Flat Belly Jumpstart- Does it work?

So what have I been eating lately? Wait a second, isn’t that what this blog is about? Indeed it is, but things have been a little different for the past couple days. If you read my last post you’ll know that I am trying out the Flat Belly Diet Jump Start (4-day anti-bloat). I’m on Day 4 and things have been going okay. I’ve been following the plan for the most part, except for a few modifications, a couple complete changes, and some cheats. I’m sure you all are dying to know what it’s been like, or maybe not, but here’s what I’ve been munching on.

First and foremost, an important part of the initial 4 day anti-bloat is what they call sassy water.

  • 2 liters of water (81/2 cups)
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 1 medium sliced lemon
  • 1 medium peeled and thinly sliced cucumber
  • 12 small mint leaves

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You make a batch of the water each night and are suppose to drink it all over the course of the next day. This is the easy part as the water is pretty flavorful and I like it. Plus you can eat the cucumbers, which is fun.

And here are the things I’m not suppose to be munching on:

  • The saltshaker, salt-based seasonings, and highly processed foods
    Water is attracted to sodium, so when you take in higher than usual amounts of sodium, you’ll temporarily retain more fluid—which contributes to a sluggish feeling, a puffy appearance, and extra water weight.

  • Excess carbs
    As a backup energy source, your muscles store a type of carbohydrate called glycogen. Every gram of glycogen is stored with about 3 grams of water. But unless you’re running a marathon tomorrow, you don’t need all this stockpiled fuel. Decreasing your carbohydrate intake temporarily can train your body to access this stored fuel and burn it off. At the same time, you’ll be draining off all that excess stored fluid.
  • Bulky raw foods
    A half-cup serving of cooked carrots delivers the same nutrition as one cup raw, but it takes up less room in your GI tract. Eat only cooked vegetables, smaller portions of unsweetened dried fruit, and canned fruits in natural juice. This will allow you to meet your nutrient needs without expanding your GI tract with extra volume.
  • Gassy foods
    Certain foods simply create more gas in your GI tract. They include legumes, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, peppers, and citrus fruits.

  • Chewing gum
    You probably don’t realize this, but when you chew gum, you swallow air. All that air gets trapped in your GI tract and causes pressure, bloating, and belly expansion.

  • Sugar alcohols
    These sugar substitutes, which go by the names xylitol or maltitol, are often found in low-calorie or low-carb products because they taste sweet. Like fiber, your GI tract can’t absorb most of them. That’s good for your calorie bottom line, but not so good for your belly. Sugar alcohols cause gas, abdominal distention, bloating, and diarrhea.

  • Fried foods
    Fatty foods, especially the fried variety, are digested more slowly, causing you to feel heavy and bloated.

  • Spicy foods.
    Foods seasoned with black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, chili powder, hot sauces, onions, garlic, mustard, chili, barbecue sauce, horseradish, catsup, tomato sauce, or vinegar can all stimulate the release of stomach acid, which can cause irritation.
  • Carbonated drinks
    All those bubbles end up in your belly! Avoid these completely.

  • Alcohol, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and acidic fruit juices.
    Each of these high-acidic beverages can irritate your GI tract, causing swelling.

These make sense and weren’t too hard for me to follow, although I did have a large serving of broccoli when out to dinner one night and 2 pieces of gum over the course of the diet.

The meals are a bit harder because there is a limited amount of “bloat free” foods to choose from and you’re suppose to eat 4 – 300 calorie meals each day adding to mere 1200 calories daily. 1200 calories a day is the bare minimum and substantially less than what I eat on daily. If you eat anything less than 1,200 calories, you’re body will go into starvation mode and store fat rather than dispose of it.

Here are the formulas:

breakfast= 1 starch + 1 dairy + 1 fruit + 1/4 cup sunflower seeds + 1 glass of sass

lunch= 1 protein + 1 dairy + 1 veggie + 1 glass of sass

snack = 1 fruit smoothie

dinner = 1 veggie + 1 protein + 1 starch + 1 teaspoon olive oil (on veggie or starch)

There is a pretty short list of options for each of the components to choose from (4 starches, 2 dairy, 7 fruit, and 4 protein)

DAY 1

If you want to know what it’s like to follow this diet to a T I’m probably not the best person to ask because I made some substitutions as I felt necessary. For instance instead of going out and buying the suggested corn flakes, rice krispies or puffed wheat for the breakfast starch. I figured Kashi go lean was close enough.

