I've been following the Flat Belly Diet for 25 days, and I love it! In the first 3 weeks, I lost 3 pounds. My youngest child is 3 1/2, and it's been a real struggle to lose the baby weight. I've lost a few pounds on various eating plans, but I haven't been able to stick with them. The Flat Belly Diet allows me to have chocolate chips with my breakfast cereal, so I'm pretty sure I can keep it up. The diet is based on eating 1600 calories a day, divided into 4 meals, with a monounsaturated fat (such as nuts, avocado, chocolate) at each of those meals. It's a good balance of healthy foods (without using any sugar substitutes) but I certainly don't feel deprived.
The Flat Belly Diet suggests you begin by following their Jumpstart plan for 4 days. These 4 days have very limited food selections, designed to "banish bloat" and I wasn't ready to do that when I started. This week I decided to give it a try. 3 days into this, I've lost 4 pounds! This brings my weight loss over the 25 days to a total of 7 pounds. I have 18 more to lose.
One of the things I like about the Jumpstart menu is the Sassy Water. This is an infusion I make in the evening: water and limes (the book recommends lemons) and ginger and cucumber. I put it in the fridge overnight and drink it the next day. I make 8 cups, and just the process of making it helps me remember to drink all of it. I like a strong infusion, and I think fresh mint is a little expensive, so I begin by making a pot of peppermint tea: 2 cups of boiling water, 2 teabags (herbal), an inch of fresh sliced ginger, and 2 small quartered limes. I let it steep for 15 minutes, then pour it into my 8 cup pyrex pitcher (it has to be a heat-safe pitcher!) and add the cucumber and water to make 8 cups. I like the way this tastes, and it's really helpful when I'm craving a snack. The first day I realized it was too cold to drink from the fridge (peppermint and cucumber are cooling in themselves), so I took it out in the morning and left it on the counter. I get cold on these late autumn afternoons, so I make another small pot of peppermint tea with ginger and lime, and drink it hot. I can't find any information in the book about drinking it hot, so I'm not sure I'm following the rules, but it keeps me from craving my usual cup of tea.
There are 2 lunch options, and I chose the pressed turkey/grape tomatoes/string cheese option the first day. The second day I repeated it, but I wanted a little more flavor. The Jumpstart menu forbids balsamic vinegar (my usual addition to tomatoes), but I am allowed to use herbs. I wanted a little liquid to make the herbs stick to the tomatoes, so I sliced them in half and put them in a glass bowl with the diced turkey and diced cheese. Then I sprinkled Fines Herbes from Penzeys over them, and stirred it. A little juice came out of the tomatoes, giving me a very light dressing and a lot of flavor.
I look forward to the end of the Jumpstart menu, and a return to the rest of the diet, but I do like the difference the Jumpstart has made in the way my clothes fit! 2 years ago I bought a pair of cargo capri pants to wear on our trip to Ireland. They didn't fit, so I wore my comfortable yoga pants for most of the trip. I never have been able to wear these...until this week.
I must confess, I have not completely followed the No Caffeine rule of the Jumpstart. In the morning I make a small pot of tea with 1 peppermint teabag and 1 Irish Breakfast teabag, several slices of ginger, and 1 teaspoon of honey. My kids are sniffly and I'm waking up with a sore throat every morning--I need that raw local honey to soothe my throat and fight the allergies. And the caffeine in these two cups of half-caffeinated tea is equal to the caffeine in half a cup of coffee and so far has eliminated the lack-of-caffeine headache. I usually have at least 2 cups of coffee or 4 cups of tea every day, so this is a big change.
(I am not connected with the authors of the Flat Belly Diet in any way, nor do I have their thoughts on my adaptations to it.)