Bikini season is officially here and there are plenty of beach days to go between now and Labor Day weekend. In this week's issue of Us Weekly (cover line: Diets That Work!) I share some tips for looking your best when you slip on your bathing suit. My #1 strategy - munch on mini meals for at least a few days before you hit the beach. Here's why:
Small meals mean you never over-stretch your stomach. Your stomach can expand to hold about 6 cups of food - the size of six baseballs! When you eat mini meals you, keep it compact, which means you'll never be mistakenly pegged as sporting a baby bump!
Eating perfectly timed mini meals allows you to cut calories so you can shed a few pounds quickly without feeling starved or cranky. By eating small, balanced meals about every 4 hours, you'll keep your blood sugar, insulin and hunger hormones under control and feel energized as you slim down.
Here's the overall strategy:
Ditch the chewing gum - it causes you to swallow more air, which gets trapped in your digestive system and can swell it like a balloon.
Cut out all carbonated drinks - the gassy bubbles can lead to bloating (e.g. poochy belly).
Aim for about four cups each of plain water and freshly brewed unsweetened green tea each day to help give your metabolism a boost, support digestion and reduce water retention.
Combine good carbs, like whole grains or fresh fruit, with either lean protein or healthy fat. Carbs eaten alone get digested and absorbed quickly, leaving you hungry again as little as an hour later. Protein and fat both slow down digestion, so you'll feel fuller longer, better control your blood sugar and delay the return of hunger.
If you're not used to eating many fruits, veggies and whole grains and you experience bloating, chew a half tsp of fennel seeds after a meal or sip peppermint tea. They both contain natural substances that curb tummy troubles and help keep your belly flat.
Aim for five 300 calorie meals a day, spaced about 3 hours apart, such as 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm and 8pm. Come back tomorrow for examples of mini meals I recommend to my clients.