Cut out sugar, snack healthily, don’t glug fizzy drinks and remember that stress can make you fat so chill out says Dr Michelle Braude
Forget doing hundreds of crunches to get that perfect holiday season tummy, the key to a flat stomach is in the kitchen.
Endless stomach exercises are not the way to get a flat, toned tummy for that tight black dress – what you consume is far more important – it’s all about what goes into your mouth – NOT how many crunches or sit-ups you do.
Dr Michelle Braude is a nutritionist who specialises in helping people looking to lose weight, improve their diet and optimise their overall health and well-being.
Her Food Effect system is a diet which relies on eating the right foods in the right quantities, rather than depriving yourself of specific food groups which is unhealthy and unsustainable.
This regime teaches you how to eat nutrionally-healthy meals that offer variety and taste – these ensure The Food Effect can become part of your lifestyle, which makes it easier in the long-term to keep weight off and keep your body healthy.
Here she gives her tips on getting your body prepared for the Christmas party season.
1) Don’t jump on the kale bandwagon
A sudden increase of kale in the diet can create gas, which bloats the stomach.
Kale is a great food and super-healthy, but introduce it slowly into your diet.
Similarly, while foods rich in plant-based protein, such as chickpeas and legumes are healthy in the long-term, if your body’s not used to them they can also cause gas and bloating.
Spinach, cucumber and tomato are excellent alternatives that cause less gas if you want to start a healthy eating kick.
2) DO eat (good quality) carbohydrates
Cutting carbs out completely slows down metabolism so your body holds on to fat, and when you start eating them again you can end up piling on weight.
Eating healthy carbohydrates like brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa and whole grain bread can actively flatten the tummy, keep blood sugar stable, insulin levels balanced, and help reduce cortisol levels, which is associated with belly fat.
Swap refined, processed carbs (like potato and white bread) and sugars for fruit and unprocessed whole-grain carbohydrates.
Foods that are high in refined carbohydrates and sugars cause a spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a CRASH shortly after.
This causes our bodies to go into “fight or flight” mode and cortisol levels to soar!
Fruits, such as apples and berries, and high-fibre whole-grain breads, cereals, pulses, oats and quinoa are your best flat-belly food friends here.
As well as preventing the body from storing fat, whole-grain, fibre-rich foods also fight against obesity, cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease and are good for the digestive system – keeping you regular (which also helps keep your tummy flat)!
3) Incorporate these top flat-tummy foods
Lean protein (e.g. Broccoli, Pineapple, Apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, fennel, green tea, Kiwi fruit, nuts, eggs, fish, pulses, cottage cheese, chicken and turkey breast)
A diet high in protein, veggies and good complex carbs provides a powerful combination that helps stabilise your blood sugar levels, prevent hunger and cravings and regulate cortisol levels.
Lean protein also helps build muscle, burn fat, strengthen the immune system and keeps you feeling full! The more muscle we have, the more energy we burn at rest.