Diet Rehab: Stop Your Junk Food Cravings in 28 Days!

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Bikini season is here, and if you’re looking for ways to lose those last pesky 10 pounds, look no further than this 28-day plan that will help you curb your cravings and put you on the fast track to droppings those love handles.

The difference between this plan and others out there, says Dr. Mike Dow, is that this plan is “a science-based way to recalibrate your taste buds, treat food addiction, and change your life.”

Dr. Dow is a member of the California Psychological Association and the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. He is also cohost of VH1’s “Couples Therapy,” host of TLC’s “My 600 Pound Life”, host of TLC’s “Freaky Eaters,” and author of Diet Rehab.

As a new mom to a seven month-old, I was intrigued by this plan when I saw it on the Dr. Oz show because it is one I can totally follow. The best part is it does not require a huge lifestyle change since I am already a healthy eater. The plan breaks food into two categories: booster and pitfall foods. “Booster foods” are super-charge foods that will help you achieve a slimmer, sexy waistline. As for the “pitfall foods,” those are foods that weigh you down, make you tired, sleepy, and leave you with zero motivation to do anything.

So, I took some notes while watching Drs. Mike and Oz discuss the plan and here is how it breaks down:

Week One: Swap Out Salt

Studies have linked salt consumption to potassium deficiency and other health issues. The 28-day plan requires that you replace salt with other less habit-forming, healthy substitutes like black pepper, basil, cilantro, curry, ginger, oregano, paprika, rosemary, sage, or turmeric.  These spices offer a punch of flavor and antioxidants without increasing your salt intake.

Week Two: Pair “Booster” Snacks with “Pitfall” Snacks

In the words of “Eat This, Not that” author, David Zinczenko, “cut out your go-to feel good foods and snacks,” and replace them with booster foods. Swap out your fave potatoes chips (or if you are like me, chocolate) for healthier choices like Greek yogurt, grapes or kiwi. The goal is to help retrain your brain to like healthy, less salty snacks.  If you do this at least twice a day (swapping out pitfall snacks with booster foods), your brain will eventually start craving healthy booster foods.

Week Three: Replace 3 Pitfall Foods with 3 Booster Foods

By week three, you should have almost zero cravings for salt and most pitfall food, or at least know when to say no to unhealthy food options. This week, instead of swapping out snacks, you will have to swap pitfall snacks for booster meals. Yes, that is right, actual full meals. For example, instead of ordering Alfredo pasta or fried foods, go for the healthier choices of grilled salmon with sautéed seasonal veggies. Swapping out full meals will make you crave more booster foods.

Week Four: All Main Course Should Be Booster Meals

By now, the first three weeks of eating adjustments has prepared you for week four, which might be your hardest week yet. This week, you will replace all your meals with booster meals. Before you stress out and grab your go-to pitfall food, read on to see just how easy it is to do. And the best part, since you are just starting out, it’s completely OK to cheat a little. The plan allows you to still indulge in one or two pitfalls snacks a day. By now though, you should have garnered enough will-power to resist those foods.

Try as much as you can to make it through this final week by eliminating those unhealthy pitfall foods altogether. If you survived week two, then this should be easy for you. Retraining your brain to crave healthier food choices is no small feat. But with time and a lot of dedication, it is completely doable. The key is to stay consistent, and if you fall off the wagon, start again the next day. It takes time to form a new habit, which means you are well on your way to putting your old one far behind you. Before you know it, that fat will be melting off and you will be well on your way to a bikini body just in time for summer!

What are the #1 pitfall foods you’d love to do away with?

Dr. Dow’s Booster Foods Grocery list:
Grains: quinoa, soba noodles, barley, brown rice, steel-cut oats
Protein: chicken, turkey, trout, navy beans
Dairy: Greek yogurt, almond milk, low-fat goat’s milk, low-fat cottage cheese
Fruits and vegetables: broccoli, mushrooms, figs, grapes, kiwi

This article is not intended as medical advice, and this information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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