It’s that time of year again! Spring is in the air, Summer is around the corner and the sun is starting to shine. What is the number one thing on all of our minds as the warm weather begins to approach?
“I gotta have that beach ready body!”
As is typical for most people, I tend to gain a few extra pounds during the winter months. Without even realizing it, I seem to add a little insulation to stay warm when it is cold outside. And it’s also pretty typical that during this time of year, I start to panic – “how am I ever going to lose weight before bikini season sets in?!” And, my usual method of achieving fast results usually includes fasting while running myself ragged on a treadmill; but let’s face it, I am not 18 years old anymore and with each passing year of attempting to lose weight in the same way, my results are far from satisfactory.
I turned to Google, because I assumed I would be able to find the necessary information I needed for the perfect weight lost regimen for not only myself, but to share with all the Halfstack readers. But the problem with the internet is that anyone can post anything they want. There is so much conflicting information when it comes to health and nutrition – “Should I try The Zone diet, or the South Beach diet? Or how about the Acai diet? Should I go sugar free, carb free, gluten free, fat free, calorie free? Should I try detoxing, meal replacement shakes, diet pills? Should I go on an all veggie diet? An all fruit diet?” There are so many different options and all of them seem to have varying degrees of success. How will I ever be able to find one that will work for me? And more importantly, one that will work for the readers?
So in the best interest of the readers, I decided to seek an expert opinion. Jeremy Gonzales – Personal Trainer Extraordinaire. With over 10 years of experience and a high success rate in helping people achieve their weight loss goals, he had to be able to provide some insight on the proper way to become healthy. And while I can’t say I liked what I heard (unhealthy foods are my guilty pleasure), what he had to say made A LOT of sense.
Fad diets like The Zone and South Beach – while you may achieve some degree of success on these kinds of diets, they don’t provide people with the necessary tools to be able to maintain a healthy weight. The word diet itself by definition (according to Merriam-Webster), means “to eat sparingly or according to prescribed rules in order to achieve weight loss.” When people diet, all they do is follow instructions on a daily basis until they reach their goals. And once those goals are met, it’s back to the usual eating habits that made them want to diet in the first place. And I realize that I’m generalizing here and that not everyone falls into the same old ruts, but I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that I’m not the only one guilty of such crimes!
So what exactly did I learn from personal trainer, Jeremy Gonzales? Losing weight, maintaining a healthy body and being comfortable in my own skin won’t be found in a short-term solution. It’s going to have to be a lifestyle change for anyone who wants it bad enough! We need to educate ourselves and train our bodies to not only work out properly but eat the right kinds of foods. We constantly hear through media outlets that it’s not the quality of the food you eat, but the quantity. We, as a society, are led to believe that all it takes to lose weight and become healthy is – control your portion size. This is only part of the solution. Because while you may see some initial weight loss by controlling your portion size alone, that’s just your body’s way of adjusting to the change. Eventually you’ll hit a plateau and you’ll begin to wonder why you aren’t seeing any more results. And here’s the secret formula for achieving a healthy body – Eat clean every day & exercise regularly. It really can be that simple.
For our purposes today, I’m going to focus on the nutritional aspect of weight loss (tune in next week for some exercise tips). PT Jeremy says the easiest way to look at clean eating is to STAY AWAY FROM PROCESSED FOODS. Here is a pointer he gave me that really drives this theory home.
**If you were to consume 2000 calories a day of just celery for an entire year, you would starve to death. If you were to consume 2000 calories a day of just mayonnaise for an entire year, you would become obese.**
I kind of had an “aha” moment as soon as PT Jeremy finished explaining this to me. I always thought 2000 calories was 2000 calories no matter how you looked at it. But when explained to me in such simple terms, it really does make sense that the quality of the food plays a huge factor in determining your success rate.
So what exactly does clean eating mean? It’s basically cooking with and eating only the freshest of ingredients and staying away from chemically altered foods as much as possible, if not entirely. It is way easier said than done – trust me, I am a sucker for breads, pastas, sweets, etc. And let’s face it, it’s much easier and much more convenient to use boxed or canned foods when preparing a meal, than it is preparing one from scratch. But do you really think it’s safe to put something in your body that has a longer shelf life than your doggie, Peaches does?!
The trick is to eat well portioned and balanced meals of the good stuff – Proteins, good fats (almonds, avocados), fruits and veggies – chicken & fish, green beans & spinach, strawberries & blueberries. Obviously you don’t have to stick to just these foods, but these are some great examples of foods to eat instead of those low calorie Wheat Thins. Did you know that red berries such as strawberries and raspberries are a great weight loss snack because it takes more calories to digest these fruits than is actually in them?! We can all thank PT Jeremy for that little health fact. And just remember, we don’t have to give up our favorite foods entirely. Allow yourself one cheat day a week to indulge a little!
So, long story short, if you are really serious about shedding those winter pounds not only to fit in to that sexy new swimsuit you have hanging in your closet, but for good, really give some of PT Jeremy’s pointers a try. It won’t be easy in the beginning, but put that will power to work and once you start to see those pounds begin to shed, it will be far easier to implement these changes for the long haul! Remember to treat your body as if it were a well, oiled machine. In order to keep it running smoothly for years and years to come, it needs to be well taken care of. – Next week I’ll cover some fitness pointers from PT Jeremy that you can implement along with clean eating to achieve that strong, sexy body you want!
One last pointer from PT Jeremy – “Most grocery stores are set up in the exact same way, with the freshest ingredients against the outside walls of the store. This is where you’ll find your fresh veggies and fruits, your meats, your dairy, etc. Stay away from all of the middle aisles!”
**Thank you to Jeremy Gonzales for providing the images and check out Everything But Water for these great swimsuits.**