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hey- it has puffed wheat in it. :) I put my 2 tablespoons of raisins (fruit) in the cereal for some added sweetness and texture.

This particular morning I didn’t have plain raw sunflower seeds but I did have a bit of trail mix that had a lot of raw sunflower seeds so I ate that instead.

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Along with a few cashews since I didn’t have quite a 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds.

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Breakfast held me over well and for the rest of the day I followed the plan exactly. I ended up having the fruit smoothie for lunch because I knew I wouldn’t be able to make a smoothie mid afternoon at work.

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1 cup frozen strawberries, 1 cup fat free milk, and ice.

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It was a pretty pink color and filling but nothing like the normal, more FLAVORFUL smoothies I enjoy on a regular basis.

By the time the mid-afternoon snack rolled around I was hangry. I feasted on grape tomatoes.

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String cheese and tofukery slices.

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This was an unusual snack for me, but tasty and filling nonetheless.

And for dinner I had an Amy’s Texas veggie burger, cooked carrots with tons of pepper, and roasted red potatoes.

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This meal was tasty and similar to something I might cook on my own only I would have choosen sweet potatoes or butternut squash rather than red potatoes if left to my own pretenses. But to be honest, the only thing I missed was my after dinner snack.

One nice thing I want to mention about the flat belly diet is that they do give substitutions (even for the restrictive jumpstart phase) for those who are vegetarian or vegan.

Day 2

I packed my Dylan Nalgene with some sass.

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Gotta love dylan, gotta hate how much Nalgenes sweat. The sweatiness has pretty much damaged my sticker.

For breakfast I had the exact same thing as DAY 1 only this time I had a full 1/4 cup of plain ol sunflower seeds. And for lunch I was decided to sway from the diet and had a piece of ezekiel toast but I did have tuna on it, which was diet friendly.

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Only you’re probably suppose to have plain canned tuna and I just wasn’t in the mood for something so plain. I had this Albacore Creations Tomato Pesto tuna. The nutrition facts weren’t bad at all and it was really good.

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These tuna packs are something I normally wouldn’t buy- but I wanted something easy and with more flavor so I picked these up while shopping for my anti-bloat friendly products. Both this flavor and another (Tuna Creations with herb and garlic) that I bought were really flavorful and I actually enjoyed eating them.

So after changing the diet to my liking for lunch I decided to follow suit and do the same for my snack. I brought some Okios Greek Yogurt (plain) and frozen berries to have at work. Yogurt isn’t one of the preferred dairy sources but I figured this cup has a similar amount of calories as 1 glass of fat free milk, plus I couldn’t make a smoothie at work.

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The berries thawed out just in the nick of time and the extra juice helped to sweeten the yogurt.

After work a friend and I drove out to some outlet stores nearby (Williamsburg, Va) and shopped until they closed! We had a good time but were starving by the time we left (9PM). We stopped at the first restaurant we saw- TGI Fridays. I hadn’t been to a TGI Fridays in years and I was amazed by the fact that there wasn’t one vegetarian option on this particular location’s menu (unless you count the fried green beans appetizer, which I don’t). Of course, I could have requested a dish minus the meat, but there were no strictly veggie meals! It amazed me that a chain restaurant such as Friday’s isn’t more up to date with the times. I eat seafood so there were some options for me but if I were strictly vegetarian I would have been extremely disappointed in their selection.

I ordered the the most “diet friendly” option, which wasn’t really flat belly friendly because neither shrimp or broccoli are foods you’re suppose to eat on the 4 day plan, however, the key west lime shrimp was the healthiest thing on the menu. It was on the “right portions, low carb menu” and consisted of 2 skewers of shrimp with steamed broccoli.

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This a photo from the web and rest assured that my dished didn’t look as good as it does here, plus I didn’t get any green beans. It was okay, but I was starving so I finished my plate clean. I won’t be going back to Fridays anytime soon- I now know why I hadn’t been in such a long time.

Day 3

Another day of sassy water, kashi go lean, raisins, and sunflower seeds, tuna, and carrots. And greek yogurt, only this time I had plain Chobani.

