Don't get me wrong—I totally believe in the long-term power of a clean diet and plenty of exercise. I trust that when it takes a long time to see results, you're doing things properly. BUT a little instant gratification never hurt anyone. I am a New Yorker, after all—we like things fast and efficient.
As such, I wondered if there was anything I could incorporate into my routine to yield payoff within a few days, a week tops. It sounds like a miracle, but it must exist. Though I don't think any lasting results happen overnight, there are some simple tricks to help your body speed up the detox process and reduce bloating—which looks like weight loss and makes you feel better.
To prove my point, I hit up a few nutrition experts for their best tips on how to speed things along. Luckily, they agreed that it is possible. Here are some (almost entirely natural) tricks to help whip yourself into shape in a pinch.
Mix Up Some Spa Water
You've probably noticed a lot of spas place cucumbers under your eyes during a treatment—this is because they help reduce water retention. But they also work to reduce a puffy stomach (aka bloating). "I like to make a spa water with cucumbers," says Meryl Pritchard, a nutritionist and the founder of Kore Kitchen. "Mix some cucumber slices with fresh mint leaves and lemon juice, and sip on that throughout the day, particularly in the morning. It's also the most common celebrity diet food."
She continues, "The lemons help to kick-start your digestion, which will help get things moving. Lemons also have cleansing properties that help flush out toxins. Lastly, it's a fruit that's rich in vitamin C, which will help your skin glow a little brighter."
Fitness guru, Nicole Winhoffer adds, "Add bee pollen to your water. It'll increase your metabolism and energy to burn more calories as you go about your day."
Stock up on Ginger
Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory, which will help you look and feel less bloated. It's also a great digestive aid. Pritchard suggests making a weight-loss tea by chopping up fresh ginger and combining it with a spritz of lemon, cayenne, and raw honey.
Take an Ice Bath
"Take an Epsom Salt bath followed by an ice bath three days in a row," suggests Pritchard. It will tighten your skin and get rid of any lingering bloat.
You'll feel a difference in a few days by simply getting more steps into your daily routine. "Nothing in life should be stagnant," Pritchard says. "So you always want everything in your body to be moving.
"If you are sedentary most of the day, make sure to stretch your body out first thing in the morning, try to get extra movement during your lunch hour, or look into some simple exercises you can do right at your desk. There is a Health app that's automatically installed on everyone's iPhone, which tracks your movement and records how many steps you've walked that day. It's a good way to check in with yourself and set a goal to get a certain amount of steps each day. It's easy and fun, especially if you look at it like a challenge or game."
Drink Green Tea
Green tea will help with bloating and its antioxidant properties have beautifying effects on your skin. Coffee ends up making you look tired and dried out so Pritchard recommends switching to warm green tea for a week. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is known to boost metabolism (which is a win-win).
While you can go for any all-natural green tea, I decided to try Fit Tea (because, well, it's endorsed by the Kardashians). Guess what? It works. It cleans out your system, keeps you hydrated, and had me waking up feeling thinner each morning for a week. It's not everybody's cup of tea (LOL, get it?) but it absolutely did limit my usual bloat. PS: my jeans fit better.
Eliminate Processed Foods
Try removing all processed foods for a week, as most contain excessive sugar, salt, or fat—which all increase inflammation and bloating. By removing these items and focusing more on whole foods—foods in their natural form, exactly how they would be found in nature—you will notice increased energy, improved digestion, clearer thinking, clearer skin, and better sleep. "It is one of the easiest and quickest things you can do to get your body back on track," Pritchard exclaims.
Winhoffer agrees, with an added cheat day bonus: "Take one cheat day and eat what you want to raise your caloric burn. Follow this day with three days of no sugar, no dessert, and no alcohol. Your body will continue to burn at that high rate while you lower your overall calorie count."
Try Triphala Supplements
"Try this ayurvedic herbal concoction for a gentle bowel cleanse," suggests Pritchard. "This is actually one of my favorite supplements. You don't always notice the results from herbs right away, but with Triphala, I always notice a difference the next day—and you definitely notice the effects after a few days of being consistent with it." It's not like traditional laxatives, which irritate the bowel (don't worry), as it actually tones, strengthens, and cleanses the digestive system.
"Opt for steamed asparagus (with no oil or butter) with your dinner," suggests Winhoffer. "It is a diuretic and high in fiber, which will make you feel better and get rid of any bloating by morning."
Trick Your Brain
According to Winhoffer, eating an apple before lunch and dinner reduces your appetite. She says, "Apples are filled with pectin, which burns fat and sugar—eating before a meal alerts the brain that you've had dessert while the fiber makes you fuller." In that same vein, "chewing gum after you finish a meal satisfies the brain's trigger of satisfaction and will stop you from ordering another cocktail, having bread, or ordering dessert."
Sip Red Bean Soup
"Red Bean soup is perfect! In Japanese culture, boiling red beans and discarding the beans while keeping the liquid has helped to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and help with digestion," Winhoffer says. She suggests trying it for three consecutive days to effectively drop any water weight.
Get Some Rest
No secret here, getting regular, deep sleep reduces stress. Pritchard explains, "When your body's not stressed, it can function better. Being well-rested will help you feel and look better overall." Plus, sleep rules (here's how to get to dreamland in less than a minute)
Next, read all about how I completely changed my body in only three months.