By: Kipp Tribble
A few years ago, I realized I needed to shed a few L.B.’s. I actually worked out constantly but was still pretty bulky. Maybe it was the no cardio/all heavy weights thing. Or maybe it was my horrible diet. I ate pretty much however I wanted, but as it turned out, that probably was not wise. After a few years of this, I had picked up about 25 pounds of fat to go with my 25 extra pounds of muscle. Both of those combined made me look a little too broad. I finally decided to do something about it by making some tweaks to my diet and switch my workout routine. So if you’re looking a little thick anywhere below your neck, check out these diet changes to help you on your way to being lean and mean.
Say Adios to Cows
This was the hardest one to take. I was never a huge beef eater, but I loved me some dairy products. I consumed more milk than any human should and had cheese and butter on pretty much everything. But by cutting out dairy, weight started falling off within a week or two. And if I can do it, anyone can. Axing the cow stuff is a lot harder than you might think, though. Pizza is gone. Creamy dressings on salads are gone. 80% of desserts are gone. Most bread products are gone. It does make going out to eat a bit of a challenge, but the benefits are great. I started running once I made my dietary switch and the energy I gained from cutting out dairy was amazing. I deleted beef as well because it’s one the fattiest meats you can eat. And even though counting calories have been lost in the fat gram/no sugar/no carb diet game, it works the best. Without dairy or beef, keeping your calories below 2,000 every day isn’t as much of a chore than it is with cow in your mouth.
Tip: Soy products — soy cheese included — are great supplements for dairy. Yeah, you’ll get used to it.
Keep The Carbs
Before I started dropped pounds, I had tried a few different diets. I did the no carb thing many, many times and not only does it suck, but it only works for a couple of weeks. I added carbs to my diet. No, I’m not talking about bread and macaroni, I’m talking about things like baked potatoes and rice. Obviously, you add those in moderation and couple them with something like baked chicken or fish and not a double cheeseburger from your local diner. Carbs like fruits are good, but I only did them once a day to minimize the sugar. I’m not a huge fan of most veggies, but I did add those when I could. Green beans and asparagus. After that, my veggie love starts to taper off. But you see what I mean. I started eating more carbs than I did protein and saw major results. Especially if you’re working out, carbs will burn up anyway and you’ll need them to fuel your routine. If you need bread, go the whole wheat route. It tastes better and is much better for you.
Tip: Celery is more tolerable with a little peanut butter on it. Believe it.
I discovered the glorious beverage that is green tea. Well, not discovered, discovered it, that was some dude in China. I approached it as something to keep me going between the meals, but afterward learned it keeps the metabolism rockin’…which happens to burn calories. I usually did the tea drinking midday, but occasionally had it for breakfast instead of coffee. Not many things I’ve tried gives me a quick energy boost — I once downed four Red Bulls and a pot of coffee and had no problem falling asleep — but green tea will kick in about ten minutes after I’ve had it. I also learned it helps with lowering your chances of getting heart disease and some cancers, so that’s pretty cool, too.
Tip: If you drink the tea as a midnight snack, good luck sleeping that night. You’ve been warned.
I had always loved seafood, but only ate it on special occasions. You know, St. Patrick’s Day and during a trip to Vegas. When I made the changes to my diet, I started eating seafood once or twice a week. Salmon, shrimp, ahi, crab legs, and catfish were some favorites. Scallops also found their way down my gullet at least twice a month. Seafood is not only awesome but is one of the healthiest main courses around. Again, I didn’t research the health benefits first, I just did it because I like seafood and needed something to replace the crap I was cutting out. But the more I looked into it later, seafood helps the heart and your joints. It also supposedly helps your brain function better, but I think they were wrong on that one. I am much healthier, but not sure if I would say I’m much smarter. Or smart in any way, for that matter.
Tip: Crab cakes made with whole wheat cracker crumbs are pretty awesome.
Eat More Meals
You always hear that you should eat 6 small meals a day in order to maintain a healthier body weight. I found eating six was a little more than I could do. I do four, sometimes five. Breakfast is a smaller meal and complimented with coffee or tea. Lunch is also smallish and I have that before noon. Around 2:30-ish, I’ll do my midday snack. Something under 200 calories, but enough to kill any hunger pains and help you last until dinner. The end of the day meal will usually happen by 6:30 or 7:00 and be the biggest meal of the day. This is the one I do seafood or chicken with, but turkey products also work great. I used to eat later and that just doesn’t work. Some experts suggest to not eat after 5:00pm, but I say they are crazy. Just don’t eat at 10:00pm. Try and feed your face before prime time TV starts and you should be okay. It worked for me.
Tip: If you want to do five or six meals, make them smaller and eat every 2-3 hours.
Alcohol, Not Dessert
This is one I am sure any fitness or diet expert — or doctors — would mock me for. But it worked for me. And I don’t argue with myself. I cut out desserts unless they were made with Splenda and of course contained no dairy products. But when you’ve finished eating for the day and are hanging out on your couch, your mind will start to drift to that piece of cheescake your gal has in the fridge. In order to curb the diet cheating thoughts, I just added an adult beverage to my night. No, I didn’t just give you a license to down two pitchers of margaritas and pass out by midnight. I’m talking a drink or two that has the lowest calories. Sure, alcohol is just empty calories you are consuming at a late hour, but I found it’s better than eating some crap a couple of hours before bed. Wine is a good choice, but also something mixed with soda water or a diet drink works. Avoid anything sugary, because that’s for sissys.
Tip: No tequila. That could lead to a night of regret.