Have you ever had a special occasion, party or wedding that you wanted to look your best for?  Did you panic when you struggled to fit into an old favorite dress?  Let me guess, one week to drop a few pounds and get that zipper all the way up right?  Welcome to the club….we’ve ALL been there plenty of times.  
To me this is like cramming for a test.  You know that if you just studied a little bit every day, you would be ready for any pop quiz that came your way.  Instead you procrastinate, stress out and stay up all night preparing for that awful test.  Well dieting really does work the same way.   Starving yourself and/or fasting a week prior to the event is horrible for your body.  The goal here is to learn how to diet naturally and gradually so that you never need to “cram” so to speak.  I mean come on!  Is it really worth it to put your body through hell and back for just four hours in that little black dress?  

In one of my previous blogs, I talked about how 80% of your fitness goals are based off of your diet. You may have heard the term CLEAN eating. It very simple really, clean eating refers to unprocessed foods that are healthy for your body. Its tough these days to make time for it all.  Yet if you dedicate yourself to it and make fitness a priority, you can wear that dress anytime!

Here’s what it takes….   

Organization & Time Management: Get organized! Plan your week in advance so that you can shop for and cook the right foods.  In no time at all you can treat yourself to healthy and clean meals that taste great. When in the supermarket, remember to:

1.       Shop the perimeter of the supermarket: Most of all the ‘right’ foods to buy fall on the outside perimeter of your local farmers market/grocery store:

a.       Fresh Fruits & Veggies

b.       Dairy & Lean Meats

c.       Whole Grains

d.       Clean Beverages

e.       Frozen Items- raw veggies & fruits for smoothies

2.       Practice portion control by purchasing food containers- Store your meals in reusable containers (Tupperware). Its an easy way to preserve the environment and always have cooked meals available.  Not only will they stack up nicely in your refrigerator but you save money and the environment.

3.       Pack 5-6 SMALL meals/day: Here is a sample eating program to shop for:

a.       Meal 1: Oatmeal topped with fresh berries

b.       Meal 2: Rice Cake with natural nut butters and natural jelly

c.       Meal 3: Salad with grilled chicken/fish and assorted veggies

d.       Meal 4: Handful of raw nuts with a piece of fresh fruit/raw veggies

e.       Meal 5: 2 Hard Boiled Eggs with a Protein Shake

4.       Fluids: Help determine your level of hunger. Stress eating can & will catch up to your waist line so making sure to drink lots of fresh water with lemon / green tea throughout the day & prior to each meal will help you determine your level of hunger. If you have a sweet tooth for colas, try using flavored Stevia packets in your water or worst case crystal light. 

Now all you have to do is couple your new clean diet with 3-4(beginner) or 5-6(advanced) days of exercise! You may just find yourself at that cocktail party or special event sharing your new diet tips. Just remember to tell everyone where you found them.

Have a healthy day,

Stacey CSCS, AFAA, ACE certified