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Hollywood star Jennifer Garner has admitted to a permanent ‘baby bump’ after three pregnancies, but most of us would be happy to get even close to her body shape. (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)
Hollywood star Jennifer Garner has admitted to a permanent ‘baby bump’ after three pregnancies, but most of us would be happy to get even close to her body shape. (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)

Want to lose a few pounds? Try these simple changes to your daily routine Add to ...

Jennifer Garner recently admitted on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that she does indeed have a baby bump.

“I am not pregnant, but I have had three kids and there is a bump,” the actress said. “From now on, ladies, I will have a bump, and it will be my baby bump. It’s not going anywhere.”

In other words, she doesn’t expect to have a flat tummy at 42 and after three kids. No matter how hard she works at it.

Most of us would be happy to get even close to her body shape, bump and all. If I had to guess, I would say that Garner likely has the ideal body-fat percentage, even if she is a weeny bit poochy in the pot. She probably has trainers and chefs to help her stay healthy, and yet, still, she admits, her body isn’t perfect.

You and I don’t have that support, but all isn’t lost (as long as you aren’t auditioning as her body double any time soon). And no one is saying perfection is the goal, but if you want to drop some pounds, here are a few simple changes you can make to help get you (and keep you) there. Make one of these changes at a time to ease yourself into them, and you will see a positive effect.

Breakfast: This meal must contain protein and only whole-grain carbs. That eliminates a couple of unhealthy categories (goodbye, muffins and sugary cereals) and sets up your blood sugar for the day. (This shift may be calorie neutral but protein and whole grains are more filling and blood-sugar stabilizing.)

Morning coffee break: Drop the sugar or sweetener and switch to low-fat milk, no cream (this removes 35 to 60 calories per cup). Once you’ve gotten the hang of a protein and whole-grain breakfast, you’ll find you don’t need that mid-morning baked good (drops 250 to 400 calories).

Lunch: No more sandwiches. The bread alone is calorie dense and the fillings are rarely lean. Go for salads or stir-fries (skipping the rice eliminates 200-300 calories). The key to staying full is choosing a lean protein. In a salad, try steamed salmon, canned tuna, chickpeas or a handful of nuts and a spoonful of cheese.

Afternoon snack: Before you nourish, move! Walk around the block or office for a mere 15 minutes at a pace fast enough to make your brow sweat and then have one handful of nuts. No carbs. Go ahead and have a coffee or tea with milk. (Your walk burns 75 calories. The nuts will prevent the on-the-way-home-and-making-dinner nibbling. That’s 200 empty calories saved.)

Dinner: Ditch anything deep-fried and fill half your plate with vegetables. If you can, focus on magnesium-rich foods such as whole grains, brown rice, nuts, seeds and figs or dates. Magnesium aids in letting your muscles rest, which is a good thing leading up to bed time.

After dinner: Move your bones. Go for a walk, vacuum the house, do a yoga class. Once upon a time we were told not to exercise in the evening because it interferes with sleep but we no longer believe this. If you need a bedtime snack, choose plain old oatmeal. Not only is it high in magnesium, it is also a slow-burning fuel that is blood-sugar stabilizing, so you won’t wake up ravenous. If you normally reach for snack foods like chips or sweets, this could save you as many as 500 calories (plus, the activity will burn calories from earlier in the day).

No doubt about it, we all cheat once in a while but we often fib to the most important person, ourselves. Tell yourself the truth, as Jennifer Garner did (actually, she told herself and the whole world). Sure, some things you can’t change (like her baby bump), but there are plenty you can. If you want to make a big difference, start with small ones.

Health Advisor contributors share their knowledge in fields ranging from fitness to psychology, pediatrics to aging.

Theresa Albert is a food communications consultant and a registered nutritionist based in Toronto. She blogs here and you can follow her on Twitter @theresaalbert

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