Learn How to Flatten Your Belly

A new book offers advice on how to slim your midsection.

ByABC News via logo
January 1, 2008, 10:33 AM

Jan. 2, 2008 — -- If you're like thousands of other Americans, one of your New Year's resolutions likely had something to do with getting in shape. Dreams of toned and flat bellies don't have to remain just dreams, though.

A new book claims it can give you the keys to a flat and envied midsection. Prevention editor in chief Liz Vaccariello and Prevention nutrition editor Cynthia Sass have written "Flat Belly Diet!" Find out more about the book at www.flatbellydiet.com.

You can get more health, diet and fitness tips at www.prevention.com.

Read an excerpt of the "Flat Belly Diet!" book below.

It doesn't matter what your personal stumbling blocks are: baby weight,killer cravings, or (say it with me) "getting older." Belly fat is not yourdestiny. I am delighted to tell you that you can, and will, get rid of it.Prevention has found a way to target belly fat that is healthy, real, longlasting,and works for everyone.

Before we get started, I think it's important to do a "gut check."Chances are, if you've plunked down cold, hard cash for a book calledFlat Belly Diet, you may wish you had someone else's belly, or wish youhad your own bellyfrom 20 years ago.

I want to ask you to change your thinking. Be kind to your belly. Nomatter how flat or round, jiggly or rock-hard—it's yours, and it's powerful.It's probably the center of some of your most profound memories.Think about it . . . the laughter you've shared, the romantic dinners you'vehad, the butterflies you've felt, the children you may have carried. Allthese set up house inyesyour belly. And for that, it deserves yourrespect. Your appreciation. And more than a little love and kindness . . .even when you're struggling to button your jeans.

How do I feel about my belly?

I consider it my core strength, and I love to feel it move, twist, supportme as I go through life's business. It's where food (one of life'sgreatest pleasures, yes?) touches down, and there are few things aspeaceful for me as that not-stuffed-not-hungry-but-just-full feeling. It'salso my meditative center, and I sense the calm overtaking me when Ifill my middle with deep breaths. Then, of course, there's the role itplayed in my pregnancy with twins. Anything willing to expand to hosttwo precious, growing, kicking girls earns a special place in my heartfor all time.

But the belly betrays. If I'm puffy the morning after a sushi dinner,that's where my outfit feels tight. If PMS strikes, my belly moans andgroans. When I gain five pounds, that's where it shows. And, of course,when I go to take those five pounds off, that's where they stay.

One of the best things about being editor-in-chief of Prevention ishearing from all of you and learning—clearly and quickly—that I am notalone in my love/hate affair with this fascinating, troublesome part of thebody. Many of you have told me that when look at yourself in the mirror,you overlook your familiar, beautiful features, the favorite nuances ofyour physique. Instead, your eye travels directly to the areas where yourfat resides. And for most of us, that's the belly.

For countless reasons that I will outline throughout this book, the bellystarts letting us down around age 40. Sometime between our 35th and55th birthdays (some earlier, some later and some, God willing, never) thebelly pooches, puffs, and starts spilling over our waistbands. First we suckit in, yet it refuses to achieve its formerly flat shape. Then we crunch untilour necks scream, while the fat over the sculpted abs muscles remains.And eventually we diet, then watch with frustration as the weight disappearsfrom our breasts and our faces and the belly fat stays put. Eventually,belly fat starts to feel like our destiny—something that even hours onthe treadmill or the strictest diet in the world won't budge. . . .

Until now.

Here's another great thing about heading up a brand like Prevention. Ihave deep relationships with the best experts in every area of health, fitness,and nutrition, and it's my job to look for solutions to the health challengesthat my readers struggle with most. (Bonusthat help me too!)And that's exactly what I've done.

The Flat Belly Diet is:

A Four-Day Anti-Bloat Jumpstart, with
A daily dose of Sassy Water and
A Mind Trick at every meal plus
A Four-Week Eating Plan, comprised of
Three 400-calorie meals a day of your choice and
One 400-calorie Snack Pack of your choice and
One daily Core Confidence reflection
An Optional Exercise Program, plus
The foundation for a way of life you can continue for

Throughout this book, look for the boxes titled Did You Know? andFast Facts to learn more about fat, weight loss, and general health. Theseare quick tips, strategies, and bits of information that experts and readerstell me are useful. And don't forget to read the entries titled Notes fromOur Nutritionist. These are written by Cynthia directly to you, sharing herown thoughts and advice about how to achieve success on this amazingprogram. You'll also find incredible success stories from the women (andmen) who participated in our Flat Belly Diet test paneland have a flatterbelly to prove it!

I hope that by the time you finish reading this book and followingthis plan, you will have fallen in love with good, healthy food . . . andyour belly. If there's one thing I realized when I turned 40, it was thatmaintaining a healthy mind and body were the absolute most importantthings I could do for myselfand my family. I wish that for all of us.

"Flat Belly Diet!" (Rodale Inc., January 2008)
by Liz Vaccariello, Prevention editor in chief, with Cynthia Sass, Prevention nutrition director, MPH, RD