I hate diets. I do not believe in diets. The idea that you should move two steps forward, then 3 steps back once you have reached success seems counterintuitive to me. Once you jump back, you will move forward again to then find yourself in the same spot you started. Basically, you become a hamster stuck in an endless spinning wheel. You’ve probably read countless articles that scream “ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN!” Well, if you’re looking for me to tell you any different then you should probably stop reading right now.
I have noticed significant changes in my body, from a lack of energy to major bloating (TMI??!), when my eating habits aren’t right. I used to workout and pay no mind to what was on my plate. I was losing weight but my body wasn’t changing the way I wanted it to. When I cleaned up my diet with the proper guidance of my Team Works coaches, Jennifer Searles and Lauren Ashby, I started seeing the fat melt off!
Here’s the bottom line: You cannot expect permanent results from temporary changes.
Let that sink in.
Has it sunk in yet?
Ok! Now that it has, let’s talk food:
Vegetables: Eat them. Not just because they’re good for you– I mean, how many of us are tired of our parents telling us to eat our vegetables right?!– but because you can eat them all the time and not worry about getting fat! For one, they provide you with fiber which allows nutrients (and waste…) to move through your body! Reason number two? They help fill you up! Starting your meal with a salad, or adding a heaping serving of vegetables to your plate is a good way to ensure you won’t be starving an hour later. Plus, if you do get snackish some chopped up veggies is a great way to ward off unnecessary calories. Just don’t douse them in copious amounts of fat, dressing or butter. That kind of defeats the purpose…
Protein: Who doesn’t love protein?! Lean protein sources like tenderloin, flank steak, Fish, Chicken, Turkey and Eggs are great for abs. And for you folks who like it, the occasional Bacon isn’t bad. Each person’s individual protein needs are going to be different, but ideally aim to have a protein source with every meal to help keep you full and feed your muscles: build muscle → burn fat → see abs!
Low-Fat Dairy: Dairy consumption is a hot debate. Some believe dairy is a no, others say it’s a yes. I say it depends on your goals and whether or not it works for you. If you enjoy it then stick to low-fat. Low-fat dairy can actually be a good source of lean protein. Just don’t overdo it. Low-fat does not mean no fat!
Fat: Avocados, Olive Oil/Sunflower Oil/Coconut Oil, Nuts & Seeds, Olives, Nut Butters, and fatty fish like Salmon, Tuna and Trout aren’t just tasty– they’re essential if you want to burn fat and optimize your bodies performance! Like protein intake, how much fat you need will vary from person to person but you shouldn’t be afraid to eat fat! The right fats will help keep you full (now where have we heard this before?) as well as help lower your cholesterol, boost your energy and trim your waistline. The key here is to keep your fats in moderation.
Carbs: Carbs are plagued by the same issue that dairy is: either you’re for them or you’re not. Processed carbs such as white bread, sodas, fruit juices, etc. are normally very high in calories and are quickly digested in the body. These particular carbs provide a quick dose of sugar causing your insulin levels to shoot through the roof, and can become added fat in the body. For this reason it’s best to swap out processed carbs for the unprocessed variety such as Sweet Potatoes, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Whole-Wheat, Rye or Sourdough bread, Oats, Beans/Lentils, Fruits & Vegetables. The latter are digested much slower than their counterpart allowing for sustained energy throughout the day (or workout). Coconut flour, oat flour & almond flour are great alternatives if you’re looking to swap out your white flour! Avoid eating your carbs alone to help prevent spikes in your blood sugar levels. Instead, pair your carbs with a protein source as a midday snack or with protein and fat for a full meal.
**A Note About Fruit: Enjoy your fruit! If you’re looking to cut back on your sugar intake, fruits are best consumed in the morning or after a workout. Fruits lower in sugar such as Apples, Bananas, Oranges, Grapefruits, and Apricots are great staples! Limit and/or avoid canned and dried fruits which tend to have extreme amounts of sugar.
Foods To Limit: This is the part that many don’t like– If you really want to see your abs come through then sweeteners, sauces, dressings and alcohol should be few and far between. Why? Because most of these are chock full of sugar, sodium, and yucky ingredients. No, that doesn’t mean your food will be bland! If you are looking to add flavor to your food reach for spices, fresh herbs or try making your own sauces, dressings and marinades! I have, for example, discovered my love for Balsamic vinegar since doing away with salad dressings and appreciate mustard 10x more than I ever did! And hot sauce? Don’t even get me started on the hot sauce!
One final tip: drink lots of water! Water helps keep you full, flushes out toxins helps muscle contraction, speeds up the fat-burning process (DYI: dehydration actually slows it?!), helps move fiber through your body, and has 0 calories! How can it get any better than that? If you need a little bit more flavor, add in chopped fruits or cucumbers! It’ll give the water a natural sweetness, and will spare your body from high fructose corn syrup.
Read Parts I & III: