How to Keep the Weight off Forever
If you’re heading toward the finish line on my Bone Broth Diet or 10-Day Belly Slimdown, congratulations! You now have all the tools you need to take back control of your eating habits, your weight, and ultimately your health.
However, I know that once you reach your goal, there’s still more work to do:
keeping those extra pounds off for life.
The secret to doing this is to SUPERCHARGE your health by building a better body, cell by cell. This will give you almost effortless control over your weight.
Building a better body cell-by-cell means that you’re going to eat with the primary purpose of fueling your cells with the most nutritious foods and eliminating the most toxic foods. When you do this, your body will no longer need to struggle to nourish and protect your cells.
My mantra is: nutrients in, toxins out.
Luckily, you can now add in (over time, and in moderation) some of the foods I asked you to remove on the Bone Broth Diet or the 10-Day Belly Slimdown. Here are some of my super-nutritious favorites:
- Fruits like apples, pears, pineapples, and bananas (usually only half a banana at a time)
- Black beans and lentils
- Sprouted grains
- Grass-fed, full-fat dairy
- Root vegetables like butternut and spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and beets
- Kombucha (Kevita’s is my favorite brand) and coconut-milk kefir
Of course, as you add in new foods, keep drinking your bone broth and taking your collagen supplements! These will help you stay slim, heal your gut, and give you that wonderful bonus of beautiful skin.
A Closer Look at my 80/20 Plan
You’ve heard me talk about the 80/20 plan and my SLIM Belly Forever Plan, which is based on the 80/20 principle. Now, I want to tell you a little bit more about how 80/20 works.
The 80/20 plan allows you some “personal play” while still keeping you slim and healthy. On this plan, at least 80% of your diet will be comprised of healthy, low-carb foods—the same foods you ate on the Bone Broth Diet or the 10-Day Belly Slimdown—while up to 20% can come from higher-carbohydrate or “not-so-healthy” foods.
For some people, 80/20 means having a total “cheat” day once a week. For others, it means adding dairy back in. For still others, it means eating more carbohydrates than they would on a plan aimed at weight loss.
One big caution, however: 80/20 doesn’t mean going back to the way you used to eat. Think about the consequences of that way of eating: a big belly and an unhealthy body. (Who wants to go back to that?) Instead, 80/20 means continuing your new healthy eating habits, exercising, and doing stress-reducing activities, while sprinkling a little “fairy dust” on your diet.
How Does 80/20 Compare to the Bone Broth Diet or the 10-Day Belly Slimdown?
The foundation of your 80/20 lifestyle is the same as the foundation for the Bone Broth Diet and the 10-Day Belly Slimdown. This means that 80% of your diet will be made up of the Yes foods on these diets, while the other 20% will be up to you (that’s your personal play). Here are my general guidelines.
You should still be eating:
- Clean proteins
- Healthy fats
- Unlimited non-starchy vegetables
- Low-glycemic berries
- Bone broth and collagen
- Fermented foods
You should still be intermittent fasting:
Shortened eating window (16 to 17 hours) and/or two 24- to 36-hour intermittent fasts a week.
You should still eliminate:
- Some grains
- Soy (unfermented)
- Artificial sweeteners
- Possibly dairy
You should eat these “maybe” foods only in moderation:
- Added sugar
- Legumes: beans, lentils, peanuts
- Fermented soy
- Starchy vegetables: root vegetables, winter squash
- High-glycemic fruits
You should eat these inflammatory foods only very rarely:
Processed and packaged foods—chips, cookies, crackers, cakes, pies, ice cream, etc.
Fast food and convenient take-out—pizza, Chinese, McDonald’s, Subway, etc.
Liquid sugar—juice, soda, sugary lattes and frappes, etc.
Let’s Talk About “Maybe” Foods
There are simple tricks for adding “maybe” foods back into your life while still staying slim and healthy. Here’s a look at how to do it.
Reintroducing “maybe” foods
Doing either one of my diets gave your body a break from inflammatory foods. Most likely, you’re feeling much better and are pounds lighter. Now is the perfect time to evaluate how your body reacts to foods that can cause inflammation.
To do this, introduce one of the following foods at time:
- Gluten-containing grains
- Other grains
Give yourself three to seven days to gauge how your body reacts before you add another food back into your diet. Pay particular attention to your skin, your joints, your digestion, and of course any weight gain. If you add everything back in at once, you’ll never know if dairy bloats you or gluten makes your joints ache.