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For dinner I kept debating on whether I should stick with the diet and let all the produce I had in the fridge go to waste or if I should just eat what I wanted and use up my produce. I picked the latter and made a salad with romaine, onion, tomato, hummus, and a veggie burger.

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Although the only diet friendly items were the veggie burger and tomato, it didn’t make sense not to have what I wanted for dinner especially since it was healthy. It may not be flat belly jumpstart approved, but it’s EBF approved and it was tasty so I’m happy. I also may or may not have had a bowl of Kashi go lean CRUNCH for a snack and if I did indeed have that bowl it most definitely not approved for the diet, but it was DELICIOUS!

Day 4

As you could probably notice I was getting bored with the diet by Day 3. I made the sassy water last night with the intention of sticking out another day but then I realized it really didn’t make sense. Why stick with it when there are so many other healthy foods out there that aren’t boring and bland to stick to such a restrictive diet. I like having options when it comes time to eat and being confined to a list of less than 20 foods isn’t fun and isn’t something I can do for a long period time. This little experience only confirms my belief that restrictive diets DON’T work! You get frustrated and bored with the limited choices. On day 3 (yesterday) I was ready to eat anything in the office that wasn’t on the diet (even stuff that I normally wouldn’t eat), mainly out of feeling deprived- and I wasn’t even following the diet perfectly so I can only imagine how someone who was following it exactly would feel!

I think the regular part of the flat belly diet is definitely more reasonable, but I’m not planning to do the diet. I’ll use the cookbook and try out the recipes, as I love MUFAS just as much as the next food blogger, but I’m not limiting myself to specific foods.

If you’ve ever read my about page you’ll know that I lost 20lbs on my own my freshman year of college without any dieting- I simply ate healthier and started working out and it took a while, but it worked. This makes me a firm believer that if you want to lose weight you gotta do it the right way (slow and steady)- FAD diets don’t work! It’s funny that I know this is so true, but yet I still wanted to try this diet out. Like I mentioned before I have been at my current weight (plus or minus a few pounds) for about 7 years and I don’t think I’m meant to weigh any less. Even if I were to lose 5 pounds (which I have before) I would gain it back rather quickly and my body wouldn’t change that much so at this point I like to focus on eating things I like- food that tastes yummy and that is providing nutrients to my body. I like to work out because it’s fun and it makes me stronger. And this is exactly what Eating Bird Food is meant to be about! I’m healthy, active and my body allows me to do so many things- of course I have days when I think none of clothes look good on me and I wish my stomach was tighter or that I didn’t have cellulite but at this point I just want to be content with me. AKA, I’m officially over the flat belly diet!

Hopefully this post was informative for anyone thinking about trying the Flat Belly (Jump Start) or another restrictive fad diet- my advice is to stop considering it. Just start eating healthier and moving- you won’t feel deprived and you’ll be much happier. It might take a while to lose the weight but it’s worth it- I promise!

Oh yea, but I’ll be choosing the winner of the Flat Belly Cookbook giveaway next Friday, so everyone still has plenty of time to enter and like I said the cookbook looks to me as though it has some great recipes.

- Brittany

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Comments

  1. Glad to see that you are over the fad diet — I totally agree with you on restricting certain foods — not a good idea! Eat healthy/unprocessed foods + exercise regularly = better results than any fad diet ever could offer. And they won’t rebound back bc you will have hopefully changed your lifestyle permanently, not temporarily! :)

  2. Great job on the Flat Belly Diet, the days you could do. I don’t think I could do it. When someone says ”eat this, not that”, it’s hard for me to stick with that. I also agree that more exercise and portion control would be better than starving and restricting oneself.

  3. I loved reading this post. It is exactly what happens to most people who go on one of these diets – totally pumped and motivated the first couple days, then it gets boring and you rebound with things you wouldn’t have been eating in the first place!

    I tell myself this all the time when my weight creeps up a couple pounds: You eat more healthfully than like 90% of the population; if anyone doesn’t need a fad diet it’s you! It’s what I kept thinking as I was reading your post. If anyone doesn’t need a fad diet, it’s you!

  4. thanks for sharing your experience with this diet so far brittany! very interesting.. it would be hard for me to eat only 1200 cals! i like that you adjusted it to what works for you. i think the important role in any type of eating lifestyle is that it is manageable and do-able and it is actually possible to stick to!

