21-Day Tummy: Your Weight-Loss Questions, Answered!

To celebrate the release of 21-Day Tummy, our new diet and weight-loss book, I hosted a Facebook chat with co-author Kate Scarlata, RD, to answer your most interesting questions about the breakthrough plan.

By Liz Vaccariello

21 day tummy book

Reader’s Digest Association

How can I obtain calcium in foods? —Carla T.

Carla, we include calcium-rich chia seeds, kale, fortified rice, coconut milk, and low-fat cheese for bone-boosting calcium. —Kate

One of the happy surprises for me was that chia seeds (which are high in magnesium) are also very high in calcium. —Liz

Related: 4 food rules for better gut health »

Before having four babies I had a flat tummy, but after pregnancies my tummy with belly button looks like a sad face. Will I ever get a flat tummy with diet and exercise? —Manjula P.

Four babies! What a blessing. Yes, it is absolutely possible. You must find the eating and exercise lifestyle that takes off weight (so you shed any extra layers of fat on top of your abdominal muscles), while doing core and ab work to strengthen and flatten those muscles. A word to new moms: Sleep is essential to fat loss. When we don’t get enough sleep, our cortisol levels go up and cortisol (the stress hormone) makes our bodies store any extra calories that we eat as fat. So be good to yourself! Get the nutrition AND REST that you need. (I know: easier said that done.) —Liz

Related: 1-minute workouts that work »

Even lactose-free dairy gives me an upset stomach. Any ideas why that might be? I miss dairy. —Kari R.

You might have an issue with casein (protein) in milk instead of the sugar component (lactose); or other chemicals in dairy foods can contribute to slugging down the intestine—and seem to contribute to constipation in some people. —Kate

What do you think about apple cider vinegar? Help or not so much? —Karla D.

Not really. We will say: Unfiltered apple cider vinegar we would not allow on the diet, because the particles probably have FODMAPs in them. —Liz

Can I eat the soup in the morning and at night? —Carla T.

Depends on the phase—but try to include the Belly Soother Smoothie —Kate

My questions are about snacking. I have my smoothie at 7am and [am] hungry by 10. Is there something safe to snack on, and would there be anything considered unlimited on the 21-Day Tummy? —Nancy M.

I might nosh on a handful of carrot sticks or bell-pepper strips. —Kate

What are some tips to promote regulatory and stomach health overall naturally? —Tiff P.

Chia seeds add a great source of magnesium and belly soothing fiber. Both great for stomach health. —Kate

Let me chime in to vouch for the soothing effects of regular exercise! Walking (moving) regularly throughout the day, every day, keeps everything moving. —Liz

Learn more about the plan and buy the book at 21DayTummy.com or wherever books are sold.

Note: Some language from our Q&A was edited for length and clarity.

Reader's Digest Association

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