SECRET #1: Take a brisk walk before breakfast.
This easy a.m. ritual works on two levels. First, a recent study found that exposure to sunlight in between the hours of 8 am and noon reduced your risk of weight gain regardless of activity level, caloric intake, or age. Researchers speculate that the morning light synchronizes your metabounder cut 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.
SECRET #2: Start with some oatmeal
Naturally sweet oatmeal recipes in diet were the key to weight loss. 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.
SECRET #3: Choose red fruit over green
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.
SECRET #4: afterwardsMake some guacamole
Learning to eat real, chemical free, fresh foods has been the best thing. First, 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 afterward. Second, unsaturated fats like those found in avocados seem to prevent the storage of belly fat.
SECRET #5: Mix up a plant-protein smoothie
Test panelist Bryan Wilson, a 29-year-old accountant, lost 19 pounds and an astounding 6 inches from his waist in just six weeks on the program, and he attributes his success to the Zero Belly shake recipes 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 Zero Belly solution: Try vegan protein, which will give you the same fat-burning, hunger-squelching, muscle-building benefits, without the bloat.
SECRET #6:Power up with eggs.
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, seafoo, and collard greens, attacks the gene mechanism that triggers your body to store fat around your liver. The more eggs you eat, the less egg-shaped you get.
SECRET #7: delimoneneMix up a magic elixir.
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 8 glasses before bedtime. Citrus fruits are rich in the anlimonene, 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, one of the 20 Best Teas for Weight Loss.
SECRET #8: Make your own trail mix.
The three major ingredients of a perfect Zero Belly meal or snack are protein, fibe, and healthy fats, and all three can be found in abundance in a good trail mix. Sadly, most commercial mixes are made with extra oils, salt, and sugar. Mix up your own high-protein snacks from a selection of nuts, seeds, unsweetened dried fruit, and dark chocolate pieces. Make sure to include peanuts: they’re a top source of both genistein and resveratrol, two nutrients that help diminish the action of your fat-storage genes.
The biggest reason we can’t stick to our workouts? No time. Trying to squeeze a trip to the gym, with a shower and change of clothes, into a hectic schedule—especially around the holidays—can make even the most dedicated fitness buff into someone, well, less buff. But scientists in New Zealand recently found that men and women who engaged in three 10-minute exercise “hors d’oeuvres” before breakfast, lunch and dinner saw lowered blood glucose levels—a fat-busting benefit these folks showed all day long! The short circuits in diet offer a variety exercises that blast your core without relying on traditional sit-ups—easy enough to squeeze in before dinner in the comfort of your living room.
SECRET #10: Rethink your supplements.
If you’re taking lots of vitamins and probiotics each day, you may want to reevaluate your strategy. Increased levels of B vitamins have long been associated with a higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes, perhaps becaus of megadosing triggers our fat genes. A daily multivitamin is probably fine, but don’t try to convince yourself that more is better. And a recent study found that most commercial probiotics have far less healthy bacteria than they claim. Your better bet is to focus on the foods to ensure your belly is getting plenty of love—and your fat genes are being cut off at the pass.
SECRET #11: study foundHave dark chocolate and berries for dessert.
Indulging in delicious food is a core principle of diet. It makes scientific sense, also: A recent study found that antioxidants in cocoa prevented laboratory mice from gaining excess weight and actually lowered their blood sugar levels. study found that gut microbes in our stomach ferment chocolate into heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory compounds that shut down genes linked to insulin resistance and inflammation. Why the berries? The fruit speeds up the fermentation process, leading to an even greater reduction in inflammation and weight.
SECRET #12: Swap farmed salmon for wild salmon.
Lean protein like fish is a great way to fight fat and boost your metabolism. But the farmed salmon you get at the local market might not be the best bet for your belly. The cold-water fish has a well-deserved reputation for packing plenty of heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids—1,253 mg of the good stuff, and just 114 mg of inflammatory, belly-busting omega 6s. But the farmed variety—and 90 percent of what we eat today is farmed—has a very different story to tell. It packs a whopping 1,900 mg of unhealthy omega-6s.
SECRET #13: Eat a better peanut butter.
Real peanut butter is made with two ingredients: peanuts, and maybe some salt. You already know that peanuts give you belly-slimming monounsaturated fats, tummy-filling fiber, and metabolism-boosting protein. But peanuts have a hidden weapon in their weight-loss utility belt: Genistein, a compound that acts directly on the genes for obesity, helping to turn them down and reduce your body’s ability to store fat. (Beans and lentils have the same magic ingredient, albeit in slightly less delicious form.) But be careful of the brand you buy: if you see ingredients like sugar, palm oil, or anything you can’t pronounce, put it back. They’ll undermine any good the peanuts might do.
SECRET #14: Pre-game lunch and dinner with greens.
High-volume, low-calorie greens will fill you up, without filling you out. Leafy greens like collard greens, watercress, kale, and arugula may not be on your everyday list, but they all contain a compound called sulforaphane. This nutrient has been shown to act directly on the genes that determine “adipocyte differentiation”—basically, turning a stem cell into a fat cell. A healthier intake of the compound means a healthier body weight for you. And just a scant teaspoon of vinaigrette will help your body absorb the fat-soluble nutrients.