  5. I can’t tell you how happy I am that you are finished with the Flat Belly diet. One of the reasons I love your blog is that you eat REAL food, exercise, and listen to your body and its needs. You eat healthy but aren’t afraid to indulge your cravings from time to time. I’m sure the book has some great recipes, and I can’t wait for you to share, but I think your previous approach is much better! You are proof that clean, healthy eating and consistent exercise works. I don’t know of one single person who went on a “fad diet,” lost 20 pounds and was able to maintain their weight-loss for 7 years.

    Keep up the great work!

  6. Wow, I loved hearing your thoughts on this. I totally agree – any time I try some new diet I just get frustrated and end up going crazy and eating a ton of stuff that I was deprived of. I was doing the raw diet about a month ago and it totally messed me up. I learned my lesson :P

  7. I think fad diets are generally problematic but that one did look a lot more balanced than many. But if it’s not realistic to the way you eat, it’s not ultimately helpful.

  8. i give you credit for sticking to the diet girl! like others have said, when i’m told not to eat something i tend to rebel! but as you know already all you gotta do is eat right and exercise and the rest just falls into place!

  9. LOVE your honesty B. I really don’t care for this type of approach. Once you add salt back in, bam, you retain water again. Why not just keep it real, right? I mean, that would be hard to maintain.

  10. Very informative post, Brittany. It’s cool that you gave it a go and shared your story and outlook with us. “… of course I have days when I think none of clothes look good on me and I wish my stomach was tighter or that I didn’t have cellulite but at this point I just want to be content with me.” What a wonderful sentence. I think you’ve got a great head on your shoulders and you know your body, listen to it, and respect it. You go, girl!

    XO

  11. I don’t want to sound presumptuous here, Brittany, but I have to say I’m THRILLED that you cut this plan off. I’m passionately opposed to fad diets and quickie cleanses and tune ups, and I think you’re so wise to walk away. You have good intuition, and it’s that, not water with lemon, that will help you find a place of balance. xoxo

  12. It’s so true, isn’t it, that fad diets are such a load of crap. Even when the “jump start” is only 4 days, that’s definitely long enough to have your frustrated & bored right there. Perhaps if you aren’t an adventuresome person, it would be easier to be limited to only a few food items for that time, but it doesn’t sound like fun to me.

    I bet that the “Sassy water” would make a great refreshing summer drink though, or at least a nice switch up from regular plain water every day.

  13. I realize this post is old, and I don’t want to be mean, but you are a quitter. It was 4 days and you started cheating on the first meal of day 1. You didn’t want to do it and that is why you didn’t. It wasn’t because food was being restricted, it wasn’t because you were bored, it was because you decided before you started to fail.
    While I agree that fad diets are not the solution I do feel that there are a lot of people who need to learn skills and techniques on how to eat healthy and diets such as these can help people become aware and pick up a few tips.

  14. Just wanna say I like the fact that you substituted for the Flat Belly Diet, but I also wanted to say that I did the Flat Belly Diet and followed almost precisely (only I substituted the deli meat for a cheaper one) and I continued following the meal plans for a few months and lost over 30 lbs and have kept it off! I must say that this is not just a fad diet but one that works whether you substitute or not. It all depends on the person and the level of commitment one has to lose weight. Anyone can do it on any healthy diet as long as they are committed and stick to it. Dieting is only temporary and you must change your lifestyle if you want to keep it off. With that said, happy weight loss to everyone and lets make it a great 2011!!

  15. I have to say I have to agree with Jane. I would have liked to see if the diet made a difference, not the fact that you couldn’t stick to it. While I agree that fad diets don’t work for the majority of people, I was interested by your title “Flat Belly Jumpstart – Does it work”. Well you didn’t answer the question. Does it work if you stick to it? I assume so, but I’ll have to look elsewhere for my answer.

  16. why did the diet require red potatoes at lunch instead of butternut squash or sweet potato? is it because they have less fiber?

  17. Sorry but the whole cooked vegetables are better than raw is a load of bullsh*t. Raw vegetables hold so much more nutrient content than cooked. When you cook food in general, it loses nutrients. It’s pretty much a golden rule.

  18. yeah, I’m with Crystal. I’ve been studying raw foods for quite some time, and cooking veggies definitely deflates their nutritional value. Makes me think this fad diet is a joke, oh yeah, I forgot, they all are.

