That wasn't the case at all.
So this is what happened -- I learned to (what I call) "Trim the Fat," which meant I could still eat what I wanted, with the exception of it being portioned properly and LESS fatty. Knowing me, it was damn near impossible for me to completely cut out fat. I just love food too much. :( To make matters worse, I loved FRIED food. And I still do. Terrible, I know. But I had to cut down somehow and make it up elsewhere.
I also tried to avoid having too many cheat days or going overboard on a cheat day. Just to clarify, a cheat day isn't a day where you can just stuff your face and eat whatever the hell you want. A cheat day is incorporated into your "training" to avoid you from, in layman's terms, going crazy for eating TOO healthy. Some people, when they diet, they can't find a happy medium in their choices of food. Sometimes they eat TOO healthy, which causes their cravings to skyrocket and go haywire when cheat day comes around the corner. Then Cheat Day becomes "Fatty Day." No good. I'll talk more about cheat days in a future post. For now, I want to focus on some key points when reconsidering your food options.
If you're in the middle of training, your diet will change drastically. It's gonna be so drastic that you might cry about it the first week. But if you're just trying to cut down a bit, lose a few pounds (or 10, whatever, lol) and have a more "fit" body, then what you're going to wanna do is cut down on the stuff that's killing your progress. Just in case you haven't been briefed, eating certain foods that make you "gain weight" are really foods that aren't digestible enough to pass through you, resulting in stored fat and unprocessed sugar. You know how they say "Girl, that's gonna go straight to your (fill in blank) !!"? Yeah, it's like that. It's different for everyone, but for a typical female, you're going to gain weight either in your womanly parts (you "fill out") or in your stomach, which makes every woman feel unsexy. So! You're going to have to cut down on all that good ass food for awhile. That includes fatty foods like anything fried, meats with a low protein content and complex carbs. But most especially? Sweets. Yeahhhh, no more Snickers, Brownies or Reese's Cups for you, sweetheart. At least for now. When you build a higher tolerance for avoiding them, I suggest keeping a small jar of "fun size" sized chocolate or sweets to pick at when you need a sugar fix. But if you're an ice cream lover like me? You're going to have to search for a low-cal or fat-free ice cream somethin' or other to curb that craving! I suggest cutting out sweets first before salty foods because sweets increase your blood sugar and that will easily screw up your diet. It's common nutritional knowledge there. You can read up on it if you like, but i'm no expert -- I just learned it in Nutrition class in college. Lol. Especially if you want a nice pack of abs -- it's all in your diet!
NO sugar, NO salt, NO fat. Harsh, isn't it? So let's start of small. :)
That being said, focus on foods that give you energy. Simply said, you want lean meats and tons of veggies and fruits in your diets. And just so you know, not all veggies and fruits are "healthy", as weird as that sounds. Believe it or not, eating salad everyday won't get you that body you want. Especially if you're dumping ranch dressing all over it. ;)
Here are some foods that I tend to eat when i'm trying to cut down on some pounds or when i'm trying to stay solid at the weight i'm at:
- turkey - (ground or deli-sliced for sandwiches) It's great to substitute this for ground pork or ground beef and it's a great healthy alternative if you're a carnivore like me.
- wheat - Wheat everything: bread, crackers, pasta, etc. Try to stay away from white bread and regular pasta (complex carbs). I know there are white breads out there that claim to have wheat or something like that in them, but 100% whole wheat is 10x better. There are other breads like Ezekiel that are great too, as well as Multi-Grain breads that aren't too bad. If you like tortillas (for sandwich wraps or whatever else), go for the wheat ones also. Wheat is great for keeping you full and satisfied and it also helps with your fiber content and doesn't stick in your system.
- tuna - I really try to stay away from tuna in a can, but it's definitely do-able, just don't go too crazy on it. Tuna in the can has mercury in it, so eat it in moderation. I prefer getting my tuna at the seafood market, but I know that can be hard to access for other people. But truthfully? Tuna really helps lean you out FAST. That's just my experience.
