Feeling bloated? Stomach not as flat as you’d like it to be? I’m here to help you look hot for your next party – (or any other occasion in the future for that matter), with totally healthy, clean eating.
Please let me make it quite clear that I still advocate total clean and healthy eating all the time – not just as a one-off thing to look good! However, this way of eating is something that can be incorporated into your every day life – and hopefully you can slowly create habits to eat clean most of the time. By ‘clean’ I mean natural, unprocessed food.
What I’ll be mainly be talking about in this article is the dreaded water retention…
How much does water retention affect you?
A lot of strict diets start with a 1-2 week total cut of carbs. People lose stacks of weight quickly, but we all know – most of this is not body fat, but water. Still, losing water out of the body can be quite nice. I’m not talking dehydrating yourself, but simply reducing bloating which can help bring out your muscle definition.
You can naturally lose some of the water that hangs around in your body instead of being flushed away, due to excess sodium, sugars and basically – food that’s not so great for you! You can also incorporate some foods that are natural diuretics, so your party photos will show nicer muscle tone! (It’s subtle, but worth a shot aye!)
Foods like salt and sugar cause the body to retain fluids; they can lead to bloating and water retention. Often inadequate protein, amino acids or B-vitamins in the diet can also lead to fluid retention.
Moderation is the key, even in the case of natural diuretics, so don’t over use them. Natural diuretics can aid in removal of excess fluids from the body.
- Green tea is a natural diuretic food that has been in use for centuries in China.
- Consumption of cranberry juice can aid in removal of excess fluid retention.
- Apple cider vinegar exhibits natural diuretic properties and in addition maintains the potassium levels.
- Dandelion is often used as a natural diuretic.
- Nettle has natural diuretic properties that facilitate good cleansing.
- Dandelion leaf tea aids in detoxification and has a beneficial effect on those suffering from cystitis and urinary tract infections.
- Fennel has diuretic properties and is frequently used in seasoning food.
Natural foods with high water content such as watermelons and cucumbers help increase urination and better flushing out of toxins. Cucumbers are rich in sulfur and silicon that stimulate the kidneys into better removal of uric acid.
- Asparagus – Improves waste removal from the body.
- Brussel Spouts – help in stimulating the kidneys and pancreas. This helps in better cleansing of cells.
- Beetroot is a natural diuretic that attacks floating body fats and fatty deposits.
- Oats contain silica – a natural diuretic.
- Cabbage is known to aid breakage of fatty deposits, especially around the abdominal region.
- Carrots are a rich source of carotene that speeds the metabolic rate of the body and hastens removal of fat deposits and waste.
- Lettuce aids better metabolism and flushing of toxins.
- Tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C that aid the metabolism and release of water from the kidney to flush out waste.
- Other than the other excellent properties that garlic possesses, it is a natural diuretic food that aids breakage of fat.
- Horseradish, raw onions and radish speed up your metabolism (but I recommend you leave the raw onion out before your party!)
Another thing worth considering is cutting down on dairy products, which can make you look quite soft. Apparently, it tends to sit between the muscle and the skin and leaves you looking puffy, not lean and tight.
When I compete, I completely cut out dairy for 12 weeks. When I went to the Naturopath to get tested just before a competition, the tests came up that I was actually too HIGH in calcium – because I was eating a lot of salmon, raw nuts, green veges etc.
So (in most cases) don’t think that cutting dairy from your diet for three days is suddenly going to drop your calcium levels (unless you have been advised otherwise by a GP).
Okay, so what would you suggest my meals should look like?
Alright, here goes – here’s your suggested eating plan for the next three days –
Breakfast – Rolled oats, blueberries, cinnamon, green tea or cranberry juice
Snack 1 – Nibble on raw baby radishes, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, raw cabbage, plus plain chicken breast (grilled – make the night before and eat cold if you wish). Optional – watermelon
Lunch – Steamed or grilled white fish or chicken breast and a large salad – lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber etc. Limitless fibrous veges. Plus a small amount of either pumpkin, sweet potato, brown rice – if it doesn’t bloat you, lentils or beetroot (keep carb intake low if you want to drop more body fat)
Snack 2 – Same as snack 1. Include a piece of fruit if you’re exercising or a tablespoon of raw nuts
Dinner – Same as lunch plus fill up on mushrooms, celery, broccoli, courgettes, steamed asparagus etc. or vege soup (homemade of course)
Snack 3 – Raw veges again! Go on, you can do it!
Plus – lots of filtered water! And green, nettle or dandelion tea 🙂
What to avoid
- Table Salt
- Products containing salt… Soy sauce, packet soups – in fact, packet just about anything!
- Read labels and use low salt if you are eating anything out of a packet (which you shouldn’t need to do if you are organised)
- All dairy products
- Pasta, bread – any white carbs (except white veges such as cauliflower, onions etc.)
- Anything containing saturated fat – stick to good fats such as raw nuts or avocado
- Obviously any other food you can think of that is processed – yes that includes even grainy bread. These days most bread even wholegrain is still highly processed and can bloat you out! (Have some the day after if you feel you can’t live without it!)
Summary (most important!)
Again, let me make it clear – I’m no advocate of sudden low calorie starvation diets. You simply can’t lose a lot of body fat in a short time – not effectively, safely or able to be kept up. What I’m advocating is a natural, clean and unprocessed diet. Cutting out processed food – even things like protein powder, is certainly the only time I ever get to see my abs.
You won’t see a totally dramatic difference – good things take time and fat loss is never a quick fix. It’s a constant lifestyle of good nutrition and effective resistance and cardio training. But with this way of eating, you should feel lighter, have a flatter tummy and less bloat.
Hopefully, you may even get addicted to the feeling and incorporate some of these changes into your everyday lifestyle.
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – koratmember