  19. FYI There are some vegetables carrots for one, that have better nutrient value when cooked.

  20. I have allergies to gluten, dairy, red meat, and highly acidic foods (oranges-orange juice included, ANYTHING with tomatoes in it, pickles, etc) and that’s basically my every day diet. I don’t drink soda because I dont like it, and when I eat things with gluten my stomach bloats and stays that way for days. SO, as much as I understand tis being a fad diet for some, it’s a life style for me and I feel better than I ever have. I understand it’s different when you had bad reactions to the food, I just want to reiterate it IS possible and isn’t an outrageously restricted

  21. all of it looks so tasty! Amy’s burgers are my FAVORITE! so nice when dietic foods are tasty :D

  22. thank you eating bird!
    i want to try this asap!

  23. Those are some awesome foods and drinks. I personally love juicing fresh ginger or celery and either drinking it straight or putting it in soda water at night for a low calorie, appetite suppressing snack.

  24. I did the Flat Belly four day jumpstart. If you stick to it exactly, it does work. I lost five lbs. in four days without a step of exercise. You can pick up some good pointers on nutrition also. As every diet is not for every person, I did lose interest after a while. And the sassy water? I thought it was terrible. To me mint and ginger do not belong in water! Currently I am on weight watchers and exercising. There is not substitute for losing weight other than eat smart, eat less and move more.

  25. I am impressed anyone can go four days on any plan like this. I may just have an overactive palate, but take salt out of food and it’s practically inedible to me. I tried a cleanse a couple years ago and put dill and basil on EVERYTHING I ate. It still wasn’t enough. I understand that salt holds onto water but just a LITTLE bit can’t really have that big of an impact right? Sassy water sounds amazing though and I might try this with the new herbs and spices I bought in order to experiment with less salt.

  26. Elaine Williams says:

    I wanted to share that I did do the Jump Start and followed-up with the Flat Belly Diet. Although I did not have a lot of weight to loose I was 160lbs and turning 45. I wanted to be back at my normal 126lbs. The four day Jump Start was hard to stick to, but in the first four days I could fell my jeans were looser, and my belly was flatter.
    I did not weigh myself this first few days so I am not sure what weight I started at. I began to feel better, and a couple of weeks into the diet I began to go out walking, and found engery to begin working out.
    At the time I would eat lots of red meat, and pasta. Now almost 2 years later I am a vegatairan, and I have kept off the weight. I use no added salt, eat whole gran foods, and lots of fish.
    I would say that the Flat Belly Diet for me was a learning tool. I eat better and feel better at 47 than I did in my 30′s. If you are willing to trade off and eat more helathy nothing says you can’t indulge now and then. The key is to lean how to balance your meals, excercise, and to not beat yourself up if you happen to indulge in a favoriate meal or snack.

  27. Very interesting flat belly jumpstart diet, Brittany. I think I can’t stand with the diet like this but I surely gonna try this sassy water. Thanks for sharing this info.

  28. I’m sure this has been said before, by Jane and other people, but I am reiterating it. This diet is not a fad diet. It’s, except for the first four days, a Mediterranean diet and it DOES work. While I commend you for trying something new, you should have stuck with it (without cheating) at least for the first four days and then seen where it got you. You made the options sound drastically horrible when really, they aren’t that bad, there are actually quite a few choices, even for the Jumpstart. I think that you should have followed it through. I understand that it was just a learning thing for you, to see what it was like, but I do not think you should have made it out to be ‘just another fad diet’.

  29. Annette says:

    I tried this diet and i can say it does work you have got to stick to the diet plan and the sassy water. I was 219lbs and now im at 198lbs. I also did 20 min walk after each meal and some Taebo/Billy Blanks. I hope this motivate you all.

  30. My family members every time say that I am killing my time here at
    web, except I know I am getting know-how everyday by reading such
    good content.

  31. Cass Clarke says:

    I’m doing the jump start, starting tomorrow and am grateful for all the feedback. It confirms that this is exactly what I need. A jump start. I’ve never had a weight problem, but after lung cancer, now cured, quitting smoking and being on prednisone I went from 150 lbs to 200 lbs. It’s a burden I can’t bear anymore, so I needed something to kick me into gear again. I’ll keep you all posted.

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