Here are 12 amazing secrets that will help you achieve a great body though your eating habits.
1. The Ultimate Diet Plan
The most trusted source of fitness and weight-loss information for women, we spend countless hours thumbing through medical journals, nutrition news reports, and exercise studies. Plus, we’re lucky enough to have access to the secrets of the women whose livelihoods depend on staying shapely and sexy: actresses, singers, models, and trainers. With this wealth of information at our fingertips, it’s only natural for us to spill the lessons we’ve learned to our readers.
Enter The Bikini Body Diet. This new book by Shape editor-in-chief Tara Kraft is the ultimate diet and workout plan to help you achieve your best body ever—and maintain it for the long haul. While this program produces results in a matter of days, it’s not just a quick fix. This science-backed plan is based on strategies that help women like Tara and our cover models maintain a bikini-worthy body all year long. On the following pages, you’ll discover 12 principles of healthy eating that form the foundation of The Bikini Body Diet. Implement these tactics in your own life to transform your body, regain your confidence, and keep it for good!
2. Eat 3 Meals Per Day—No Snacking!
Many diet plans push the mini-meal approach that involves eating small portions six to eight times a day. Only problem? Lots of people subscribe to the “six to eight times a day,” but not so much to the “mini-meals.” To make this strategy work, you’d have to keep most of your meals and snacks in the 200 to 300 calorie range. Easy enough for snacks, but that’s generally not going to happen for lunch, dinner, or even breakfast.
Instead, fill up on three meals per day that will keep you satisfied and your energy high. This means no grazing throughout the day, even on healthy choices like carrots and dip. Research backs up this strategy: A 2012 study found that women who ate three meals a day had lower fat in their bloods than those who ate six, even with the same total daily calories. Give yourself only three opportunities to eat, and you’ll slash the chances of overeating and gaining weight.
3. Fill Up on Fruits and Veggies
Losing weight—and keeping it off—isn’t just about the number of times you eat during the day: It won’t do you a lick of good to reduce your meals/snacks from six to three if those three meals could feed a suburban neighborhood. First, you need to re-familiarize yourself with a “serving” really looks like. One trick to control your calories is to fill your plate halfway with fruits and veggies. Eating more of these nutrient-packed foods have been shown to be one of the most important predictors of weight loss. Then, fill the other half with healthy proteins and carbs, which we’ll cover in the next slide.
Slim women know that keeping portions in check is crucial for maintaining a healthy physique. Keep each serving of non-fruits-and-veggies, including carbs and proteins, about the size of your fist. It’s a simple eyeball test, and while it certainly gives you some room to cheat if you’re so inclined (“Well, tonight, I’m going to use Sasquatch’s fist as my guide”), the point is that it teaches you to develop an instinct—and consistent behavior—for eating healthy.
The payoff for keeping portion size under control is huge. In a Cornell University study, those people who ate smallish portions at lunch consumed nearly 250 fewer calories daily and lost a little over a pound a week. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which tells you that if you eat less during the day, you’ll gorge at night. Researchers say that after every meal your body resets itself, so smaller portions today won’t make you gnaw the arm of the couch tomorrow, and you’ll experience the benefit of fewer total calories consumed.
With so many drink choices—Sodas! Apple Martinis! Venti Mocha Nacho Grande!—available today, it’s easy to make diet-blowing decisions. But the right kinds of liquids can be part of the foundation of a healthy diet. Homemade soups and juices can be packed with nutrients and as water-based liquids, and research shows they’ll help you feel satisfied. In fact, one recent study found those who ate a soup-based meal experienced greater satiety than those who ate a mix of solids and liquids of the same ingredients.
Now, we don’t mean pre-packaged soups and bottled juices, which are often loaded with sodium and added sugars. We’re talking about healthful, tasty soups and juices you can whip up at home with wholesome ingredients. For example, lentil soup makes a filling dinner, while a green juice made with an apple, kale, lemon, and celery is a perfect choice for breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up. Drink water or unsweetened green tea the rest of day. Coffee is also fine, but minimize the additions—if you can drink it black, that’s best. If not, try a little almond milk. Wine is fine in moderation, as are clear liquors like vodka (don’t mix it with soda or sugary mixers, though).