Ugh. The subject of who has lost or gain weight, which trainer they’ve been using, whether they are taking pills, juicing, abstaining from alcohol, starving, or whether they are les miserables or joyful is often the shining armor of table talk. It’s the loved and dreaded conversation us women cannot avoid. Let’s talk realistic practices here. No kale marathon juice cleanse with a side treat of chia, but the real lowdown on what actually works.
Also…it’s bikini season so let’s get this moving, shall we? PS. I’m not a registered dietitian and have no nutrition degree, but I’ve pretty much tried them all and am sharing these tips from personal experience.
Protein is your lover and sugar is your enemy. Snacks are okay. Water is essential. Dairy intake should be limited–cut out milk and cheese if you’re trying to make a serious change, but you can keep Greek yogurt. Egg white omelets will be your best friend. Grilled fish is a dinner hero. You’re going to have to get creative.
I’ve included some shopping cart essentials like carrots, hummus, avocado, salmon, quinoa, frozen berries (great dessert), hearts of palm, almond milk, and more. You don’t have to severely limit yourself, but nothing that comes easy is worth having, so you will definitely have to work. What works for one, may not be the best method for the other. But one sample healthy day I like to keep in mind is as follows:
- Breakfast: 4 egg whites with spinach, onions, tomato, and 1/2 avocado.
- Snack: ones serving of almonds
- Lunch: kale salad with quinoa, hearts of palm, sun-dried tomatoes, cucumber, corn and a can of tuna. (Cento is delicious)
- Snack: Fage Greek yogurt with berries and granola
- Dinner: Grilled salmon with lentil salad and sweet potato.
- Sweet tooth: Dark chocolate (the Chocolove with salt and almonds is a favorite).
I’ve noticed that if I limit myself like crazy, I wake up one morning and decide to eat everything in sight. This is why I take things in moderation, and keep my wine and dark chocolate nearby. Fruit is a sneaky thing because people think it’s a great diet food, but it’s filled with sugar. Berries, kiwi and melon are safer than the rest (they say bananas are the devil!) If you’re living in America you know that portions are often way more food than just one serving.
People also have mixed feelings about coffee, but I have to ignore the negatives because I will never part ways with my almond milk lattes (2 a day). If you feel better drinking tea, that’s great.
Snacking is perfectly acceptable, and foods like almonds, hearts of palm, avocado, carrots with hummus, yogurt, or even 1/2 sweet potato are great options. Don’t see this as a chore, see it as a lifestyle change and get excited to make it. Nobody wants to have to stare something delicious in the face and run away because…diet. If you want a bite of cake, eat it. Exercise often–though this only really works when you are eating well; cardio alone when you’re living off pasta and cake won’t exactly do much.
Finally, just change things up and have some fun. You’d be surprised how creative you can get with a quinoa salad. Pomegranate seeds! Radish! Mint! (Mint makes a huge difference). Grilled mushrooms! Charred corn! Pine nuts! Sun-dried tomatoes! The list goes on. I also like to set longterm goals rather than time lines to keep things steady. You can partner up with a friend for motivation, keep a journal, or just only buy the healthy stuff so there’s no temptation. And once you shed some weight, you can reward yourself (new bikini, weekend getaway, massage…anything).
Get cooking, good looking! Oh, and here’s a quick glance of inspiration to start. Happy Summer!
By Alexis Bendjouia