- fish - This isn't a favorite for a lot of people, but it's healthier for you, believe it or not. Fish Oil is a necessity, especially for a woman. But! You gotta eat the right kinds of fish. I'll talk more about that later, but just since I mentioned it, my favorites are tuna, tilapia, cod, bass and salmon.
- soy/tofu - Anything soy or tofu is some good lean protein for you. My favorite way to eat tofu is unfortunately FRIED (Japanese Style), but there are other ways to eat it. I prefer it in the form of soy rather than tofu itself, but it all comes from the same bean. :) Soymilk especially is a great alternative over regular milk, which DOES have fat (especially WHOLE milk). If you do choose milk, you're gonna want at least 1% or SKIM. Nonfat is fat free but it also doesn't give you the vitamins that milk usually gives you, so I never suggest it. Plus nonfat tastes quite disgusting if you love 2% milk like I do, lol. Soymilk is tolerable and sweeter and comes in different flavors so you don't get bored. :)
- brown rice - I love rice. I'm half-Filipino so a lot of Filipino food is best eaten with rice. When I was training, it KILLED me that I couldn't have it, but brown rice is definitely a greater alternative. It tastes completely different, but cook it with a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) or a tablespoon of butter and it makes it 10x better. And no, it doesn't defeat the purpose. :)
- oatmeal - Another non-favorite for most people, but again, great for fiber and doesn't stick to your system. It also helps you feel fuller so you don't feel like snacking midday.
- almond butter - Peanut butter is good for you but only if it's Natural or 100%. I don't mind the Natural version (Trader Joes has a great one), but since I can't have butter as much as I'd like, I also like almond butter. Almonds have that good fatty content, not the bad fatty content. :)
- honey - Since it's best to lay off SUGAR, you'll need a better alternative. 100% honey is not only much healthier, but it's actually sweeter for some things you'd want sugar in. Well, besides coffee. :) But I have a sweet tooth that's hard to curb cravings with, so honey on a wheat waffle kind of helps when I need to satisfy my sweet tooth really fast and I don't have many choices.
- FiberONE Bars - Any flavor, doesn't matter. These are a great snack for me, especially when I used to sit in class hungry as hell because I had to eat "smaller portions, 4-6 times a day." I'd find myself kinda hungry in the middle of the day but 2 hours away from my next "portion." These are a great snack, in addition to fruit, that kept me satisfied throughout the day.
- Green Tea/Wu-Long Tea - Green tea has great benefits. I prefer the Asian ones that you get by the pound (in leaves) from the Asian markets as opposed to the cheap Lipton stuff you find at Safeway. Either one is okay, but i feel that "real" Green Tea is much better. I've tried both and always go back to visit Ming at the Asian market for more leaves. :) Wu-Long Tea by Okuma is also great -- it's actually a Chinese Slimming Tea and it's 100% Oolong Tea. It's best to drink a mug/cup about 3x a day. It also helps curb cravings and both Green and Wu-Long Tea will help your skin's vitality as well as your immune system. :)
- water - You will find yourself drinking a ton of water. You gotta stay hydrated! You'll have to stay away from fruit juices unless it says "100%" and eventually you'll find yourself drinking nothing but water anyway, especially after you work out. Water will also help with your skin's vitality. Another thing is that some people THINK they're hungry when they're really THIRSTY. So before you determine if you wanna eat or not, try sipping on some water first and see if that helps. 80% of the time it does. :)
These foods keep me from getting hungry, they give me energy and they help curb certain cravings. I'll discuss it more in another post an example of my daily meals, but for now, I just wanted to emphasize that you don't have to completely change your diet and become a health nut just to lose weight. You gotta take that butt to the gym, too you know! :) As long as you stay consistent in eating LESS fatty foods and more foods high in lean protein or eat healthier alternatives to normal everyday foods, that's a great start. I mean, you're not sitting here training for a marathon are you?! :)
Next post will be about how to get started at the gym. I hope you don't mind a little cardio! ;)