Looking for a no-fuss way to slim down? Then we’ve got the perfect detox for you. Created by 110-pounds-slimmer Sara Borgstede for her blog TheHolyMess.com, the gist is this: For three days, you eat only options found on Weight Watchers’ ZeroPoint foods list. That’s all there is to it. The list is free whether you belong to the group or not, and you don’t have to track or measure anything — just eat your fill of ZeroPoint pancakes, chili, even burgers. “It’s a way I discovered to kick-start my own weight loss, and I thought it would be nice to share,” says Sara, 48. “At first, I was shocked by how many people were interested.” But given that women report dropping up to five pounds a day, it’s no wonder word is spreading fast!
There are a lot of things that make the ZeroPoint food list special. For starters, it’s long. Weight Watchers — now officially called WW — has packed it with more than 200 foods to give folks lots of freedom as they work toward wellness goals. “I absolutely love ZeroPoint foods because they let you eat a large amount without having to think about it,” says Sara. “And the results are exciting. My zero-point plan helps me lose weight faster today than when I first went on Weight Watchers!”
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Experts are equally enthusiastic. “Everything you need for healthy weight loss is on the list. Fiber and antioxidants from fruit and veggies, good fat from seafood, high-quality protein from yogurt and poultry,” notes Borgstede.
To use this detox, simply eat your fill of ZeroPoint foods, including virtually any minimally processed fruit, nonstarchy veggie, corn, beans, plain nonfat yogurt, eggs, seafood or poultry. (Find a list at WeightWatchers.com. Add herbs and spices freely; drink plenty of water. If desired, include coffee, tea and zero-cal sweeteners in moderation. As always, get a doctor’s okay to try any new plan.
Breakfast: Enjoy eggs, any style, with a side of your favorite veggies roasted with cooking spray and seasoning to taste.
Lunch: Brown 1 lb. ground chicken; add 1 can tomatoes, 1 can beans, 6 oz. tomato paste and 1 Tbs. chili powder; simmer 15 minutes.
Snack: Rinse and dry 1 can chickpeas. Mist with cooking spray, toss with seasoning; bake on a lined sheet at 400ºF 45 minutes; stir twice.
Dinner: Roast chicken (no skin) and veggies with herbs; serve with steamed cauliflower mashed with Greek yogurt and salt.
Robert James Malcolm III, M.D., a Pennsylvania gastroenterologist who recommends ZeroPoint foods to patients hoping to get lean and achieve overall good health. “There’s even nutrient-packed starch from beans and corn! This is not a low-carb list or a deprivation list. It’s a smart list.” And that’s why fat loss is so impressive.
No Limits, Big Losses
All ZeroPoint foods are natural or very minimally processed — and exciting research suggests that’s their superpower. During a massive study designed to determine whether low-carb or low-fat diets work best, Stanford University scientists analyzed thousands of food logs only to find carb and fat content didn’t matter at all. Instead, participants who chose the fewest processed foods lost up to 60 pounds and experienced significant improvements in blood sugar and blood pressure, while those who chose more processed options gained up to 20 pounds. No one counted calories either-when they ate whole foods, they lost big.
Why are whole foods so effective? As the Stanford team notes, they don’t contain ingredients proven to drive hunger, like refined sugar, flour, salt and processed oils. By contrast, “whole foods boost fiber and other nutrients that prompt us to eat less,” notes Dr. Malcolm.
Also key, particularly in terms of quick results: While processed foods cause metabolism-stalling, bloat-inducing inflammation, “eating only foods like the ones on the ZeroPoint list will actually flood your body with anti-inflammatory nutrients-and as inflammation comes down, metabolism heats up and water weight is released,” says the doc. Bonus: No need to worry that a detox at this time of year will leave you cranky. “Reducing inflammation has been shown to help make spirits soar!”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.