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Written by The Nutrition Twins
Hello to meeting your weight loss goals!
As registered dietitians, we’ve helped thousands to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and we know the key to lasting weight loss is to make dietary (and exercise) changes that cause a fairly quick initial weight loss for encouragement and motivation but that don’t require drastic measures.
So if overdoing it on a bit too many cocktails or a little too much food has left you feeling a bit bloated with a full face, bulging belly, and puffy ankles, start by following a few of these suggestions from our book The Secret To Skinny. It provides a realistic plan that is flexible enough for you to follow for a long period of time, yet gets you immediate results. You’ll shrink your tummy, hips and thighs, giving you just the motivation you need to continue.
Tip #1: Avoid bloat-promoting culprit #1– Salt—and drop pounds overnight.
Why It Works: Not only does salt make you hungrier and thirstier and increase cravings, but it also makes your fat cells store more fat. This includes the fat on your belly. Ever notice that after a meal filled with salty foods (think soy sauce, deli meats, canned soup, processed foods, restaurant meals, French fries, or chips) your stomach is distended and you weigh more the next morning? That’s your body’s reaction to eating too much salt.
When we eat a lot of salt, our bodies respond by holding on to water to dilute the sodium and maintain it at the proper concentration. So you look bloated—and the waistline is no exception—even if you’re skinny. The bloat remains until you drink enough water to wash out the sodium — or until you eat foods that are high in both water and potassium. This mineral helps the body eliminate sodium. (See tip #2)
How To Do It:
- Steer clear of processed foods and packaged foods and try to cook more at home. Eighty percent of the salt we consume comes from processed, packaged and restaurant sources, not from that added at the table!
- Use spices and herb-infused vinegars and oils to replace salt on all foods at the table from fish to chicken to soups, salads and sandwiches. Add fresh squeezed lemon juice to cooked veggies (a trick many chefs use).
- Read labels and pay attention; go for low-sodium options when available. Aim to get less than 1,500 mg sodium daily.
Tip #2: Go for Potassium-rich “Anti-bloaters” (for a full-list see The Secret To Skinny)throughout the day: Apricots, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, mangos, papayas and watermelon… and asparagus, beet greens, cucumbers, kale, spinach and tomatoes.
Why It Works: Potassium-rich foods help you flush out the bloat since potassium counteracts sodium. So they’ll restore normal hydration plus they’ll fill you up with fiber and few calories. Focus on eating these and you’ll have less room on your plate for high calorie, sodium –loaded fair.
How To Do It:
- Stuff egg white omelets with spinach and tomatoes
- Make nonfat Greek yogurt with cantaloupe and strawberries your breakfast or snack.
- Enjoy a kale salad with watermelon and sunflower seeds for a starter at dinner.
- Try one of our Potassium Packed, Salt Hangover Cures (stay tuned for our blog with this or check out The Secret To Skinny)
Tips #3: Focus on “Flushers” at every meal : Apples, berries, currants, figs, kiwifruit, oranges, pears, prunes and raisins… and bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, pumpkin and spaghetti squash, to name a few.
Why It Works:
Constipation is another common contributor to bloating. When things are backed up, the way they can be after a night of over-indulgence, certain high-fiber foods come especially in handy. We call these particular fruits and vegetables “flushers” because they “flush you out” by creating a stool that can be easily eliminated. They also flush out irritants that may be lingering in the colon and contributing to the bloat, but without adding as many calories as other high-fiber foods, such as whole grains. When high-fiber foods work their magic, you can lose several pounds and your puffy stomach will instantly go down.
- Have a probiotic-rich non-fat yogurt and apple for breakfast
- Go for bell peppers or carrots for a snack
- Swap out pasta and go for spaghetti squash for dinner
What do you do to drop those pounds and shed the bloat? Have you tried any of these strategies before?
For a Get Healthy Guide, check out The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure