Weight Loss- with The Belly Melt Diet
There has been a lot of buzz recently about a new diet called The Belly Melt Diet. Created by the editors of Prevention Magazine, they claim to have taken all of the latest research on the two types of belly fat –the subcutaneous “muffin top” fat, and the visceral fat surrounding the organs deep in the belly, and cracked the code on how to melt this stuff away! For good.
Prevention magazine has been America’s go-to magazine for Healthy Living since 1950. They try to offer information to their readers on disease prevention, and promote optimum health. They have come out with successful diets over the years, including the Flat Belly Diet, and the 400 Calorie Fix.
The book was published in 2012 by Rodale, and has 358 pages. The cover claims you can lose 8 lbs in 3 days by working with your hormones and natural body rhythms. Throughout the book they quote study after study to support their theories.
The Theory Behind the Diet
The Belly Melt Diet wants you to work with your body’s natural rhythms to maximize fat loss. There are 4 main rhythms in the body; the most commonly known one is the circadian rhythm. These rhythms are the internal body clocks, which release hormones that affect things such as metabolism, sleep, hunger and energy. When our internal clocks are out of sync, we tend to crave fatty foods, and our fat storage hormone increases. Things that can throw off our clocks are sleep deprivation, random eating, nighttime eating and schedules like shift work. We can work with these hormones by exercising, eating and sleeping at precise times, to allow our body to return to its best functioning state.
The Hormones (not the usual suspects!):
1. Cortisol- the stress hormone. When released it helps select the right combination of protein, carbs and fats to get your body through the day. In a normal functioning body, it is released first thing in the morning to wake you up, and set you up for success for the day. When out of whack, it goes in to fat storage overdrive, leading to weight gain.
2. Ghrelin- the hunger hormone. This hormone gives us the hunger feeling right before we eat. It is secreted in the stomach. It can also let us know when we have had enough to eat. When sleep deprivation occurs, this hormone can secrete all day long, making us feel hungry even when we have consumed enough food.
3. Leptin- the starvation hormone. Kicks in when dieting, as the body goes in to protective mode when calories are reduced. It is also affected by lack of sleep.
4. Melatonin- the sleep hormone. Released when it is dark outside, and slows release in the morning to allow you to wake up. Artificial light can mess with this hormone, like looking at a computer screen late at night.
The goal is to reset your circadian rhythm, and eat and exercise at precise times to allow your body to return to its most efficient state- i.e. no belly fat! As you can see, the hormones above are all directly related to sleep. They recommend, if nothing else, you try and aim for 7-9 hours of good quality, continuous sleep every night. The book has about 45 pages on how to get the perfect night’s sleep.
1. Phase 1: 3 day Reset! Lose up to 8 lbs in 3 days. 1200 calories/day
2. Phase 2: 5 week Reshape! Lose up to 19 lbs in 5 weeks. 1500 calories/day
1. Exercise first thing in the morning
2. Drink water before meals
3. 6 small meals per day. First three are protein and complex carb. Fourth is caffeinated drink. Fifth can have healthy fats. Sixth is a carb.
4. Try and nap/meditate mid afternoon for 15-20 minutes.
5. No caffeine after 4pm.
6. Weight train before dinner.
7. No technology after 10:30pm.
8. Get a good night sleep, going to bed and waking at the same time 7 days a week.
A Typical Day on the Diet
8am- As soon as you wake up, before you do anything, go outside for a brisk 20 minute walk. Studies show aerobic exercise before you eat can set you up to burn fat all day long. Your dog will be happy!
8:30 Drink 1-2 eight ounce glasses of water. Over one year, you can lose up to 5 lbs if done before each meal.
9:00 Eat! The hormone ghrelin has been released, and needs to be tamed. Eat a combination of protein and complex carb- like omelet and whole wheat toast, or protein shake and fresh fruit. Try and eat within 1 hour of waking.
11:00 Midmorning your ghrelin is on the rise again, getting you hungry for lunch. Tame it with a protein and complex carb again- such as Greek yogurt and blueberries.
1pm Lunch. Another hormone is being released, which causes you to crave fats. Again it can be fooled by eating protein and complex carb- like beef and barley soup, or chicken chili.
3:00 Siesta. Your body will crave sleep at this time. If possible, try and sneak in a 15-20 minute nap, or meditation. Don’t forget to set your alarm!
3:30pm Have a cup of Joe! Last chance to have caffeine, so have a coffee or tea to wake you up. Caffeine after 4:00 will affect your sleep pattern
4-6:00pm Muscle building time! Take advantage of your body’s highest temperature of the day by doing some quick weightlifting moves. Your own body weight will do- pushups, sit ups, planks… You can build 22% more muscle when lifting weights at this time of the day, studies say!
6:00 Dinner time. Try and eat at the same time each night, to not mess with the rhythms. You can have some healthy fats at this meal, such as olive, flax or fish oil. Pour yourself a glass of red wine, and celebrate your success! Make sure you don’t consume wine after 7pm, so your sleep is not affected.
9:30 Late night snack. Different from most diets, a snack at this hour is encouraged! Now you can have your carb- how about frozen yogurt. This will help release the melatonin for a good night sleep.
10:30 Power down. Turn off all technology at this point to stop your exposure to blue light which can disrupt your sleep. Read in bed, or have a bath. Something to get ready to go to sleep.
11:00 Bedtime. Try and keep the same sleep-wake schedule 7 days a week.
The book also comes with over 100 recipes to keep you on the right track.
Recently the Diet was previewed on Rachael Ray
- Rachael Ray Show - On the Show - The Belly Melt Diet
Could exercising at a different time of day help you flatten your belly faster? The Belly Melt Diet author shows you how a little planning can go a long way!