Darlene Dunn, Staff writer
UPDATED: 7:56 am EDT March 25, 2008
Aisha Anderson keeps size 29 jeans that don't fit anymore.
"I'm going to fit into those jeans again," said the 28-year-old mother of three. "I've been lazy. I have lost weight, and then I'll just stop working out and eating right and end up gaining all the weight back."
Anderson recently found out a new diet fad that is meant to get rid of the extra weight around her midsection --without doing any crunches.
According to the authors of the Flat Belly Diet, those skinny jeans that Anderson has held on to may be the key to shedding pounds. Liz Vaccariello, editor-in-chief of Prevention Magazine, and Cynthia Sass, a registered dietician and nutrition director of Prevention Magazine, said a mind trick should be a part of every meal. This means arranging cut flowers in a vase or keeping too-small clothes on a hanger in full view.
The authors of the diet tout that getting a flat belly is about food and attitude. The mind tricks "serve as mealtime reminders that you have embarked on a new way of life -- a new way of living with and caring for your body," Vaccariello writes in the book.
The cornerstone of the diet is to follow a meal plan of four meals of 400 calories a day. Each meal should also include a monounsaturated fatty food to help get rid of flabby bellies. The diet also stresses the importance of not allowing more than four hours between meals.
Prevention.com says the five flat belly diet foods are oils, nuts and seeds, avocado, olives and dark or semisweet chocolate.
Oils include canola oil, flaxseed oil and olive oil, while nuts and seeds include almonds, almond butter, Brazil nuts and chunky natural peanut butter.
The diet claims that brand-new research reveals that monounsaturated fatty acids make weight loss not only easier but target belly fat specifically.
The diet begins with a four-day anti-bloat jumpstart that is designed to eliminate swelling and get the body and mind ready for the 28-day diet. During this period, "sassy water" -- water mixed with ginger -- is consumed, as well as a prescribed list of foods and drinks that will "help flush out fluid, reduce water retention, and relieve digestive issues," the book says. Sassy water is named in honor of one of the founders, Sass.
Meals on the 28-day portion of the diet include things such as shrimp and snow pea sesame pasta, according to FlatBellyDiet.com. Online support and customized daily menus are also available at the subscription-based Web site. The dish, which is 354 calories, includes shrimp, sesame oil, snow peas, sesame seeds, celery and scallions.
Lifestyle Change Shrinks Tummy
Liz Guscott, a personal trainer in Lakewood, Ohio, said that a lifestyle change is necessary to get flat abs."
If you do not currently have flat abs, then you probably do need to change your diet. Rather than go on a diet, it's best to think in terms of a lifestyle change," she said. "This is the way to eat most of the time."
Guscott suggested a baseline approach. This involves cutting out starchy carbohydrates such as grains, breads, cereals, potatoes, crackers, chips and pretzels."
If you drink alcohol of any amount, then keep in mind that it will simply collect as belly fat, so just stop drinking it if you want good results," she said. "If you eat or drink sugary things, then it's time to stop. Sugar is responsible for belly fat, among other unwanted effects."
A combination of behavior, genetics and nutrition will help to achieve flat abs, Guscott said."
The single most important factor to obtaining flat abdominals, above and beyond your genetic fortune, is proper nutrition," Guscott said. "The second most important factor is burning calories through activity. Certain kinds of resistance exercises, like crunches or twists, help with improved definition."
Whether you are in search of a flat belly or want to shed a few pounds, you caloric intake will have a bearing on achieving a slimmer physique.
The physical activity may be the icing on the cake. Chapter 1 of "The Flat-Belly Diet" is available online as a .pdf.
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