Healthy Hollywood: Fab Food Friday – Carrie Fisher's 50-Pound Weight Loss!

At 54, Carrie Fisher’s recently slimmed-down physique is jaw-droppingly fabulous – certainly an inspiration to all of us looking to shed a few pounds (or more). Way to go, girl!

Healthy Hollywood interviewed Carrie at the start of her Jenny Craig weight loss journey. I remember the actress having doubts she’d be able to stick to the program. She certainly never thought she’d be back in bikini-ready shape. Yet, in just nine months, and thanks to the Jenny Craig weight loss program, Carrie dropped 50 pounds. The actress even joked with “Today‘s” Ann Curry that she’d like to start a line of bikinis for women over 40.

Celebrities like, Jennifer Hudson, Kirstie Alley, and Snooki have also dropped major pounds in 2011. Each star credits a different weight loss path. But, isn’t dieting basically about calories in vs. calories out?

Not exactly, according to registered dietician Leslie Bonci, who wrote the “The Active Calorie Diet,” and states not all calories are created equal. “Believe it or not, eating certain types of food can rev your metabolism, curb your appetite, and help you drop more pounds that others. In ‘The Active Calorie Diet,’ I explain that certain foods take more work to eat so you burn more calories during digestion. In fact, just the act of chewing foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean cuts of meat can increase your calorie burn by up to 30%.”

This diet plans breaks food down into four types of “active calories” – chewy foods, hearty foods, energizing foods, and warming foods. “Your meals will consist of mostly Chewy and Hearty foods, plus at least one Energizing or Warming food. You can have a daily snack that contains at least one type of Active Calorie food. Keep your calories to around 1,500 a day and you could lose up to 14 pounds and 4 inches in just 4 weeks,” reveals Bonci.

So, what exactly are these fat-busting foods? Leslie Bonci shares a sampling with Healthy Hollywood.

1. Chewy Foods:
(lean meats, nuts, whole fruits, and vegetables)

To maximize the chew factor, choose food in its most “whole” state — apples instead of applesauce, for instance. High-protein foods really are your best ally in the Active Calorie Diet because they take more work to chew and longer to leave your stomach so you take more time eating—and have more time to register that you’re full.

2. Hearty Foods:
(fruits, vegetables, brown rice, whole grains and cereals)

These foods are packed with fiber, so they take up more room in your belly (compared to other foods with the same number of calories), and leave less room for second helpings. Foods that take more work to chew literally make your mouth work harder (ramping calorie burn by 10%!) and increase the thermic effect of food, the calorie-burn bump we get from eating and digesting any given type of food.

3. Energizing Foods:
(coffee, black and green tea, and dark chocolate)

These types of foods give you a dose of metabolism-boosting caffeine – just be careful not to load them up with milk, cream, or sugar! Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, so your daily java or black tea can boost your metabolism by 5 to 8% - about 80 to 128 calories a day.

4. Warming Foods:
(peppers, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, cloves, mustard, and vinegar)

These foods help fully activate the calories from every meal with a blast of heat. Dieters taking capsaicin, the chemical that gives peppers their burn, doubled their energy expenditure for several hours after eating, according to a new study from UCLA. Even mild peppers contain compounds that help erase up to 100 calories a day by binding to nerve receptors and sending fat-burning signals to your brain. Cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, and garlic help, too.

For more information on “The Active Calorie Diet,” head to www.activecaloriediet.com.

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