5 IN. 5 OUT. Your Simple Guide to Flat Abs.
As the weather starts to warm up, the pressure to be in a bikini is just around the corner, especially if you live in a city like LA. Last weekend I was out at the beach on a fluke 80 degree Sunday. Fortunately, I felt comfortable in my body, knowing that I had stayed consistent on exercise and followed my personal 80/20 rule with my eating habits:
80% of the time I’m good. 20% of the time I’m “bad”
I also only eat until I’m 80% full and leave 20% room for digestion.
The only problem I had at the beach was my white – white – white legs! Can’t wait for a few sessions under the sun. Or even better, if you have a tinted cream that is non-toxic, please share it here in the comments!
If you are working out 5x a week or more, but still not seeing a visible difference in your lower belly, then this 5 Things In. 5 Things Out Guide is perfect for you.
In general hate the word diet, because it implies that it’s short-term. Every time you eat food, it has an emotional and physical effect on your mind, body and soul. Think of your health and wellness as a priority and lifestyle and make sure whatever you take on works for you – not what someone thinks will work for you… Make sense?
So let’s be clear, this is not a diet - this is a guide to a healthy thriving life in and out of a bikini.
Let’s first start on what we can bring into our routine.
1. DARK LEAFY GREENS
Think spinach, kale, dandelion and swiss chard. These super greens are packed with phytonutrients that help flush the body of free-radicals and other environmental stressors. They also help keep estrogen levels low, which help lean out the hips and thighs in addition to aiding with menstrual cramps. PLUS, these greens are high in iron and can help stabilize blood sugar levels and energy.
2. SALMON, MACKEREL, SARDINES, COD
All of these fish are high in protein and SUPER high in Omega3 fats that do so many wonderful things like: reduce inflammation, improve cognitive thinking, facilitate absorption of other nutrients, improve overall skin and digestion.
For my vegetarian and vegan friends, you can take an Omega3 supplement with DHA, or check out Summer’s Favorite Fats for more info.
3. GREEN TEA
Hello green tea. Goodbye coffee. I know, how hard it is to break away from coffee. Coffee is kind of my ride or die. It can be helpful, but is ultimately a strain on the adrenal glands and can lead to excess cortisol production in the gut.
Green Tea improves digestion, metabolism, and regulates blood glucose levels which provide sustained energy levels (no crashing) and converts stored carbohydrates into energy instead of fat. Yes, it really does this! Go for 2-3 mugs a day served hot or cold, with no added milk, sugar or other sweeteners.
4. START WITH CITRUS
Ask most models, and they’ll tell you they’ve swapped their morning coffee for a cup of hot-water with lemon. This easy daily cup-of-health not only provides a kick of vitamin C, but it alkalizes the body first thing in the morning. When the body is in an alkaline state, it will be less likely to crave sugar and carbs. You can also use lemon, lime or grapefruit to spice up a salad, protein or soup. The citrus topping will help metabolize the food faster in the body.
This could be the most important item to add to your flat-ab agenda. Aim for 7-8 hours of shuteye a night. More sleep is basically more time to for your body and mind to heal, restore, take inventory, remove toxins and reduce inflammation.
You can read more about the importance of sleep in my Invest in Rest article.
So now that you have 5 great habits to add to your daily routine, let’s talk about 5 things you can let go – to simply make more room for the good stuff.
1. REMOVE UNFERMENTED DAIRY + SOY
I like to remove dairy in general, but we all have different body compositions and some can metabolize dairy fairly easy. I cannot – so I’ll leave that up to you. Try to eliminate the following:
milk, soy milk, store-bought almond milk, cheese + tofu - if it’s in a package don’t consume it. You can try my almond milk recipe here.
2. REMOVE ALCOHOL + BUBBLY DRINKS
Alcohol is fun, but very inflammatory and leads to excess cortisol around the waist, and hips. Plus, alcoholic drinks contain heaps of sugar, which off-set your body’s blood sugar and can lead to unhealthy food choices later like carbs and sweets. Drunchies are a real thing and can take away inhibitions. It’s best to avoid it all together.
All of the those bubbly drinks need to go too – sorry. Any air that hits your stomach will cause it to puff up. No sparkling water, no soda, no Kombucha, not even gum (same effect as swallowing air).
3. REMOVE ALL FORMS OF SUGAR
Remove added sweeteners like sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar. Also avoid “healthy” snacks and beverages chocked full of sugar like Kombucha, protein bars, smoothies and juices with heaps of fruit. Your goal is keep your daily sugar intake to a minimum – if you have to buy something processed, like a quick bar make sure it has LESS than 5 grams of sugar per serving. That’s usually a good standard.
Quick Tip – Berries contain lower amounts of sugar than other fruit; however, at the beginning of your flat-ab journey try eliminating all fruit. Then gently reintroduce berries and see how your taste-buds react. You might be surprised how sweet and satisfying a small amount can be.
Completely avoid bananas, mangos, kiwis, and other fruits.
4. REMOVE COFFEE
I know this is hard, but just try it. Just for a week. The negative effects of coffee are directly seen on the lower tummy and perhaps mentally. If the coffee caffeine high gives you a buzz or makes you feel jittery, you should probably give it a rest. Reason being is that it increases inflammation in the body and cortisol production.
Remember you can add in Green Tea here to help with the transition. It won’t feel good at first, but will ultimately give you longer more consistent levels of energy and vitality.
5. REMOVE LATE NIGHTS
Try calming your mind by 9pm. Put away the phone and computer and allow yourself to detox from technology a bit. Use this time to dim the lights in the house and let your body gradually find it’s proper circadian rhythms. Consistently going to bed around 10-11 (no later) allows the body plenty of time to heal and create metabolic hormones, which aid in muscle growth, and memory development.
Again, check out my Invest in Rest article for more info on the importance of sleep.
I realize this is a lot to digest so feel free to leave a comment below with questions, or reach out to me personally. I’m not perfect and have my own battles, so I know that this list is not the easiest. Just know you’re not alone. I’m here for support and to provide options if you need.
My suggestion would be to try this for just 1 week and see how you feel. Then assess how you’re feeling and adjust or add more from there.
Sending you a hot cup of tea with love!