Follow these sane food rules to a trim tummy.
IT'S SIMPLE: To show off your newly toned abs, you need less body fat overall. You can shed a pound of it a week by cutting just 500 calories a day (the amount in a coffee-shop muffin). "But you do want to be careful to eat enough-otherwise, your body will start to store energy as fat," says New York City-based registered dietician Stephanie Middleberg.
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LOG YOUR MEALS, SNACKS, AND DRINKS. You can use a notebook, your calendar, or sparkpeople.com-it's free to join, and their calorie counter comes in handy when you're trying to stay accountable. (You can also use their tools to find out how many total calories your body needs.)
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HAVE A LITTLE PROTEIN with every meal and snack. This helps stabilize your blood sugar level, staving off hunger pangs. Nuts, eggs, lean meats, chicken, fish, tofu, and low-fat dairy like yogurt are all good sources.
AVOID POOCH-INDUCERS like artificial sweeteners, gum (you swallow air as you chew), foods high in sodium or sugar, and carbonated beverages like soda and even seltzer-which can make you gassy, warns Middleberg.
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EAT YOUR VEGGIES. They're fiber-rich, so you'll feel fuller longer. At lunch and dinner, fill up half your plate with veggies; make the other side a mix of lean protein and whole grains.
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