calories, they still have air, which can get trapped in your body and leave you feeling like a balloon. Now's the best time to return to good old water; try dropping in ginger root slices for flavor and to help with digestion.

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tip 14: Just Keep Drinking Water!
And speaking of water, excuse our broken record-ness, but make sure you're drinking lots of it. Yes, we've said that one or two (million) times before, but you need to do it to keep your body running properly and flushing out lingering toxins. "Increasing your water intake will help your kidneys excrete the excess salt and water from your body quickly and decrease the bloat," says Bransford. Counterintuitive? Perhaps. Effective? You better believe it.

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tip 15: Top Off Your Slim-Down Diet With Exercise
Although exercise won't necessarily make you lose weight right away, some of the benefits include cardiovascular strength, healthy bones, and better sleep and stress levels—the perfect antidote to holiday madness. "Do something you enjoy and exercise to an extent that won't make you stressed out," says Schmidt. Your body, mind, and waistline will thank you.

Let me know if you found these tips helpful. Do you struggle to lose your holiday weight? Comment below others tips you've found helpful.


Saturday, 26 December 2015

20 Ways to Lose Weight After the Holidays

Guilty of overeating during the holidays? Here are 20 simple ways to beat weight gain.

1. Drink water. 
People often mistake thirst for hunger, so next time you feel like noshing, reach for water first. Drinking also helps you feel full. Some experts suggest sipping water (or iced tea) just before you sit down to a meal. Continue drinking as you eat to add volume and weight to your meal.

2. Set realistic goals. 
One or two pounds a week maximum is doable. Top weight-loss programs advocate stopping after the first 10 pounds and maintaining that loss for about six months before trying to lose any more.

3. Build in splurges. 
If you allow yourself to eat whatever you want for 2 meals out of every 21, you won’t inflict enough damage to subvert your weight loss. And you’ll feel less deprived.

4. Count to 10. 
Studies suggest that the average craving lasts only about 10 minutes. So before caving in to your urge, set your mental timer for a 10-minute time-out. Use the time to tackle an item on your to-do list; choose one that will give you a sense of accomplishment — and get you out of the kitchen.

5. Eat more often. 
People who have kept their weight off for more than a few years tend to eat an average of five times a day. Light, frequent meals curb your appetite, boost your energy, improve your mood and even speed your metabolism, since the process of digestion itself burns calories.

6. Make weekly resolutions. 
Don’t try to overhaul your diet overnight. If you make too many changes at once, chances are you’ll get frustrated and throw in the towel. Instead, make one change, such as eating at least one piece of fruit daily, every week.

7. Start with 10%. 
People who start by focusing on achieving just 10% of their long-range weight-loss goal may have the best chance of ultimate success.
Losing those first pounds yields the biggest health gains, too, since belly fat is usually the first to come off and is the most dangerous.

8. Spike your meals with salsa. 
This spicy condiment can stand in for mayo to deliver plenty of flavor without the fat. Mix it with a bit of low-fat yogurt to make tuna salad. Spread it on a veggie burger, or serve it with chicken or fish.

9. Take one-third off. 
When you eat dinner out, reduce the temptation to clean your plate by setting aside one-third of your meal. Ask the server for a doggie bag, and take it home for lunch the next day. Try serving yourself one-third less at home too. This simple tactic could subtract more than 500 calories a day.

10. Go easy on the alcohol. 
Remember that alcohol is a source of calories. A 12-ounce beer has 150 calories; a 3.5-ounce glass of wine, 85. A margarita packs a bigger caloric punch. Even worse offenders are creamy cocktails, such as brandy alexanders and mudslides — equivalent to drinking a rich dessert. The bottom line: If you’re trying to lose weight, stick with water.

11. Write notes to yourself. 
To help you stay on track, post notes to yourself on the fridge and the pantry. Put up a little stop sign or make tags with questions like “Do you want this food enough to wear it?” and “Are the calories worth the consequences?”

12. Stay away from sodas. 
Soft drinks are a major source of empty calories in the American diet. We drink twice as much soda as milk and nearly six times more soda than fruit juice. But fluids don’t satisfy your appetite as well as solids. A study at Purdue University found that when people were fed 450 calories daily as jelly beans or as soda, the soda drinkers gained a significant amount of weight, but the jelly-bean eaters compensated for the extra calories by cutting back on other food. So if you crave something sweet, you’re better off chewing it than gulping it. If you’re truly thirsty, reach for water or unsweetened iced tea instead of soda.

13. Don’t just eat — dine. 
Eating on the run or in front of the tube invites mindless munching. Instead, set the table every time you eat. Make a conscious choice to sit down and savor every bite. Placing a portion of chips on your best china helps focus your attention so you don’t eat the whole bag.

14. Up your protein (a little). 
Research suggests that protein prolongs the feeling of fullness better than carbohydrates or fats do. Studies in Scotland, Denmark, Sweden and England found that people who ate a high-protein breakfast or lunch were less hungry at their next meal. Protein also requires a few more calories to digest. Just don’t go overboard. Stick to low-fat protein sources like low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese, low-fat soy drinks or snacks, or thinly sliced turkey breast.

