Flat Belly Diet Background
While some people are fine with losing weight overall when going on a diet, there are those of us that are trying to target one certain area. The most common part of the body that most of us are trying to drop a few extra pounds is the belly area. However, it seems that it’s nearly impossible to lose enough fat from your stomach to make it look completely flat. That’s where the Flat Belly Diet comes in.
Liz Vaccariello penned the book detailing the Flat Belly Diet that was released in 2012, and there are a lot of promises made. Vaccariello claims that following the diet can allow you to lose up to 15 pounds in 32 days, as well as multiple inches off of your waistline in the first four days alone. Those promises might sound too good to be true, so does the Flat Belly Diet work? Let’s break down what the program entails to see if it might be the right plan for you.
A Rounded Plan
Vaccariello did not come up with the full Flat Belly Diet program on her own, and enlisted the help of two experts to come up with an overall plan to reduce inches off of your waist. These experts are Dr. Shaw Talbott, a nutritional biochemist, and Jaime Brenkus, the creator of 8 Minute Abs. Despite having an expert in abdominal building, there actually isn’t much exercise laid out in the program.
Instead of focusing on countless sit-ups, the Flat Belly Diet recommends three different types of exercise. Cardio should be used to burn excess calories while strength training helps fuel your body to continue burning calories. Then, of course, there is the core exercises that focus on your waist to speed up the results. While the exercise will certainly help you reach your goal, it is not a requirement on the program.
But what about the eating aspect of the Flat Belly Diet? You do have to eat, of course, and there is an eating plan that seems very easy to follow. Starving yourself won’t be a problem with the Flat Belly Diet, as you get to eat every four hours. For four meals per day, you eat 1,600 calories (at least by the standard layout) for a total of 1,600 calories. You’re also encouraged to eat a lot of fat on this diet.
That might sound odd to eat that many calories and grams of fat, but it’s more nutritional than that. The fats that you are eating on the Flat Belly Diet are the good kind (monounsaturated), the healthy type that you find from foods such as nuts and olive oil. You must eat these fats with all of your meals throughout the day according to the plan.
Before you get to the portion of the Flat Belly Diet where you’re eating 1,600 calories each day, there is a four day kickstart program to begin. This four day program is designed to get rid of bloating, and you eat just 1,200 calories per day. During this time, you drink two liters of water each day with a combination of cucumbers, lemons, mint leaves and ginger root. As for the 1,200 calories, you have to avoid foods that cause bloating. This pretty much means that there is no processed food, carbs or anything that would cause gas and bloating.
What’s on the Menu?
A concentration on foods that are higher in calcium and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) have been shown to eliminate belly fat much faster than other foods. While on the Flat Belly Diet, you’re encouraged to eat six ounces of low-fat Greek yogurt with each meal. According to studies, people that stick to this plan lose more than 80 percent more belly fat than those that haven’t followed a diet high in MUFAs and calcium.
It’s not very hard to follow, and there are plenty of good tasting foods that will keep you satisfied throughout the day. Let’s take a look at what a two day sample menu looks like on the Flat Belly Diet:
1 Slice of Sesame Whole Grain Bread
2 Tablespoons of Cashew Butter
⅛ Cup of Raisins
Total Calories = 319
1 Multigrain Pita
1 Veggie Burger
2 Tablespoons of Chopped Scallions
4 ⅛ Cups of Sliced Avocado
½ Cup of Baby Spinach
Total Calories = 317
4 Ounces of Alaskan Salmon
1 ½ Cup of Green Beans
1 Pinch of Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons of Almonds
Total Calories = 335
Daily Calories (without snacks) = 971
1 ½ Cups of Whole Grain Cereal
4.5 Ounces of Fat Free Vanilla Yogurt
½ Cup of Blueberries
2 Tablespoons of Almonds
Total Calories = 343
2 Slices of Sesame Whole Wheat Bread
3 Ounces of Alaskan Salmon
½ Diced Tomato
2 Romaine Leaves
2 Tablespoons of Black Olive Tapenade
Total Calories = 332
½ Cup of Whole Wheat Pasta
3 Ounces of Cooked Chicken Breast
⅓ Cup of Grape Tomatoes
½ Cup of Shredded Carrots
1 Tablespoon of Shredded Cheese
1 Tablespoon of Pesto Sauce
Total Calories = 341
Daily Calories (without snacks) = 1,016
A couple of things that you will want to be avoiding while on the program are sugar and alcohol. These can make you bloat up fast, and will be counteractive toward losing belly fat. You are allowed to have alcohol on the Flat Belly Diet, but there is a price to pay. You must lose 25 calories somewhere else in your diet for every drink you’ve had. You can either do this through exercise or by cutting calories from your meals. That means one night of heavy drinking can undo a lot of progress.
Getting some good recipe ideas for your version of the Flat Belly Diet is very simple, and the cookbooks and meal plans are available in bookstores and online for less than $10 each. If you are one of the many people that can’t have lactose or gluten, you should still have no problem finding plenty of recipes that fit your needs.
Increasing your intake of MUFAs while getting rid of saturated fats will have good long term health benefits outside of weight loss alone. There is a good chance that your cholesterol will be lower, and will help prevent illnesses that include heart disease. If you are diabetic, you might not want to jump right into this plan as the diet could mess with your blood sugar. Diabetics are encouraged to visit with their doctor while bringing in the meal plan before starting up.
As for weight loss in the long-term, experts have been mixed on how effective the Flat Belly Diet is. Of course, the program is meant for a short-term burst of weight loss from your waist, but this one has received low marks in the lifelong benefits for weight management. However, it has received high marks for being healthy overall thanks to the reduction in saturated fats.
Summing it Up
The big question when it comes to the Flat Belly Diet is “Does it work?” There have been plenty of people advertised by the makers of the diet showing up significant weight loss from their waistlines, but experts are saying that the claims are a bit exaggerated. 15 pounds in 32 days is a significant amount, and usually isn’t typically unless those that are starting the diet are already very overweight. If you have just 15 pounds to lose, it’s likely not all in your midsection and will take longer than 32 days. Some of the weight has been waste and water, so you may not be losing all that much fat over the course of that 32 days.
The community of those that are on the Flat Belly Diet has grown, so the accessibility to recipes has improved over the past four years since its introduction. For a fee, you can join the Flat Belly Diet website that gives you access to recipes that are added daily, as well as customized and unlimited meal plans that can cater to your needs. There is also a list of exercises and communication with personal weight loss coaches which is a nice touch.
Despite the improvements, the promises that are made by the Flat Belly Diet can be a little too hard to believe. However, this diet has been shown to improve your overall health and does have good weight loss aspects thanks to the amount of calories you’re taking in. If you’re looking for a long-term solution that promotes an easy lifestyle change to stick to, the Flat Belly Diet may not be what you’re looking for. If you want to drop a few inches from your waist in a short time, it’s definitely worth a try.