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    5 Gut-Busting Diet Mistakes

    3. Downing Man-Sized Meals

    Controlling portion size is key to controlling the size of your gut.

    Your three meals, Villacorta says, should be no more than 700 calories each. A cup of steel-cut oats with a cup of blueberries and a tablespoon of walnuts makes a great power breakfast.

    Lunch and dinner should be 4 to 5 ounces of lean meat or omega-3-rich fish, such as salmon, for protein, with veggies and a whole grain, like quinoa or brown rice. If you’re a vegetarian, make sure to include a plant-based source of lean protein in each meal.

    For your midmorning and midafternoon snacks, skip the chips and cookies. Instead, eat an apple and a cup of nonfat Greek yogurt.

    In White’s experience, the healthier the food you eat, the more of it you can allow yourself.

    “People think that dieting means eating less; they envision hunger,” he says. “But if you move from steak and potatoes to fruits and vegetables, you can actually eat more.”

    If you eat processed foods, check the label. They may be higher in fat and sugar than you think.

    4. Eating Because You're Stressed

    When you’re feeling anxious, you’re more likely to turn to sweet, fatty foods like candy and cookies.

    So if you want to flatten your belly, you have to take steps to control your stress levels.

    For his own stress, Villacorta follows his therapist’s recommendation and does some simple relaxation exercises. Twice a day, he spends a few minutes taking deep breaths.

    “I started doing that, and it was amazing,” he says. "Stress is going to be there,” Villacorta says, “but you can still learn to be healthy.”

    5. Overlooking Liquid Calories

    Do you know how many calories are in that drink?

    Check the label. Or have a glass of water or tea. And if you drink milk, opt for skim or low-fat. You’re still getting the calcium and vitamin D you need, but without the added calories.

    Also, take it easy with alcohol. It's got calories; and when you drink and loosen up, you may eat more than you would if you were sober.

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    Reviewed on June 05, 2014

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