Morgan Minor was fed up.
The 24-year-old firefighter from Coalinga, California had been gaining weight steadily for several years, and by June 2014 she hit 196 pounds. She didn’t like the way she looked, and she didn’t like the way the extra weight made her feel, especially on the job--where her fitness could literally make the difference between life and death. “I was gaining weight like crazy, and I decided I was tired of it and it was time to make a change,” Morgan told us. “So I started exercising.”
Adopting a serious fitness regimen made a huge difference—within 9 months she’d gotten down to a healthy 160. But then her weight-loss plateaued, and she realized that exercise alone wasn’t going to get her to her goals. “I started looking for a good diet to incorporate with my workouts to get this last bit of stubborn flab off.” Then she found Zero Belly Diet, and the speed with which she lost the last 11 pounds—and uncovered her abs—astonished her.
Within a week she had dropped 7 pounds, and after just 21 days, a sculpted stomach emerged—Morgan had shed four inches off her waist. “I had plateaued at 160 for over a month, and Zero Belly helped me lose more than ten pounds in 3 weeks!”
Here are her secrets—and how you can sculpt your stomach and unveil your abs in just 21 days!
Stop Feeling Hungry. The first thing Morgan noticed was that on Zero Belly, she didn’t have to feel hungry all the time. “I don’t feel like I’m dieting,” she said, even as she was losing a pound a day in the first week. The reason: eating the right foods controls hunger. In fact, researchers have found that a diet high in unhealthy fats modified the way leptin--the “satiety” hormone that’s produced by our fat cells--behaves inside the body. Other studies have shown that our fat-storage genes are turned “on” by inflammation—and sugar and unhealthy fats are the biggest culprits. But you can reduce inflammation (and hunger) and shed flab by eating more of the right foods: Red fruits, leafy greens and colorful vegetables, high-fiber carbs and healthy fats and proteins—three meals a day, plus a snack. And especially, by having a Zero Belly Drink each day. For the full list, click here for these essential The 9 Best Flat Belly Superfoods.
Drink Some Plants. Morgan enjoyed a plant-based protein smoothie each day. “My favorite was the Peanut Butter Cup,” she says—a drink so decadent it feels like you’re having dessert for brunch. Simple recipe: Blend 1 scoop vegetarian protein powder, ½ frozen banana, ½ Tbsp peanut butter, 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, and ½ cup unsweetened nondairy milk. The result gives you 6 g healthy fat, 5 g fiber and a whopping 30 g protein for just 258 calories.
The magic melting power of this drink comes from the plant protein: In a 2015 study in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation, researchers discovered that patients who ingested higher amounts of vegetable protein were far less susceptible to metabolic syndrome (a combination of high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and obesity). That means that supplementing with vegan protein powder is one of the best ways to keep extra weight at bay. A second study in Nutrition Journal found that “plant protein intakes may play a role in preventing obesity.” Lose weight in minutes by blending some into The Best Weight-Loss Smoothie Recipe Ever!
Start Your Day Starchy. Say the word “starch” to most diet gurus and their heads will start to spin. But Morgan relied on the convenience and belly-filling power of this simple breakfast recipe of sweet potatoes and black beans—both of which pack the dish with resistant starch, one of the big buzz terms in nutrition right now.
That’s because resistant starch has great metabolism-boosting properties—in fact, it hits both ends of the metabolism spectrum, slowing down your digestive process (thereby controlling blood sugar) while also forcing your body to burn more calories during the digestion process. But resistant starch has another awesome Zero Belly property: it feeds your “good” belly bacteria. According to a 2015 study in the Journal of Functional Foods, when you eat resistant starch, your gut biome gets stronger—healthy bacteria literally get a workout digesting the healthy starch, becoming more dominant and leading to a healthier gut. Here’s the recipe that made Morgan’s belly happy every morning—and got it to respond with abs
HASH IT OUT
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into ¼” cubes
½ tbsp olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
½ cup black beans, drained and rinsed
⅛ tsp cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
Microwave cubed potatoes for 5 minutes until slightly soft. Heat half the oil in a large nonstick skillet and add the potato, onion, and bell pepper; saute until they begin to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the beans, along with the cayenne, salt, and pepper, and stir until warmed through. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, fry the eggs sunny-side up in the remaining oil. Divide the hash among four plates, top with eggs, and serve.
187 calories, 8 g fat, 5 g fiber, 10 g protein
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