The difference between feeling model-esque, not cinched, in your Balmain body-con dress may be just a few pounds—of water. “You can retain up to five pounds of extra fluid,” says Jeffrey Morrison, a physician and founder of the Morrison Center in New York, who suggests sipping water-eliminating teas like dandelion or fennel two or three times a day. (Try Traditional Medicinals Dandelion Leaf & Root Tea, $5.29 for 16 bags.) Other de-bloating elixirs: Ask your juice joint to press a celery-centric concoction, and take a 500-milligram parsley capsule twice a day.
Drink Two Glasses of Water Before Every Meal
“It sounds counterintuitive, but you need to drink water to lose water,” says Lauren Slayton, a nutritionist and founder of Foodtrainers in New York. Along with drinking a minimum of 64 ounces daily, Slayton recommends front-loading meals with two cups of H2O “for maximum appetite reduction; it’ll make you feel full and help you eat less.” Adds Vanessa Packer, a holistic nutritionist at ModelFit in New York, “Avoid seltzer and sparkling water—they cause bloating.”
Get Eight Hours of Sleep
“When you get seven-and-a-half to eight hours of sleep, your body is more equipped to get rid of stress hormones, and your metabolism improves,” says Morrison. And taking a vitamin D3 supplement daily may help you sleep better and therefore improve weight loss too. One theory is that when D3 is low, hunger hormones increase, and when you’re not deficient in D, melatonin—the body’s natural sleep aid—works more effectively. Slayton suggests taking 2,000 IUs of D3 daily.
Avoid All Processed Foods
Which means not only skipping the obvious culprits (chips, cookies, candy) but also anything that is prepackaged (store-bought bread, pasta, cheese), and even canned tuna and almond milk, which may be packed with sodium and sugar, respectively. Opt for whole grain bread from a local bakery; it won’t be heavily processed, and avoid anything made with white flour (it has no nutritional value), says Morrison. Skip all dairy too, including Greek yogurt. Replacing all inflammatory foods (sugar, wheat, dairy) with whole foods and vegetables can produce rapid results, Morrison adds.
“Your Spinning class will burn calories, but it won’t give you the powerful after-burn effect of HIIT.”
Carve Out Your Belly
Strengthening your body’s natural corset muscles is a surefire way to get a flat belly naturally. Celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson (who got Khloé Kardashian in rock-body shape) suggests doing this simple but powerful plank sequence every day: Get into a plank position (forearms on the floor, core engaged, legs straight) at just less than arm’s length from a wall. While keeping your core centered—don’t move side to side—alternate touching the wall with each hand as many times as possible in one minute. Repeat five times. The goal: Every round, tap the wall more times, says Peterson.
Ditch Alcohol Completely
Not. A. Sip. “One, it affects your sleep, and we know that in turn affects your metabolism and hunger cravings,” explains Slayton. “Two, it definitely causes you to retain extra fluid.” The third, and most damaging, reason: “You don’t burn any other fat or calories until your body rids itself of that 100-, 200-, or 300-calorie cocktail, so you’re putting yourself behind in terms of calorie-burning from the start,” she says.
Do 30 Minutes of HIIT Every Day
Your Spinning class will burn calories, but it won’t give you the powerful after-burn effect of high-intensity interval training. Oliver Lee, a trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp in New York, recommends this 30-minute circuit: For each exercise go as fast and as intensely as you can for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest. Repeat the sequence six times. 1. Fast feet. 2. 180-degree squat jumps. 3. Squat to side kick (alternating legs). 4. Two push-ups into four mountain climbers. 5. Finish with shoulder-tap burpees: Go into a plank, touch each shoulder with the opposite hand four times, then jump up into the air.