“It’s not working. I just can’t lose weight.”
My friend Tammy was trying to stick to the age old adage: eat breakfast every morning and you’ll melt fat. Problem was, Tammy hates breakfast. She’s just not hungry in the morning, and is too busy to boot. She’ll have a bite of bacon and eggs, or a bowl of cereal—and then hit the road.
“Then comes 10 a.m. I just can’t say no to a jelly donut,” she says. “Or three. I’m a mess; I have no discipline.”
Discipline isn’t Tammy’s problem. Tammy just needed to think outside the cereal box.
“Have you tried a protein shake in the morning?” I asked her. “Sometimes it’s easier to drink your breakfast.” I texted her a recipe for a breakfast smoothie to try, one that actually tastes like a raspberry donut, chocolate glazed.
The next morning she texted me back. “Yum”—followed by 10 heart emoticons. And then: “Got any more?”
In fact, I have 100 more. My new book Zero Belly Smoothies, out today, is filled with recipes that have a deliciously creamy non-dairy base, healthy fats, and the fat-blasting plant power of vegetarian protein and nut butters—I call it “90-second nutrition.”—all for under 300 calories each. By drinking Zero Belly Smoothies, Tammy lost 16 pounds in 14 days. And in this exclusive excerpt for MSN readers, you’ll discover 8 ways to take a break from your normal routine—and lose weight before noon!
ZERO BELLY SMOOTHIES RULE #1
Press a Button
If Tammy’s too busy for breakfast, she’s certainly too busy to exercise. But she can still lose weight—with Zero Belly Smoothies. In a 2012 study in Current Nutrition and Food Science, researchers put a group of obese adults on a regimen in which they replaced breakfast and dinner with a high-protein smoothie. That was all: no exercise, no limit on what else they could eat. After 12 weeks, the subjects lost up to 18.5 pounds and reported significant improvements in “physical functioning, general health, vitality and mental health.” Another report proves it: a high-protein diet featuring meal-replacement drinks is more effective than exercise at helping people lose weight and keep it off, according to a 2013 meta-analysis of 20 studies in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Bob McMicken, 51, lost 6 inches off his waist and 24 pounds in six weeks drinking Zero Belly Smoothies. “The plan was spelled out, the drinks were tasty,” he told me, “and I didn’t even need to participate in exercise!” To discover more about how Bob did it, click here to read my special report: 14 Ways to Lose Your Belly in 14 Days!
ZERO BELLY SMOOTHIES RULE #2
Unleash Plant Power Proteins
You’ve probably been hearing a lot about “plant power”—and for good reason. Studies are showing that plant-based protein powders are a low-sugar, high-fiber alternative to popular dairy-based supplements. I guzzled whey shakes for years and was astonished by how much lighter and leaner I felt when switching to a plant-based blend. That’s why Zero Belly Smoothies are all made with vegetarian plant proteins. A study by the University of Tampa that compared plant protein with whey found it to be equally as effective at changing body composition and boosting muscle recovery and growth. But with less sugar and a healthier fat profile, plant-based proteins will also improve your gut health at the same time as they’re fueling your muscles!
ZERO BELLY SMOOTHIES RULE #3
Muscle Up Your First Meal
The vegetarian protein powder is perhaps the most essential ingredient in a Zero Belly Smoothie. A recent study in The FASEB Journal showed that when high-protein breakfasts help maintain blood sugar and insulin levels far better than lower-protein or no-protein meals. Big spikes and dips in blood sugar are bad news for weight loss, as the disruptions shift the body from a fat-burning to a fat-storing state. Each Zero Belly Smoothie has about 20 grams of protein. “Unlike a fad diet that you do once and stop, it’s a lifestyle that’s easy to make your own,” said Zero Belly test panelist Jenni Joshi. In four weeks, she lost 11 pounds, with help from the smoothies. If you struggle with weight gain and quick-fix diet plans, click here to discover the The 30 Reasons Why You’re Getting Fat.
ZERO BELLY SMOOTHIES RULE #4
Experiment with Flavors
After I gave her a copy of Zero Belly Smoothies, Tammy started experimenting with her own recipes, using the book’s easy “smoothie matrix” to make her own mixes. The protein from the almond milk and the fats from the crushed walnuts kept her from becoming ravenous at 10 a.m. The blended bananas and fruit added just the right amount of sweetness to keep her sipping. In less than a week, she lost 7 pounds—no doubt from cutting out the late morning baked goods and the subsequent blood sugar drop that sent her rushing out the door at noon for lunch, often pasta. I know these smoothies will work for you, and fast, because I’ve seen them work for so many others. Consider the case of Fred Sparks. A 39-year-old emergency-response adviser from Katy, Texas, Fred drank Zero Belly Smoothies as part of his weight-loss program. “I noticed results in the first week,” he says. “It really was amazing.” Fred lost 21 pounds and 5 inches off his waist over the next six weeks.
