Food – Ok. It’s Simple. First, EAT CLEAN. I’m sure a lot of you have seen this lately and aren’t sure what it means. In the simplest terms, it means to try and remove processed foods from your diet. Processed foods? The stuff with preservatives and chemicals in it. The longer it will sit on a shelf in the grocery store, the more preservatives it most likely has. Now, I’m not saying that I have eliminated ALL processed foods from my diet, but I have made an effort to cut back. The best system I have found is that I try and get about 80% of my groceries from the perimeter of the grocery store. That means the produce, meats, dairy… things that don’t have much of a shelf life. Second, increase the amount of protein you eat. Chicken, eggs, peanut butter (natural JIF is the best), asparagus and broccoli are great ways to integrate more protein into your diet. Protein is what makes you feel full and sustains you the longest. Carbs will make you feel “full” but they quickly break down into the bad sugars. Now, I’m no advocate for “atkins” or cutting carbs COMPLETELY. I just don’t think that’s natural or feasible. Carbs are everywhere. It’s not realistic to try and avoid them completely. My advice is the cut the portion of starchy carbs that you consume dramatically and eat them BEFORE 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Another important thing that people forget is sugar. Carbs ARE sugar. Watch your sugar intake. It’s the easiest way to lower your carbs. Be careful with late night fruits and cereals. You may have noticed that I didn’t mention calories or fat much… well the reason for that is, if you follow the other guidelines, it naturally will lower the calorie and fat count. Plus – I’d rather eat the fat than the carbs. Fat breaks down faster and doesn’t stay in the those love handles as long. Carbs cling on for dear life! Haha And don’t forget portion size! 4-6 oz of protein (meat) is really all you need a meal. And eat 5-6 times a day to you’re your metabolism going. Lastly, try and eliminate empty calories and sugars i.e. Soda, Sweet Tea (I know I know…. For the southerners, that’s pretty tough), etc. Drink water water water. Try at least a gallon a day. This is where I struggle. I’m just not a thirsty person. But I try my hardest to drink as much water as I can throughout the day. It may seem like a lot but once I give you the meal plan, you’ll see how easy it can be! I promise!
Above: Tilapia and steamed broccoli. Just an example of a light lunch.
Meal Plan – Ok. I normally write out 2 weeks worth of meals and plan my grocery list off of that. Writing out your meal plan and STICKING TO IT is the biggest part. Not only will it help you control what you’re eating but you’ll save a ton of money! Take the time, write it out! But I will just give you guys a typical day (with options) and you can make what you’d like!
Breakfast: 2 egg white omelet w/Mozzarella cheese and spinach & 3 pieces of turkey. You can also do 1 cup of PLAIN oats with a banana. You can add ground cinnamon and stevia to sweeten the oatmeal if you’d like.
Snack: An apple and about 6 almonds. Almonds are a great snack! You could also eat an orange or any other fruit.
Lunch: 4 oz of grilled chicken on a spinach salad with 1 tbsp vinaigrette dressing. The trick to lunch is balance. Think protein. You could even have ½ an avocado with a side of ½ cup cottage cheese. Turkey sandwich on wheat (no mayo) and kale chips is another great option.
Snack: I typically will eat ½ cup cottage cheese or some cucumbers slices for my afternoon snack. Again, nuts are a great option.
Dinner: 6 oz of protein (tilapia, chicken *white meat*, turkey), preferably baked or grilled. At least a 1 cup portion of greens (broccoli, asparagus, etc.) The more greens the better. Just don’t cook them with lard or butter – I know what you fellow southerners are thinking! Haha And you can pair it with ½ a sweet potato or ½ cup brown rice. A trick to the brown rice is to boil it in chicken broth. It gives the rice more flavor!
Late Night Snack: I typically will eat 1 piece of dark chocolate just because I have a MAJOR sweet tooth at night and need to curb that craving. But casein protein is a great option. That’s what my husband has been drinking before bed and he has lost over 90 lbs since april!
Well I will be honest y’all! The recipes aren’t really that complicated. The food is simple. Its just how you prepare them. I’ll throw around a few of my “go-to” recipes. If you need more, just let me know but the internet is CRAWLING with tons of great recipes.
Asparagus – line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, snap the asparagus and lay them out on the pan. Lightly drizzle olive oil over the asparagus and sprinkle a light little toss of McCormicks Montreal Steak seasoning and put it in the oven at 375° for about 15 minutes. VOILA! Delicious asparagus!
