“I always start [my day] with ginger tea, which is black tea with milk, honey, ginger, and cardamom. Then I’ll have a green juice with kale, beets, mint, apple, carrots, and ginger or a three-egg-white, one-yolk scramble. If I’m hungry, I’ll add half a cup of 1 percent cottage cheese to the eggs.” — Padma Lakshmi, who drops 10 to 15 pounds after every season of Top Chef
Second, take a few photos of yourself to keep your motivation up. "Most of the people who come to me are doing it for a reason," he explains. "They're going on vacation, competing in a bodybuilding show, or maybe going to a reunion. I always have them strive for that goal. I take front, side, and back pictures of them at the beginning and have them post the photos on their mirror at home. I tell them, just keep looking at that picture and think of what you're going to look like in a few weeks."
Starving yourself is certainly not a good idea. But if you're otherwise healthy, a brief period of extreme calorie restriction isn't likely to hurt you. You should tell your doctor what you're doing, and be sure to include protein in your diet (70 to 100 grams per day). Take a multivitamin, and eat potassium-rich foods (tomatoes, oranges, and bananas).
Before you head out to dinner, pour yourself a cup of green tea. The active ingredient in green tea, EGCG, boosts levels of cholecystokinin, or CCK, a hunger-quelling hormone. In a Swedish study that looked at green tea’s effect on hunger, researchers divided up participants into two groups: One group sipped water with their meal and the other group drank green tea. Not only did tea-sippers report less of a desire to eat their favorite foods (even two hours after sipping the brew), they found those foods to be less satisfying.
“The alkaline diet often has a focus on eating lots of fresh produce and unprocessed foods, which could be a good thing,” says Hultin. “However, keep in mind that this is not an evidence-based therapeutic diet. When people take it too far — for instance, drinking baking soda — or become too restrictive or obsessive over food choices, it can definitely turn negative.”
Everyone’s body is different when it comes to digesting some gas-forming foods, but there are a few you should be wary of: It’s best to avoid beans and cruciferous veggies (think cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli) for a couple of days if you want to look slimmer. Choose lean proteins like chicken and fish or, if you’re vegetarian, go for small amounts of nuts and seeds for protein. Pair with non-gassy vegetables like asparagus, spinach, and cucumber to help prevent bloat.