The Get Lean Diet: Baby Steps To Healthy Weight Loss
Gallery: Eight Easy Steps To Lose Weight Fast
The countdown to Memorial Day has begun. With just a month to get their beach bodies back, many resort to strict calorie-cutting, cleanses or bizarre fad diets. But usually participants are hungry, miserable and unsuccessful.
Wellness expert Kathy Freston, bestselling author of Veganist and Quantum Wellness, offers an easier way to tackle weight loss and keep the pounds off for good. New book The Lean: A Revolutionary (and Simple!) 30-Day Plan for Healthy, Lasting Weight-Loss helps readers lean into weight loss with one small step a day for 30 days. If followed, she promises a permanent weight loss of 1 to 3 pounds a week, plus increased energy and improved digestion.
“When we dive head first into a really disciplined diet, we’re miserable and we’re not going to stick with it,” says Freston. “But when we lean into really good, healthy eating habits, we’ll be successful with our weight loss because we’re going to feel fulfilled and happy and enjoy the foods we grew up loving.”
Unlike other diet plans, Freston does not focus on prohibited foods. She suggests that you “crowd out” instead of “cut out” by adding things into your daily routine. Little by little, you’ve added in so many healthy food habits there’s no room for the bad stuff because you’re so full. Here are some of Freston’s easiest and most effective tips to lose weight quickly and sustainably.
Drink Water Before Meals
Drinking lots of water, at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day, is one of the simplest and best things you can do for your body, says Freston. Staying hydrated boosts your metabolism, and drinking water before meals helps you eat less. “It’s called preloading, and it literally fills up your stomach so you can’t put as much in,” she says. In one study, participants who drank two cups of water before eating lost an average five pounds more fat than those who did not.
Eat An Apple Every Day
Keep the doctor away, and get into your skinny jeans. Freston says eating an apple every day will make you healthier and leaner. Apples have a fiber called pectin that slows down the process of digesting food by twice as much. “You’ll feel fuller that much longer, and it releases blood sugar into your system slowly and stably.” Next time you reach for a snack or dessert, make it an apple.
Freston says one of the easiest things you can do to speed weight loss is to add two tablespoons of flaxseed into your daily regimen by sprinkling it into your morning oatmeal, adding it into a smoothie or mixing it into a salad. Flaxseed are low in carbohydrates and high in B vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, which fills you up faster and keeps you sated longer. You can buy flaxseed in the health food section of the grocery store or a specialty store like GNC, and it should last for six weeks in the refrigerator.
Change Up Your Milk
“Think about this,” says Freston. “Dairy milk comes from a lactating cow, meant to feed her baby calf so that it puts on a thousand pounds really quickly and becomes fat, docile and slow. We don’t want to become fat, docile and slow.” She also says that drinking a low or non-fat milk strips the fat and leaves mostly lactose, which is a sugar. The best route is to switch out dairy milk for a non-dairy alternative, she says, like soy, hemp, almond or rice milk.
Find A Plant-Based Alternative
“Food is such a strong symbol of tradition and community,” says Freston. Instead of giving up the “bad” things that you love, she suggests finding a healthier alternative. One solution is to swap out an animal-based product with a plant-based product. So if you love hamburgers, have a veggie burger. If you’re craving a taco, make one filled with black beans rather than chicken. Great sources of plant-based protein are seitan, tempeh, beans, lentils and tofu.
Schedule Your Daily Diet
Just as you would schedule your workday with clearly defined meeting times, goals and to-do lists, Freston advises scheduling your eating and exercise habits to help hold yourself accountable. It might look like:
6:30 — Wake up, drink water
7:00 — Eat oatmeal with flaxseed, drink coffee with almond milk
8:30 — Drink water
10:00 — Have an apple, drink water
As you move through the day, you’ll be organized, on track and feel accomplished as you check things off your list.
Stop For Five Minutes
One key element of weight loss that many people overlook is how important it is to think beyond just what you’re putting in your mouth. “We are emotional beings,” says Freston. “So if we don’t tweak the way we think about and approach the food, we’re not going to be successful.” She recommends stopping for five minutes a day, closing your eyes and reviewing your mental and physical state of being. Then when you have a plate of food in front of you, you’ll be less likely to over-eat as a way of self-soothing because you’ve taken a moment to register how you’re feeling and why.