Mary Fallon did just this as part of her weight loss & exercise program, and the results were astonishing. “I saw changes immediately,” she reports. In less than six weeks on the program, Mary dropped over 20 pounds and an astonishing seven inches from her middle by combining diet changes with a pre-breakfast walk.
This easy a.m. ritual works on two levels. First, a recent study found that exposure to sunlight in between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon reduced your risk of weight gain regardless of activity level, caloric intake, or age. Researchers speculate that the morning light synchronizes your metabolism and undercuts your fat genes. And burning calories before you eat means you’re exercising in a fasted state—the energy you burn comes right from your fat stores, instead of the food you ate. But what really stunned Mary was the improvement in her heart health. Before starting her new exercise plan, Mary’s heart rate would typically soar to 112 beats per minute (bpm) within moments of starting her exercise bike workout. “After the first week and a half I could not raise my heart rate over 96 bpm with the same workout. It was great to see change in the mirror, and even better to know good things were happening that I couldn’t even see.”
So get up, drink a glass of water and go for a brisk morning walk. It's a great way to start the day and jumpstart weight-loss and heart health!
Naturally sweet oatmeal recipes were the key to test panelist Isabel Fiolek’s dramatic 13-pound weight loss. “I happen to have a big sugar addiction,” Isabel admits, “But the recipes have been surprisingly satisfying for my sweet tooth.” Isabel also made dramatic health strides: A checkup after her six weeks on her diet revealed she’d dropped her total cholesterol by 25 percent and her blood glucose level by 10 percent.
So cook up some oatmeal—and top it with some fruit. What’s so magical about this combination? Each provides insoluble fiber that helps reduce blood cholesterol and feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut. By doing so, you trigger your gut to produce butyrate, a fatty acid that reduces fat-causing inflammation throughout your body. In a Canadian study, researchers discovered that those whose diets were supplemented with insoluble fiber had higher levels of ghrelin—a hormone that controls hunger.
That means Pink Lady over Granny Smith, watermelon over honeydew, red grapes over green ones. The higher levels of nutrients called flavonoids—particularly anthocyanins, compounds that give red fruits their color—calm the action of fat-storage genes. In fact, red-bellied stone fruits like plums boast phenolic compounds that have been shown to modulate the expression of fat genes.
For test panelist June Carlson, incorporating fresh produce like avocados was a life-changing lesson from her diet. The 55 year-old lost six pounds in the first week on the program. “Learning to eat real, chemical free, fresh foods has been the best thing that ever happened to me. I am never hungry. And the weight just keeps coming off!” Glowing skin, healthy nails and better sleep were bonuses, June said. “I’m well on my way to getting my sexy back. Everyone says I look much younger!”
Avocados are a double-whammy to belly fat. First, they’re packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that dim your hunger switches; a study in Nutrition Journal found that participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterwards. Second, unsaturated fats like those found in avocados seem to prevent the storage of belly fat.
Test panelist Brian Wilson, a 29-year-old accountant, lost 19 pounds and an astounding six inches from his waist in just six weeks on the program, and he attributes his success to a shake recipe in the program. “I love the shakes. I added them to my diet, and almost immediately I lost the bloat,” Bryan said. “I’m a sweet craver, and the shakes were an awesome alternative to bowls and bowls of ice cream I would have had.”
Protein drinks are great ways to get a monster dose of belly-busting nutrition into a delicious, simple snack. But most commercial drinks are filled with unpronounceable chemicals that can upset our gut health and cause inflammation and bloat. And the high doses of whey used to boost protein levels can amplify the belly-bloating effect. The diet solution: Try vegan protein, which will give you the same fat-burning, hunger-squelching, muscle-building benefits, without the bloat.
You’ll find lean, satiating protein in every single bite. The muscle-building macronutrient is fundamental to the plan, and eggs happen to be one of the easiest and most versatile delivery systems in the universe. Not only that, they’re also the number-one dietary source of a nutrient called choline. Choline, which is found also in lean meats, seafood and collard greens, attacks the gene mechanism that triggers your body to store fat around your liver. One recipe—a breakfast hash with sweet potatoes and fresh farm eggs—became test panelist Morgan Minor’s go-to breakfast, and after just 3 weeks on the program, the female firefighter lost 11 pounds and four inches from her waist! The more eggs you eat, the less egg-shaped you get.
Start each day by making a large pitcher of “spa water”—that’s water filled with sliced whole lemons, oranges or grapefruits—and make a point of sipping your way through at least eight glasses before bedtime. Citrus fruits are rich in the antioxidant delimonene, a powerful compound found in the peel that stimulates liver enzymes to help flush toxins from the body and gives sluggish bowels a kick, according to the World Health Organization. For added belly-blasting benefits, brew yourself a pot of green tea.