Kale Chips- Go to your local grocery story and grab a bundle of Kale. Try not to get the “bagged” kale. It’s just not as yummy. Wash the bundle and de-vein the leaves and rip the leafy part into chip size parts. Throw them in a large bowl, lightly drizzle them with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and toss until each leaf is coated well. Then dump them onto a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes at 375°. They are super healthy and delish. One of my favorite foods are potato chips so this is a great substitute. You can even throw a bit of vinegar in the bowl and make salt and vinegar chips! J
Ground Turkey Burgers – For each 6 oz patty, I add 2 TB of egg whites, a dab of Worchestshire (or however you spell that stuff!), a pinch of minced garlic and a sprinkle of feta cheese. The cheese really helps make the turkey (which can be bland) juicy and yummy. Throw it on the grill – I use an indoor Forman Grill. Perfect for a filling dinner.
Tilapia Lettuce Wraps – These are one of my all time favorite meals. You marinate tilapia fillets for about an hr in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Just use enough to coat the fillets really well. While those are marinating, get out a bundle of Romaine Lettuce and tear of the large leafy parts. Set aside. Once the tilapia is done marinating, throw them in the oven to make for about 20 minutes at 350°. Now, for the yummy part… once the tilapia is done, take a Romaine leaf and place a tilapia fillet (or half) in the middle of the leaf, now add a light drizzle of Asian Sweet Chili Sauce. Wrap in the lettuce and ENJOY. It’s so delish and light. I usually pair this meal with a small, spinach salad and ½ a sweet potato.
These are just a few of the recipes that I use. Like I said, a lot of it is preparation… and I’ll be honest. If you are used to fatty or salty foods, you’ll need to adjust. But stick to it! Eventually you will find yourself craving the lighter, healthier foods!
Remember – I’m not an expert. I just know what’s worked for me! I know that the gym can be overwhelming to the newbies. So many machines! What do I do? How many times do I do it? What do I do with that big ball over there? I’ll just get on the elliptical and cruise for 20 minutes… I know that that is almost exactly what most people think when they get in the gym at first. Well I’m here to tell you how to navigate through the gym and make it worth your while. First off, I start by stretching. Its so important. Once I’m done stretching for about 5-10 minutes, I get into my strength training. I always do :30 of jumpking jacks, :30 of butt kicks and :30 of high knees 3 times to warm up. I like to get my sweat going. Then I move onto Abs. I do the following circuit 3 times: 50 Alternating Toe Touch Crunches. (its hard to explain but you can look up any of these moves on YouTube.) 50 Crunches. :30 Plank on your elbows. 100 Russian Twists. Then I go into Legs and Butt. Again, I do this circuit 3 times. 25 squats with a 15 lb bar bell resting on my shoulders. Then I do 15 “bottom half” squats. What that means is that you do a full squat but only come ½ way up and pulse in that lowered position for 15 pulses. These suck and burn SO GOOD! Then I do walking lunges, 25 each leg. 15 burpees (ew I know!). Then I follow up that circuit with my last circuit that I do 2 times. 15 Push Ups. 50 Pelvic Thrusts. 25 squats with my toes and knees facing outward… like a ballerina. This works those saddlebags and hips. Then I may throw the kettlebell around for a bit. I like to mix up work outs up a bit sometimes. But once I’m done with all the strength training, I get on the elliptical for 30 minutes. I alternate 2 minutes at a 4 incline, 4 resistance and then 2 minutes at an 8 incline and a 10 resistance. If I do the treadmill, I run 2 minutes at a 4.2 speed and then walk at a 3.2 speed for 1 minute and then run 3 minutes at a 4.2 speed. And repeat that for 30 minutes. OH! I tan too. Did you need to know that? Nah! LOL but just thought I’d throw that out there! 😉 Helpful Hint: Even if you can’t do as many reps as I’ve listed here, always make sure your form is correct. Keep your core strong throughout all of you workouts. In other words, flex your abs as you work out. It helps with posture as well as gives you a little extra umph. And if you just seem overwhelmed by the extensive strength training. Don’t be afraid to take classes at your local gym. That is how I started and learned a lot. The trainers are super helpful. Don’t be afraid to stay after class and ask questions either!
Playlist: Now we all know that working out is hard enough but I find it nearly IMPOSSIBLE on the days I forget my headphones! I have gotten a couple requests for my workout playlist – well this is a tricky one! For the most part, Pandora is my best friend. I put it on a station called “Pop and Hip Hop Power Workout Radio” and it keeps me going with old and new jams! Check it out! But there are certain songs that I find are awesome for running in particular. Now, don’t judge me, but Justin Beiber “Baby” has a perfect back beat for setting a good running pace. So does Beach Boys “Surfin USA”. I know I know… they don’t really get you “pumped” but they work for me! LOL And for lifing, SKRILLEX or DUBSTEP! Gets me SO pumped!! They just make me feel stronger! Haha No joke. Y’all give these a try and this week I will try and focus on any specific songs that makes me super pumped while at the gym.
OK – It looks like this is all for right now! If you guys have any extra questions or are confused by my back and forth, not a professional writer type rhetoric, e-mail me! firstname.lastname@example.org