15. Learn how to measure. 
It’s easy to misjudge portion sizes. Pull out the measuring spoons and cups, especially for full-fat salad dressings, dairy foods and mayo.

16. Make smart substitutions. 
Look for nutritious low-calorie alternatives to sugary, high-fat treats. Try frozen grapes instead of candy. Use air-popped popcorn instead of oil-popped. Dip fresh strawberries in fat-free fudge sauce for a sensuous chocolaty treat.

17. Have a “party plan.” 
When attending a party, offer to bring a plate. Arriving armed with chopped fresh veggies and a low-fat dip — or any other low-calorie snack — ensures that you’ll have something to snack on without feeling guilty.

Experts note that low self-esteem is a major cause of overeating. Train yourself to focus on your best points rather than your weak spots. Buy clothes that fit and flatter you at your current weight. Update your hairstyle and get a makeup consultation so you feel attractive today.

19. Give yourself a break. 
No one says you have to reach your goal without making mistakes along the way. Tell yourself you can succeed in losing weight by taking things one step at a time and starting fresh whenever you slip up. If you overeat one night, just get back on track in the morning by focusing on what’s worked for you in the past.

20. Relax! 
Some people binge when they’re stressed. A Yale University study found that women who secreted the most cortisol (a hormone released during stress) ate the most high-fat food after stress. The combination of cortisol and insulin prompts the body to store fat in preparation for possible starvation — just what you don’t need. If stress has a stronghold on your life, try learning yoga, meditation, or simple breathing exercises.

Comment below other tips you have found helpful to drop the pounds after the holidays. Let me know if you found this helpful.


Friday, 25 December 2015

5 Teas That Melt Belly Fat

To burn belly flab, turn up the heat.

Think of your body as teapot on the stove and the water inside as your belly fat. Chances are the pot is sitting there over a low flame, not doing much of anything. The water inside may be warm, but it’s not boiling. If you want the pot to whistle—and attract a few whistles yourself—you need to crank up the heat.

Well, that’s exactly what will happen if you take that teapot from metaphor to reality. Tea—at least, certain types of tea—can rev up your body’s ability to melt fat as quickly and easily as turning a stove from low to high. New research, included in my book Zero Belly Diet, reveals that tea can reset your internal thermometer to increase fat burn by up to 10 percent without exercising, or dieting, or sitting in a sauna dreaming about a Nestea plunge.

Why not give your body every advantage it can get in the battle against fat? Here are the five brews to start sipping for a slimmer, sleeker, more efficient fat-burning you.


White Tea: Breaks down stored fat

We like: Twinings, The Republic of Tea, Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime
Think of white tea as Spanx in a cup. It actually works with your body in four different ways to promote fat-burning: It blocks the formation of new fat cells while simultaneously boosting lipolysis, the body’s process of breaking down stored fat, according to a study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism. Another group of researchers found that the tea is also a rich source of catechins, a type of antioxidant that triggers the release of fat from the cells and—bonus!—helps speed the liver’s ability to turn fat into energy. Brew this and burn fat.


Barberry: Blocks fat cells from growing

We like: TerraVita, TeaHaven
The stem, fruit and root bark of the barberry shrub contains berberine–a powerful, naturally occurring, fat-frying chemical. A study conducted by Chinese researchers revealed that berberine can prevent weight gain and the development of insulin resistance in rats consuming a high-fat diet. Previous studies have also found that consuming the plant can boost energy expenditure and help decrease the number of receptors on the surface of fat cells, making them less apt to absorb incoming sources of flubber.


Pu-erh Tea: Reduces belly flab

We like: Numi Organic Tea, Uncle Lee’s Tea
This fermented Chinese tea might do to your fat cells what the New England Patriots allegedly do to their footballs—deflate them! To discover the brew’s fat-crusading powers, Chinese researchers fed groups of rats varying diets over a two-month period. Those who had a high-fat diet while also receiving pu-erh tea extract had lower levels of fat in their blood and lower levels of belly fat than those who did not. While the effects aren’t proven in humans, this tea has true fat-blasting potential. Sip a cup in the morning.


Oolong Tea: Burns a pound a week

We like: Bigelow, Stash
This antioxidant-rich traditional Chinese drink not only helps keep cholesterol levels in check and aids digestion, it can also help rev up your metabolism. Like green tea, oolong is also packed with catechins, which boost weight loss efforts by improving the body’s ability to metabolise fat. A six-week Chinese study found that participants who regularly sipped the brew lost a pound a week! And burn, baby, burn with the essential 9 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism.


Rooibos: Cuts new fat cell growth

We like: Celestial Seasonings, Teavana 
This red, naturally sweet tea made from the leaves of the Rooibos bush are powerful fat-melters. According to South African researchers, polyphenols and flavonoids found in the plant inhibits adipogenesis—the formation of new fat cells—by as much as 22 percent. The chemicals also aid fat metabolism. Sip this brew to help burn that stubborn bit of chub clinging to your middle, no diet necessary.

Which is your favourite tea? Have you found any other teas that have boosted your weight loss results? Comment below and let me know :)