Crash diets that involve crazy supplements for ‘detox’ or a ‘cleanse’ are truly unnecessary. For starters, your body is designed to naturally detoxify itself all the time. Secondly, science has not proven that nutrients in supplement or pill form work the same way in our bodies as they do when we eat them in their whole form (for example: vitamin C pills vs vitamin C from an orange).
The reason most people see results from these cleanses, if they do see results, is because they are simply cutting calories. It’s not necessarily that the pill or ‘cleanse’ has magical superpowers, it’s just basic calorie math.
Yet, swimsuit season lurks around the corner- what’s a girl to do? My answer: Help your body do its thing!
Clean up your diet. Cut the processed stuff. I usually follow the 80% rule in regards to clean eating, but when I’m cutting back I shoot for as close to eating 100% real food as I can get. Try to increase vegetables and lean, grilled meats in your meals. Cut back on refined carbohydrates like breads, crackers, and pastas; not because carbs are evil…but because we tend to overeat them.
Drink your fluids! Your body actually holds onto more water when you aren’t getting enough fluids. To help banish bloat I recommend setting water-drinking deadlines for yourself throughout your day. It’s better to spread out your sips than to chug, it will save you many trips to the powder room. Another tip for de-puffing: cut back on salt! Watch out for processed soups and frozen entrees- they tend to be very high in salt content.
Move it. I’ve never been a workout person. That’s not to say I don’t work out, but I just never made it “a part of my daily routine, like brushing your teeth.” For me, 3 formal ‘workouts’ a week is do-able. Rather than pressuring myself to workout everyday, I try to make my daily life more active. I purposely try to stay on my feet while teaching and take the long route around the building to ask a question, rather than shooting an email. With the weather warming up, we’ve started replacing nightly TV watching with a walk. Every little step counts!
I’m frequently asked by students EXACTLY what my healthy-living plan entails.
Lately, like most people, I’ve been more aware of eating healthy and exercising as warm weather approaches. I think it’s important to ‘practice what I preach’, so without further adieu I give you:
MY FULL DISCLOSURE WEEK-LONG SLIM DOWN REGIMEN
I’m definitely someone who loves routines. Because of that, my diet consists of the same thing pretty much everyday up until dinner.
BREAKFAST [5:30am] : I drink a large glass of water first thing in the morning. I always wake up dying of thirst! My next move is to my Ninja for a basic green smoothie. I prep my smoothies for the week using my big-batch smoothie cube recipe. This way, I just throw it into a blending cup and top with oats. I also take a DIY iced coffee to work with me for a caffeine fix.
LUNCH [10:30am] : Greek yogurt with granola is a highlight of my day, at least food-wise. I love the texture! Because I spend the middle of my day driving, I eat an early lunch followed by an afternoon snack.
SNACK 1 [2:00pm] : This is my next chance to eat, and I’m usually pretty hungry! I choose a piece of fruit with almonds so that my snack fills me up AND gives me more protein and fiber to stay full.
SNACK 2 [4:00pm] : I only eat this snack if I’m not working out that day. If I do work out, I usually will right after school and then just eat dinner right afterwards. Sometimes this snack gets bumped to after dinner, or omitted entirely. Air-popped popcorn is a great whole grain snack that doesn’t involve all of the fake chemicals in traditional microwaved popcorn. As a bonus, this snack is also very low calorie.
My water drinking deadlines are 20oz [my water bottle size] before my smoothie in the morning, by the time I eat my first snack, and by the time I go to bed. I also have coffee in the morning and seltzer with my snack. Don’t believe the hype that coffee dehydrates you- it only has that effect after you reach EIGHT CUPS.
I do an at-home circuit training DVD 3x a week for 30 minutes. I wrote a post about it here. On my off days, I walk more with the help of my trusty fitbit.
My dinners during my ‘cutting back’ week purposely up vegetable content and decrease [NOT ELIMINATE] pasta/rice.
MONDAY: Salmon with Italian Veggies: recipe coming soon. I use Ree Drummond’s recommended salmon cooking method. All you have to do is sprinkle salmon with lemon and seasonings, and pop it into a cold oven. Set the heat to 400 and your timer to 25 minutes. Perfect salmon every time! I sprinkle the same seasoning on my veggies as my salmon. I made a little of my favorite quinoa/rice blend for my hungry co-diner.
WEDNESDAY: Greek Chicken Salad
THURSDAY: Stir Fry
FRIDAY: Chicken Over Italian Greens
And of course, I must end on something sweet. When I’m trying to be extra health-conscious I always treat myself to a little morsel after dinner. Without it, I end up feeling deprived! My go-to is a piece of yummy dark chocolate.
There you have it! The no-holds-barred peek at what a week of trying to cut back looks like behind closed classroom doors. I realize a week has 7 days in it, not 5…but we tend to eat out or with our families on weekends. I just apply the same logic to whatever is available; extra veggies and less breads/pasta. I wrote more tips for eating healthy eating in restaurants in my survival guide part one and part two.
Some research shows that we eat our most healthy meal early in the day at the beginning of the week, and slide downhill from there. Do you find this to be true in your life? I know I’m guilty of it! Saturday night is certainly when I’m most tempted to junk out.