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How to dump fat without “dieting”

May 6, 2010

When my jeans start feeling tight, I’ve learned NOT to diet. And it works.

Here’s what I suggest:

Instead of “taking away” things–no more this, no more that–focus on what you want to ADD to your diet.

Here are just 5 items that work for me:

1. Green tea: Make a teapot (holding at least 3 cups) of green tea in the morning.  Sip it until it’s gone!

Why? Green tea contains catechins, antioxidants that knock out DNA-damaging free radicals that contribute to cancer, blood clots and atherosclerosis. Studies indicate green tea may also help burn fat, improve your skin, lower cholesterol, prevent chronic diseases (diabetes, heart disease and stroke) and fight dementia. It’s not expensive, so why not make it a regular part of your day?

 

 2. Water:  How unsexy, right? But I don’t drink it plain. (Brava if you do!) Now that warmer weather’s here, try making more shakes and drinks that contain water.

  • I make sure to stick in a daily shake, using a base of protein powder that also helps ramp up my protein intake (which, if you’re working out regularly, helps you repair muscle and recover from workouts faster!)
  • Or try “cran water,” a tasty alternative suggested by Ann Louise Gittelman, PhD, (and one of my nutrition gurus) in her Fat Flush Diet book. Add a few ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice (not the kind with fake sweeteners) to a quart of water with stevia. (I cheat and add the juice to a berry- or cherry-flavored seltzer for my own fizzy soda.)

Why? To hydrate the system and keep everything working properly. How much water do you need to drink each day? Your size and activity level helps determine that. (So does your climate, right? I always drink more in the summer than in winter.) Some experts suggest drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water a day (so, if you’re 140 lbs, you’d drink 70 oz of water. Shakes and cran water help me get more water into my body!

3. Mega salads:  By adding one of these jumbo meals, you’re automatically doing away with meals consisting of bread, pasta, etc. Plus, if you don’t have central AC, you can avoid turning on your oven when it’s hot and humid.

Salads get LOTS of healthy stuff into you–greens; shredded carrots; red cabbage; tomatoes; leftover cold, steamed broccoli; red or yellow pepper; sliced cucumbers; scallions or red or sweet onions. Sometimes I cheat and grab “mix-ins” at a supermarket salad bar to add to my lettuce at home. Sprinkle with dried basil or oregano for extra antioxidant punch. “Bulk it up” with chicken, turkey, hardboiled eggs, chickpeas or a multi-bean mixture.  

Why? Geez, SO MANY DISEASE-FIGHTING  NUTRIENTS in a bowl! Plus, we undereat vegetables, nutrition experts say.

 4.  Berries: They’re in season now–and the prices aren’t so bad. Blackberries, especially, are my special treat. Love ’em! But I also love raspberries, sweet local strawberries and blueberries. I also always have on hand frozen bags of berries to add to shakes.

Why?  Berries contain a host of carotenoids and other nutrients that help fight everything from cancer to bladder infections, vision loss and dementia.  Buy organic, since berries can be heavily sprayed with pesticides. I don’t know about you, but if I end a meal with fresh berries, I’m satisfied. No thoughts of cake or cookies!

 

 

5. Wild salmon: Twice a week, at least.  This is another automatic “healthy meal.” Depending on when I eat it, I usually surround it on the plate with vegetables, sometimes half a yam, and a side salad.  

Why? Research suggests omega 3 fats can fight certain cancers, cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke), cognitive decline, anxiety and depression, plus tame inflammation in your body and boost your immune system. I DO take a fish oil supplement, but fresh wild salmon is more fun. (When the budget is tight, I buy frozen wild salmon and use a nice teryaki-ginger marinade.)

Here’s a tip: Make a list of what you want to add to your diet. It might look like:

  • Green tea – one teapot daily
  • Shake – daily
  • Quart cran-water – daily
  • Wild salmon – 2x a week
  • Berries – daily (fresh berries – 2-4 servings a week)
  • Big salad – daily

When you hit the grocery store, bring the list. By prioritizing healthy foods, you’ll spend less time thinking about food that does you no good!

Hey, I’ve done my share of diets. They depress me no end! But focusing on adding good stuff is much easier on the psyche AND reinforces good eating.

You may need to make a few other tweaks, of course, but it’s a good start!

flickr photos (in order shown): aloalo, Tuckett, chotda, Leo Druker, consumedithis

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