Making the right choices about grains
My message has always been anti-gluten and mostly anti-grain, and here’s why. Our modern- day farming and processing of grains has turned most grains, and especially wheat, into anti-nutrient, sugar-spiking, processed foods. The breads and pastas on the shelves these days are nothing like the breads that our early ancestors or even our grandparents ate.
When I’m dealing with a patient who is overweight and more often than not dealing with blood sugar issues, out-of-control sugar cravings, and an inflamed, leaky gut, I know there is no room in that person’s diet for gluten or grains. The best protocol is to remove grains completely—literally take them off the table—so we can get down to the business of reversing all the damage they have done.
Deciding if and when to add grains back into your diet after you’ve healed your gut and lost the weight is a tough one. That’s because most people don’t know how to put the brakes on when it comes to their favorite comfort foods—breads, pasta, cookies, cake, and so on. Frequently, it’s an all-or-nothing thing. And that is why I recommend grains be avoided.
But I’ll be honest. Even I like to have something a little off-plan now and then—and while I mainly stick to non-GMO corn tortillas or an occasional slice of Ezekiel bread, I know some people want more options than that. So if you’re going to venture back into the world of grains, like barely, rice, rye, spelt, etc., I recommend sticking to organic, non-GMO grains and—even better—choosing grains that are ancient, sprouted, and/or fermented.
Adding more carbohydrates
At first, it’s smart to calculate your carb intake. (You can find free carb-counters online.) After a while, you’ll be able to “eyeball” what a good portion of carbs is for you.
Approximately 100 grams of carbohydrates a day, spread out over the day, should keep your weight in check. However, everyone is different. Some people can eat up to 150 grams of carbs a day, while others might need to stay a little under 100. Be careful to not go over 150 grams or bit by bit, pound by pound, you’re likely to gain the weight back.
Slowly increase your carbohydrate intake until you figure out what your upper limit is. Start at 50 carbohydrates per day for one week. If you don’t gain weight, then eat 60 to 75 carbs per day during the next week. Continue this until you feel satisfied with your daily carbohydrate intake or you start to gain weight. If the pounds start coming back on, go back to the previous week’s amount.
Remember, too, that the quality of the carbohydrates you eat makes a huge difference. If you eat 50 carbohydrates in the form of bread or pasta, it will spike your blood sugar and insulin more than 50 carbohydrates of legumes or starchy veggies will.
Saying “no” to grazing
One of the biggest keys to long-term weight loss is to break the grazing habit. The time you spend NOT eating is as crucial as the time you spend eating, because food-free time allows your body to rest, heal, and digest your food. And remember: You can’t burn fat when your blood glucose is high and your body is still circulating insulin to deal with a meal you ate a few hours ago. If you’re tempted to graze during the day or after dinner, enjoy a mug of bone broth instead.
Staying smart about portions
Never, ever look at any food as free (well, except leafy greens). Even healthy fats like nuts and seeds need to be consumed in moderation. I know it can be hard to resist that extra handful of cashews, but portion control truly is one of the biggest secrets for “forever” weight loss!
A Word About Drinks
Now that I’ve talked about food, I want to take a quick look at some beverages you can enjoy on the 80/20 plan. Here are the ones people ask me about most.
I’ll be honest: I love a good cocktail. Give me my potato vodka with a squeeze of lime and some soda water, and I am a happy girl.
However, I know that each alcoholic drink comes with a price. When you consume alcohol, your body processes it first—so as long as that alcohol is still in your system, all fat burning shuts down. That’s a good reason to make alcohol an occasional treat on the 80/20 plan, not a regular habit.
Kombucha and Kefir
If you love kombucha and kefir, you’ll be happy to know that you can start adding them back into your diet. However, be careful how much you drink. Stick to no more than eight ounces at a time, and be sure to include the carbs in these drinks when calculating your daily carb intake. As great as these drinks are, they are definitely not “free carbs.”
Now… Go Enjoy!
Now that you’re a pro when it comes to the 80/20 plan, you’ll be ready to switch to it as soon as you’re reached your weight-loss goal. I recommend making a seamless transition, so you don’t fall back into your old eating habits.
Besides, I think you’re going to love this plan MORE than your old way of eating, because you can enjoy the foods you love and still keep the slim, beautiful belly you worked so hard to get. It’s like having your cake and (occasionally) eating it too!
Keep thinking big and living BOLD!