Sometimes we spend so much time trying to get a flat stomach and loose weight with the newest fad and/or diet pill that we forget to go back to the basics. We are so wrapped up with seeing immediate results that we end up seeing no results at all.
So let’s re-cap the basics of getting back to our healthy, de-bloated, and strong bodies we all have.
1.) Replace Everything You Drink With Water.
Good old H2O helps flush out toxins and extra salt (which can be responsible for that puffy bloated feeling) from your system, so remind yourself to drink more water throughout the day. Keeping a water bottle with you at all times is a great way to ensure you’re always filling up. The fizz in carbonated drinks (even diet ones) can cause gas to get trapped in your belly. Instead, drink water flavored with lemon, lime, citrus fruits, or cucumber. Have trouble drinking so much water throughout the day? That’s fine, you are not alone. Try to drink just 16oz (one water bottle) of water per hour. In 6 hours you will have drank 106 ounces. It seems very easy when you think about it in terms of one water bottle at a time!
2.) Limit Your Sodium.
Highly processed foods tend to be high in sodium and low in fiber, both of which can contribute to that puffy bloated feeling that we mentioned above. Get in the habit of reading food labels,. When buying processed, canned, or frozen foods, aim for no more than 500 mg of sodium per serving in any product — or a total of 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Always look at the nutrition labels!
3.) Avoid Processed and Fast Foods.
This is a given; however it is the most overlooked. Just think- there are 540 calories in McDonalds cheeseburger, 380 calories in a medium French fry, and 200 calories in a medium Coke. All together that is 1,120 calories in a meal. That is half of your calorie needs of the day! Fast food is the worst thing a person can put into their body. As for any processed foods, because they are already processed it takes even less time for your body to process them which will make you hungrier, faster.
4.) Skip the Sugar… You’re Already Sweet Enough!
Ditch the sugary drinks and foods. Aim for fresh salads with limited dressing and lots of veggies, lean meats, etc. However, some dressings and condiments have a boat load of sugar, which slows down your metabolism, breaks out your skin, and above all- bloats you. On top of that, there are many studies, which show that artificial sweeteners can actually increase your appetite. Skip the sugar and your body will thank you for it!
5.) 8 Hours Every Night.
Skimping on sleep causes levels of the stress hormone cortisol to rise and that can increase belly fat. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. It will help to reset your body, reduse stress levels, and overall make you a more productive person the next day.
6.) Don’t Eat After…..
We have all heard the phrase “Don’t eat after 6pm!” or maybe it’s 7pm…. Or is it 8pm?? The truth is, the time of the night when you stop eating doesn’t matter because it varies on when you go to sleep. Stop eating fruit and other foods that contain sugar about 5 hours before you go to sleep to give your body extra time to digest the sugars. Stop eating for the entire day at least 2-3 hours before you go to sleep. Your body uses food as energy, and you do not need energy to sleep. Also, if you are feeling that late night snack coming on, drink water. Often we replace our sense of thirst with hunger. Drink some water or tea at night instead of your typical late night snack.
7.) Amp up the Protein and Fiber.
Including protein in each meal, as well as getting about 30- 40 grams of fiber each day will help to regulate your digestive system and keep you fuller, longer. According to the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) system used by health professionals in the United States and Canada, men should eat about 56 g of protein per day, and women should eat about 46 g of protein per day. Aim for lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and fish. Beans, lentils, cottage cheese, eggs, and unsalted nuts are also a great source of protein. Watch out for protein bars because sometimes they can be full of added sugar, processed foods, and can even contain more calories than a typical meal. Eating whole foods to get your protein is a much better idea than eating the processed protein bars. The amount of fiber needed by a Male is between 30-38 grams per day. The average female is between 21-25 grams per day. If you aren’t getting enough fiber each day, you may need to boost your intake. Good choices include:
- Whole-grain products
- Beans, peas and other legumes
- Nuts and seeds
8.) Get Sweaty!
Getting active for at least 30-45 minutes 5-6 days a week will help to keep your metabolism high and your pants size down. Do not stick to only cardio, or only weights while working out. Switch it up each time to get the best results. Strength training will help you to keep burning calories even after you finish working out and will help build up muscle mass. Cardio workouts will help you to torch calories and fat. When you alternate between the two, you will see maximum results.
9.) More Probiotics.
Add foods that are good sources of probiotics to your daily intake. Yogurt is a great example, as long as the label says they contain live and active cultures. However, when eating yogurt be sure to check the nutrition label for the sugar content. Plain yogurt is the best route to go and you can simply add your own fruit into it, making it healthier.
10.) Meatless Mondays.
Have a vegetarian day, while still getting protein form eggs, nuts, seeds, and cottage cheese. Cutting out meat, even if it’s just once a week, can dramatically decrease your risk of heart disease by up to 19% according to a Harvard University study. The consumption of red and other processed meats have been shown in scientific studies to increase the risk of diabetes. However, cutting out the meat alone will not do anything if you replace it with fatty, sugary, and processed foods.
11.) Eat breakfast.
Eating breakfast will jump start your metabolism while keeping you fuller throughout the day. Starting off with a healthy breakfast will help you maintain healthy habits throughout the day. Click here for good breakfast ideas.
12.) Watch portions.
Don’t guess on portions. Follow the guide below! You can eat as healthy as a rabbit, but if your portions are all out of wack then it will be harder to see results.
13.) Do not skip meals.
Make sure to have 5-6 smaller meals a day. When we want that flat stomach or to loose that last few pounds, we tend to think that skipping meals will help to increase results. Sadly, skipping meals causes your metabolism to slow down and your body will hold onto the fat and calories from each meal to support your energy levels throughout the day. Get protein in at each meal to keep your fuller longer. Travel with snacks like a piece of fruit with some nuts/almonds to avoid going for long periods of time without eating.
14.) Stop with the fad diets.
A diet where you eat nothing but veggies for 14 days will not magically slim your waist forever. You simply just need to eat right and stay active. This is a lifestyle change that will keep the pounds off forever and keep you feeling amazing, happy, and confident.
15.) Let yourself have the cupcake.
Yes you read that right! When you completely cut out something from your diet, you will most likely end up binging on that item, making all of your hard work worthless. Plan a day, such as Friday or Saturday to have your cheat meal. Enjoy that slice of pizza and ice cream. When you eat healthy 80-90% of the time, one “cheat” meal will not kill you. You are only human after all.
So… Let’s get back to the basics! Make yourself a plan to follow, and prep all your meals for the next day, the night before. Follow this plan for more than a week to see results. Remember, you did not gain the weight overnight therefore you will not loose it overnight. This is a marathon, not a sprint!