what your personal stumbling blocks are: baby weight or ‘getting older.” Belly fat is not your destiny. I am delighted to tell you that you can, and will, get rid of it. Prevention has found a way to target belly fat that is healthy, real, long-lasting, and works for everyone. Before we get started, I think it’s important to do a gut check? Chances are, if you’ve plunked down cold, hard cash for a book called Flat Belly Diet, you may wish you had someone else’s belly or wish you had your own belly—from 20 years ago.

If that’s you, I ask you to change your thinking. Be kind to your belly. No matter how flat or round rock hard—it’s yours, and it’s powerful. It’s probably the center of some of your most profound memories. Think about it … the laughter you’ve shared, the romantic dinners you’ve had, the butterflies you’ve felt, the children you may have carried. All these set up house in—yes—your belly. And for that, it deserves your respect. Your appreciation. And more than a little love and kindness … even when you’re struggling to button your jeans.


I consider it my core strength, and I love to feel it move, twist, support me as I go through life’s business. It’s where food (one of life’s greatest pleasures, yes?) touches down, and there are few things as peaceful for me as that not-stuffed-not-hungry-but-just-full feeling. It’s also my meditative center, and I sense the calm over-taking me when I fill my middle with deep breaths. Then, of course, there’s the role it played in my pregnancy with twins. Anything willing to expand to host two precious, growing, kicking girls earns a special place in my heart for all time.

But the belly betrays. If I’m puffy the morning after a sushi dinner, that’s where my outfit feels tight. If PMS strikes, my belly moans and groans. When I gain 5 pounds, that’s where it shows. And, of course, when I go to take those 5 pounds off, that’s where they stay.

One of the best things about being the editor-in-chief of Prevention is hearing from all of you and learning—clearly and quickly—that I am not alone in my love/hate affair with this fascinating, troublesome part of the body. Many of you have told me that when looking at yourself in the mirror, you overlook your familiar, beautiful features, the favorite nuances of your physique. Instead, your eye travels directly to the areas where your fat resides. And for most of us, that’s the belly.

For countless reasons that I will outline throughout this book, the belly starts letting us down around age 40. Sometime between our 35th and 55th birthdays the belly pooches, puffs, and starts spilling over our waistbands. Eventually, we diet, then watch with frustration as the weight disappears from our breasts and our faces and the belly fat stays put. Eventually, belly fat starts to feel like our destiny—something that even hours on the treadmill or the strictest diet in the world won’t budge…. Until now.


To blast belly fat started when I hired Prevention’s nutrition director, Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD. Her first challenge was to comb the latest research, combine it with her vast clinical experience a diet that would target abdominal fat specifically. I made a good decision-Cynthia is not only a phenomenal magazine editor but also a registered dietitian with two graduate degrees and 15 years of experience, including countless hours of working with women in the real world.

And here’s the best part: She is passionate about food! I knew that any diet I asked her to construct would be satisfying and delicious, that it would be a way of eating that women could embrace for a lifetime. And boy, was I right. She has developed a belly-shrinking eating plan that is grounded in the latest and most credible science —and offers the most filling, satisfying, and delicious meals that you will ever have the pleasure of eating.

I know that any successful diet acknowledges that we eat for emotional reasons as well as physical ones. Not online the Flat Belly Diet deliver a healthy, satisfying way of eating—one that will rid your body of fat in the place you told us you want to slim down most—but it will teach you how to want to eat this way forever. The mental tricks, tips. and strategies are culled from the latest research and are designed to inspire you, motivate you, and set you up for a better relationship with food for the rest of your life!

Belly Fat Defined

WI1EN I TOSS AROUND the words “belly fat,” I’m actually talking about two different types: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is best, though perhaps not most scientifically, defined as the fact that you can sec. the “inch you can pinch.”Subcutaneous means ‘beneath” “the skin’ and it’s no big secret that this fat resides all over. In sonic spots—your thighs, under-arms, tummy, anyone?—it may be thicker than in others, but for the most part, it is everywhere, even on the soles of your feet. A moderate amount of subcutaneous fat is essential for life—for one thing, it keeps you from freezing to death in the winter. But too much of it causes dissatisfaction with how we look.

And worse: Excessive amounts of subcutaneous fat function as a visible sign of being overweight or obese, which doctors know raises your risk for many diseases. But I have some great news: Subcutaneous fat responds immediately to this diet plan. Before you happily skip pages and move to the diet, let’s talk about the second type of fat—visceral—which is much more dangerous and difficult to lose. Visceral fat resides deep within your torso and is sometimes referred to as Mid-den’ belly fat.

Excess visceral fat can increase your risk of all sorts of diseases, from heart disease and diabetes to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. And the most frustrating part? You can cut calories and exercise religiously and still be left with too much of it. In fact, the only way to minimize both visceral and subcutaneous fat simultaneously is to eat the right … fat.

The New Belly-Flattening Nutrient

AT PREVENTION, we’ve been talking about the healthfulness of monounsaturated fat—the kind found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados—for decades. Nearly every issue contains some tips or strategies for getting more in your diet. In fact. were on such intimate terms with monounsaturated fatty acids that we have a nickname for them—MUFAs. But it wasn’t until the spring of 2007 that we realized just how amazing these fats arc. That was when Spanish researchers published a study in the journal Diabetes Care showing that eating a diet rich in MUFAs can actually help prevent weight gain in your belly.

All three diets contained the same number of calories. Bear in mind: No other nutrient can do this. And that’s what makes the Flat Belly Diet, unlike any other diet book you’ve ever read. It presents the only diet to give MUFAs center stage, to make them an essential part of every single meal. And that means it’s the only diet that helps you lose fat in the belly specifically! In Chapter 3, you’ll read more about MUFAs and their various health benefits, but until then. let’s take a header lack at this truly groundbreaking diet plan.

The Flat Belly Diet Program

Tint FLAT BELLI, DIET is made up of two parts—the Four-Day Anti-Bloat Jumpstart and the Four. Week Eating Plan. The whole thing together takes just 32 days, which studies show is just enough time to make any dietary change a lifestyle.

Then, after you’ve mastered the program and seen the desired changes in your weight and measurements, I give you the tools to keep your belly flat for life. Even though you may be tempted to follow one part without the other. I want you to start with the Anti-Bloat Jumpstart, then move straight into the Four-Week Eating Plan. Here’s why.


isn’t just about beating bloat; it’s also extremely important in sparking your emotional commitment to the entire program. The 4-day plan includes a prescribed list of foods and drinks that will help flush out fluid, reduce water retention, and relieve digestive issues like gas and constipation, which can make your belly puff unnecessarily.

You’ll drink Cynthia’s signature Sassy Water and cat healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. When we tested this diet on our group of volunteers, one of the participants lost an amazing 7 pounds and L inches in the first 4 days (that’s 96 hours). Losing the bloat isn’t just a way to fit into your favorite dress again. It’s about feeling confident, powerful, and proud of your body.

Dropping even a few pounds of unnecessary water weight can be thrilling and can give you a major confidence boost—essential for success on any diet plan. Plus, I’ve added a second element to the 4-day plan: a Mind Trick at every meal. These quick and easy healthy-eating triggers will serve as mealtime ‘ diarised that you have embarked on a new way of life—a new way of living with and caring for your body.


Flat Belly Diet

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