ZERO BELLY SMOOTHIES RULE #5
Swap Coffee with Tea
The coffee machine may be your favorite coworker, but there’s a caffeinated beverage that’s matcha better for weight loss: green tea—more specifically, matcha. Research shows the concentration of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in matcha—a Japanese green-tea powder—to be 137 times greater than the amount you’ll find in most store-bought green tea. EGCG is a dieter’s best friend; studies have shown the compound can simultaneously boost lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and block adipogenesis (the formation of fat cells) particularly in the belly. One study found men who drank green tea containing 136 mg EGCG—what you’ll find in a single 4 gram serving of matcha—lost twice as much weight than a placebo group, and four times as much visceral (belly) fat over the course of 3 months. That’s why I concocted a Zero Belly Smoothie with spiky matcha, creamy avocado, mint and vanilla—yum! (For added belly-blasting benefits, brew yourself one of The 20 Best Teas for Weight Loss.)
ZERO BELLY SMOOTHIES RULE #6
Drink at Brunch
How can Sunday’s lazy-morning routine keep you slim? No, it’s not the cartoons. It’s the shift in your eating habits to later in the day. Nighttime fasting—or simply eating breakfast later than normal to reduce your “eating window"—may boost your body’s ability to burn fat as energy, according to a study in the journal Cell Metabolism. Researchers put groups of mice on a high-fat, high-calorie diet for 100 days. Half the mice were allowed to nibble throughout the night and day on a healthy, controlled diet, while the others only had access to food for eight hours, but could eat whatever they wanted. The result of the 16-hour food ban? The fasting mice stayed lean, while the mice who noshed ‘round the clock became obese—even though both groups consumed the same amount of calories. Some fasting protocols are more aggressive than others, but 12 hours without food is enough for most people to enter into a fasted state, according to some experts. So make every day Sunday Funday and drink your Zero Belly Smoothie around 10am. Your skinny jeans will thank you.
ZERO BELLY SMOOTHIES RULE #7
Set Your Alarm Clock Earlier
The early bird may catch the worms, but he doesn’t overeat them. Or so suggests a recent study from Northwestern Medicine that found late sleepers—those who woke at about 10:45 a.m.—consumed 248 more calories a day, ate half as many fruits and vegetables and twice the fast food of those who set the alarm clock earlier. A second study by researchers from the Roehampton University found that ‘morning people’—those who leap out of bed at 6:58 a.m., were generally healthier, thinner and happier than the night owls, who start their day at 8:54 a.m.. Coax yourself into waking up early by gradually setting your smartphone’s alarm clock 15 minutes earlier every week, and wake up to a slimmer you.
ZERO BELLY SMOOTHIES RULE #8
One of the benefits of Zero Belly Smoothies—besides the delicious taste—is that they’ll help you stave off a mid-morning snack. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that mid-morning snackers tend to eat more throughout the day than afternoon snackers. Researchers found that dieters with the mid-morning munchies lost an average of 7 percent of their total body weight while those who did not snack before lunch lost more than 11 percent of their body weight. That’s a difference of nearly six and a half pounds for a 160-pound woman with a weight loss goal. Moreover, afternoon snacking was associated with a slightly higher intake of filling-fiber and fruits and vegetables. So nix “elevenses” as our British friends refer to the mid-morning snacks, and sip your way slim. “The first week, I lost 7 pounds,” said Matt Brunner, 43, who lost 20 pounds and four inches off his waist in six weeks. “My ‘skinny’ clothes all look good again!”
BONUS! ZERO BELLY SMOOTHIE RECIPE!
Raspberry Walnut Cake
Here’s the Zero Belly Smoothie Tammy loved so much. And for good reason: No fruit carries the fiber punch of raspberries. They grow wild along the driveway of my house in Long Island, and friends’ children will often collect a big bucket in early July. Otherwise, I opt for the frozen variety, which are nutritionally superior to most of what you’ll find in the produce section of your supermarket. For a second free recipe, click here for the Best Weight-Loss Smoothie Ever.
1⁄3 cup frozen raspberries
1⁄2 frozen banana
1 tablespoon walnuts
1⁄2 cup unsweetened almond milk
Water to blend (optional but recommended here)
For topping: 1 piece of dark chocolate, grated
After blending, grate dark chocolate on top of smoothie and serve.
285 calories, 7 g fat, 26 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 30 g protein