A week to go until your holiday? Don't panic - just follow our easy diet tweaks for a slimmer silhouette in only seven days
Snacking on raw food such as carrot sticks instead of bingeing on biscuits as the afternoon wears on may sound like a leap in the weight-loss direction, but, as of today, eating any raw food after 4pm is strictly off-limits as the cellulose in uncooked vegetables can be difficult to digest. 'Raw foods are chock-full of energy and a brilliant pick-up during the day, but can be challenging to a worn-out metabolism later in the afternoon, when they will play havoc with your digestive system,' says Dr Stossier, co-author of The Viva Mayr Diet (Harper Collins, £12.99). And if your digestive system isn't working to maximum capacity, an increased amount of fat will form around your stomach to protect it. It's a natural self-defence mechanism, but results in an unwanted pot belly.
Does the Viva Mayr Clinic uber-detox work?
Starting today, drink a glass of water 15 minutes before every meal and avoid drinking again until an hour afterwards. Downing fluid immediately after a meal will reduce your digestive capacity, leaving your system sluggish. 'You should be drinking between two and three litres of water every day, but that doesn't mean sipping it all day long. There's a time to drink water, and a time to avoid it,' says Dr Stossier.
10 reasons to drink more water
A simple stomach massage is a super-quick way to flatten a pot belly. It also speeds along digestion and can boost your mood by encouraging the release of endorphins. Start massaging your tummy using gentle movements, kneading with the palm of your hand. Next, make about 50 small circular strokes in a clockwise motion around your navel. Widen this circle to include your ribcage and repeat in a clockwise direction.
Flat tummy tricks
Blitz fat cells by eating yogurt. A study by the University of Tennessee in the US, showed that women who ate low-fat yogurt three times a day, combined with a low-calorie diet, lost 22% more fat than women who did so only once a day. According to the university's director of nutrition, Michael Zemel, this is because calcium and other substances in dairy foods speed up your metabolism.
Best healthy breakfast ideas
Most of us are guilty of piling our plates too high, and the results of a French survey reveal why. We Brits think we're thinner than we actually are, despite what the scales say! Trick your brain into thinking you have a bigger portion by using a smaller plate; a US study found that people given a large bowl ate 30% more than those using a bowl half the size. Eating slowly and chewing food well helps too, as it can take up to 20 minutes for the 'I'm full' message from your intestines to reach your brain.
Thanks to the massive popularity of the Atkins Diet, many of us assume a high-protein diet is the best way to shift pounds - but actually, eating too much (30% or more of your caloric intake) can have the opposite effect. Your body can't store excess protein and when it is broken down, toxins are produced that put a strain on your kidneys, leading to dehydration, muscle loss and lack of energy (not to mention depleting your bones of calcium). If you're feeling tired and sluggish, you'll be far less inclined to take exercise and more likely to suffer the sort of slump that can be 'fixed' only with a chocolate pick-me-up.
Counteract the belly-bloating effects of too much acid (found in foods such as coffee and cheese) with something old-fashioned. 'Before your holidays, dissolve one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in 250ml of warm water and drink it before bed. It will support your liver's detoxing ability, which works best at night,' advises Dr Stossier. If you can't stomach the taste, add a little less bicarb, but in the same amount of water - then gulp it down!
7-day detox rules
Posted: 18/03/2013 at 11:29
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