Body & Fitness

Lose 3kg and win back your waist

Nip it in, girls! Drop a dress size with this gut makeover diet

The Diet

This four-week plan is based on revolutionary science that links the state of our gut to our health and weight. In particular, eating more vegetables and fibre increases the diversity and balance of bacteria in our stomach, which, in turn, can lead to us absorbing fewer calories. Nutritionist Jeannette Hyde’s gut makeover also helps deal with digestive issues, strengthens your immune system, and will also improve your hair and skin.

How it works

Before getting started, you should ideally prepare yourself the week before by weaning yourself off processed and sugary foods (such as pre-packaged meals, biscuits and takeaways), as well as alcohol, caffeine and artificial sweeteners.

For the four-week gut makeover itself, follow the eight rules (right). You can make your own meals using these guidelines or use the menu ideas provided.

To maintain results after the four weeks, stick to a Mediterranean diet with lots of vegetables. It’s fine to include dairy and gluten if you can tolerate them, but the most gut-friendly options from these food groups include sourdough bread, natural yoghurt and cheese.

The Eight Gut Makeover Rules

1. Eat mostly plant foods

At least five cups of veges and two cups of fruit a day. Aim for 20 or more different varieties a week. A cup size is of chopped, uncooked fruit and vegetables. Alternatively, you can measure a cup as the size of a balled fist.

2. Add some protein

Include meat, fish, eggs, nuts or seeds at every meal. The ratio on your plate should be two-thirds plant foods and one-third protein. Vegetarians can add pulses for protein after the first two weeks.

3. Choose your oils

Use extra virgin olive oil for dressings and to cook. Coconut oil is also good for cooking.

4. Avoid gluten

Steer clear of wheat, rye and barley for the four-week plan. Even if you don’t have a gluten sensitivity, you’ll be able to pack in more vegetables this way. Also, avoid dairy for the first two weeks.

5. Three meals a day

Try to leave a 12-hour gap between dinner and breakfast the following morning, and avoid snacking in between.

6. Make time to eat

Try not to eat quickly or at your desk and make sure you chew properly.

**In weeks 3 and 4 only …

  1. Introduce “prebiotic” fruit and veges**

This will feed the good gut bacteria. These include banana, garlic, leek, onion, apple, asparagus, chicory and cold potato.

8. Two dairy products

Reintroduce two specific dairy products during weeks three and four – a scattering a day of Roquefort blue cheese and a glass a day of kefir (fermented milk). Both of these products are packed with good, probiotic bacteria.

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