Finally, a sensible eating plan that takes a wholistic approach to health. The Fat Flush Plan (McGraw-Hill, 2002), by Ann Louise Gittleman, MS, CNS, draws from her 15 years’ experience as one of North America’s top nutritionists.

It’s not so much a "diet" as a process of changing your lifestyle for healthy weight loss and overall well-being.

The difference between Fat Flush and other diet plans is that it takes into account a key player in the body’s metabolism: the liver, which works overtime helping us process the foods we eat, the toxins we ingest, and the stress we experience in our daily lives. When you support the health of your liver, you increase its capabilities for fat-burning and detoxification. In return, it rewards you with a leaner body and increased energy levels, as well as decreased stress, depression and water retention–no more puffy belly or dark circles under the eyes. Here’s a basic overview of how the plan works to give fat the flush.

Phase I

Two-week fat flush

This intensive phase eliminates all dairy products, starchy vegetables and grains. Calorie consumption is no more than 1,200 calories a day (30 percent from fruits and vegetables, 30 percent from protein and 40 percent from quality fats). The daily program includes:

Eight ounces or more of protein, including up to two eggs. Protein is important for keeping you feeling satisfied, stabilizing blood sugar levels and building fat-burning muscle.

Unlimited amounts of antioxidant-rich vegetables. Veggies such as broccoli, spinach and zucchini are rich sources of complex carbohydrates and fat-flushing fibre.

Two low-glycemic fruits. Apples, berries, cherries, grapefruit, peaches and plums are cleansing foods that won’t spike insulin levels.

Thermogenic spices. Cayenne, ginger, mustard, parsley, bay leaves, anise and cinnamon stimulate metabolism, improve glucose levels and remove water weight.

Fat flush supplements. To get the most benefit from the plan, take the following supplements daily:

  • Flax seed oil, two tablespoons attracts oil-soluble poisons lodged in the liver and fat stores, eliminating them from the body.
  • Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), 300 to 400 milligrams, as evening primrose, borage or black currant seed oils increases metabolism and serotonin levels, helping you feel full and improving mood.
  • Liver-cleansing herbs dandelion root, milk thistle, Oregon grape root and tumeric, available at health food stores (follow directions on the label), support and nourish your liver.
  • Multivitamin/mineral containing vitamins A, C and E for extra nutritional support.

Mild exercise. Gentle stretching or bouncing on a mini-trampoline stimulates lymph flow, flushes away toxins and decreases stress without depleting your energy.

Long Life Cocktail. In the morning and before bed, mix one teaspoon powdered psyllium husks or ground flax seeds in one cup unsweetened cranberry juice. The cranberries in this fibre-rich drink helps banish cellulite and are rich in catechins and other liver-loving phytonutrients. Also part of your daily program: eight glasses of water with cranberry juice and two cups of hot water with lemon.

Journalling. Keep track of your food consumption and how your body feels during the plan (headaches, acne flare-ups and other symptoms are normal signs that detoxification is working). Journalling is a great outlet for expressing your feelings, reducing the likelihood of stress-induced binging or unhealthy food choices.

Sleep. Every night, tuck into bed before 10 p.m. and sleep for at least eight hours. This will decrease your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can soar with sleep deprivation, triggering fat storage.

Phases II and III

Ongoing fat flush and lifestyle eating plan

Now begins the maintenance program for keeping lean and healthy for life. Gradually increase your caloric intake and reintroduce starchy vegetables and dairy products. Continue the healthy lifestyle habits introduced in phase I, such as moderate exercise, plenty of sleep, journalling and the Long Life Cocktail, as well as the recommended supplements–with the addition of one special supplement that has shown great effectiveness for sensible weight loss: conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), one 1,000-mg capsule three times daily.

Natural health practitioners recommend cleanses in the spring and fall to shed those extra pounds and give our overworked digestive systems–especially our livers–a much-needed rest. Because the Fat Flush Plan is also a detoxification plan, you can use it as a seasonal cleanse for a year-round program of good health.

The difference between Fat Flush and other diet plans is that it takes into account a key player in the body’s metabolism: the liver.

Five Hidden Factors of Weight Gain

  1. Tired, toxic liver: overburdened with trans fats, stress, toxins and cortisol-producing substances such as caffeine and alcohol.
  2. Fluid retention: from hidden allergies, dehydration, not enough protein, hormone fluctuations and prescription drugs.
  3. Fear of fat: the "no-fat" craze has caused us to become deficient in omega -3 and -6 fats important for metabolism and liver health.
  4. Too much insulin: produced by consumption of processed foods, white flour and sugar.
  5. High stress levels: unbalances hormones, triggering fat storage.

About the Author

For more information, read The Fat Flush Plan, by Ann LouiseGittleman (McGraw-Hill, 2002), or visit her Web site, annlouise.com. Also check out the popular message board on ivillage.com, where successful "Fat Flushers" gather to share testimonial