The secret is, there is no secret. I know, I know…you’ve heard that before. But believe me, it’s the truth. I will be totally honest with you and tell you that all of the infomercials, exercise equipment, gimmicks, diet fads, and all the promises you hear on television WILL NOT WORK if you do not change your eating habits.
Sure, you can get a Brazilian butt lift and 6 pack abs…but not if you eat the wrong foods. No amount of exercise can compensate for bad eating habits. I don’t want to sound mean or disheartening, but the principles are fairly simple. Eat right, exercise, and stay committed!
I always thought that I was a pretty healthy eater… and I am in comparison to a lot of people. I have always maintained my weight and never really been out of control (except for the 10-15 lbs in college). But I also never had toned arms, lean legs, and ripped abs like you see on tv. Well, thanks to my trainer I found out why. It was my diet! If you eat sugar, sodium, and processed/packaged foods (even if they are low fat), they will prevent you from achieving that lean physique. As soon as I changed my eating habits…wow, I started to reveal a super flat stomach!
And it was essentially about getting back to the basics. Eating whole foods in their most natural form. Instead of instant oatmeal already packed with sugar, buy plain oats. I love adding cinnamon, a little brown sugar, or honey. It also tastes really great with a little spoonful of peanut butter. I have also discovered truvia, which is a natural sweetener, and so much better for you than sugar.
Instead of eggs, try egg whites. Or one egg with 3 egg whites. I sauté onions, mushrooms, and sometimes zucchini to add to my whites and then just a pinch of salt and pepper. Eat that with a bowl of oatmeal, high fiber cereal, or put it on a piece of whole grain toast. You will save so many calories and it tastes so much better than something from a drive-through.
Stick to lean protein – skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, flank steak or filet, pork tenderloin, white fish, shrimp, scallops, and salmon. Cook in just a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Or season with Dijon mustard, spices and herbs. You don’t have to drown meat in heavy soups and sauces to make them tasty. It’s all about the basics.
Fruits and vegetables – really, you cannot eat enough! And variety is key. Try to eat as many colors as possible. Apples are great sources of fiber as well as strawberries. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants. Oranges and mangos have tons of vitamin C. Bananas are a staple at my house. I have one after a morning work out because they are a great source of potassium.
My favorites vegetables are mostly green – broccoli, brussel sprouts (don’t knock them until you try them), green beans, kale, and cabbage. Peppers are also great for you as well as onions, squash, and carrots.
Try to eliminate “white” foods. Opt for whole wheat/whole grain bread instead of white. Sweet potatoes instead of baked potatoes. Try brown rice, quinoa, or barley instead of white rice. Whole grain noodles instead of white. If you eat cereal, try high fiber or brands that have less than 5g of sugar per serving.
This may all sound boring to you, and you feel like you are depriving yourself. But if you cook things and add the right flavors, everything tastes great.
And the bonus – you can eat MORE! When you eat whole foods, nothing processed, the amount of food you can eat increases while the calories decrease. Even my dad was amazed at how much food I was consuming when I was training. But that’s because lean protein, fruits, and vegetables don’t have many calories. Yet, they are packed with important nutrients and vitamins for your body.
So if you are stuck in a rut and can’t get those last 10 pounds off, take a closer look at what you are eating. It makes a world of difference!