We often hear the saying “Abs are made in the kitchen” and this is very true. The struggle to gain visible abdominal muscles and maintain them, they all come from what we are eating and drinking. For some of us we are designed with flat stomachs no matter what we eat, but many of us struggle to get the defined washboard abs look. With so much information on the web, I wanted to provide quick diet guidelines to follow to get your dream abs! Along with our abs exercise guide and this food guide you can reach those goals.
When designing a meal plan for someone desiring abs its most important to not only show them what to eat, but what not to eat. Understanding why not to eat these items is important so that we know why they are contradictory to our goal. Putting in all the effort in the gym and being lackadaisical in the kitchen is a recipe for destruction. We will began with the food bandits and make our way into the food heroes.
Starting this guide off with the bad food habits, because when we are trying to lose weight we all know those are the hardest habits to break. The temptation of food lurking at us from the table and the aroma of fresh baked goods catches are nose and we give in to the food bandits. Cravings can be difficult to break if we do not have a plan. Finding ways to deal with these food bandits will help us through our journey to health.
Getting to know these nutritional bandits will not only increase your likelihood of achieving that ideal body, but also help clean up our immune system and help aid in alleviating other symptoms related to health conditions. Fast food/junk food is the first thing that usually comes to mind when most people ask for advice in eating healthy. We all know that a diet high in consumption of fast food can lead to obesity and depleted nutritional values. Junk food also goes hand in hand with fast food. Convenience food should never be an option when we are living a healthy lifestyle. Although, we live in a fast paced world, it is to the upmost importance to stir clear of convenience food. The loss of health, firm body composition, and vitality experienced by huge numbers of children and adults alike due to the huge quantities of processed, refined, adulterated, and synthetic foods we Americans consume (Bauman, 2012). These foods are more than likely made from the least expensive ingredients, loaded with damaged fats, artificial ingredients and flavor enhancers. They contain little to no nutritional value.
Artificial sugars and added sweeteners is another major concern when being a clean eater. Majority of us have a difficult time digesting sugar. When we over consume processed sugar and our bodies do not process this quick enough and our bodies then turn to storing this excess sugar as fat. These sugars can be found in refined carbohydrates, table sugar, soda, juices with sugar added, most sauces, and syrups. Sugar is a topic in itself and so much can be said as to why we should avoid at all cost, but lets keep it simple for now keep artificial sugar out of your diet!
Hydrogenated Fats have several categories saturated fats, monosaturated, and polyunsaturated. Bad fats in these categories can be found in saturated fats, which have come from animal based fats such as, butter, meats, and dairy products. By heating with high temperatures, refinement, and commercial farming products are several reasons that contribute to creating these fats in to bandit foods. Since these fats are easily damaged they lack healthful nutrients, and create compounds that our bodies cannot use to create healthy cells.
When it comes to alcohol many people in the fitness industry will say they do not drink or abstain from alcohol. This is largely in part to the fact that most alcoholic beverages of choice are loaded with sugar, calories and the lack of nutritional value found in these drinks. If you are a frequent drinker, this can cause your digestive system to lack the proper function it needs to absorb nutrients and vitamins. It can also affect the way we process and absorb proteins. One other major issue with drinking alcoholic beverages is that it can lead to late night munchies. We make an impaired decision to eat drive through food or convenience stored food because we simply have the urge to eat anything we can without regret. Until, we wake up the next morning and realize how we have over indulged a little too much and now we are faced with the task to burn off all the excess calories. This can be a major set back to any ones fitness goals. Now this does not mean you have to stop drinking all together. For some that is the only way and what works for one person might not work for the next, so drinking alcohol in moderation will not be as detrimental. One or two drinks at an occasion are possible without the guilt. Be smart about the drinks you choose and limit the amount you consume.
Refined carbohydrates are amongst the many of culprits wrecking havoc on your health. These types of carbohydrates can cause slow absorption and spike our blood sugar levels. Many of these refined foods use grains that have been stripped of their hull making them less nutrient dense, but making them softer and lighter. Some examples of refined carbs are white bread, pastas, pastries, white rice, cookies, donuts, pancakes, crackers, pizza dough and many other flour based products that contain the word enriched.
Now went over what not to eat. We can go on for days explaining what is bad and how it affects us, but most of us have an innate instinct as to what is bad food. The food bandit list is lengthy in detail, but just remember if you cannot pronounce the ingredients it’s probably best to keep clear of that food. Fill your kitchen and belly full of healthy nutritious food heroes. These foods are so beneficial to our health and our goals. There are so many to choose from, but our list will cover the basics. Get creative with them and make what makes you want to stay healthy.
Proteins are the most commonly questioned macronutrient when it comes to building muscle ad getting fit. Some people only see animal sources as the proper way of in taking protein to gain strength and health, but there are so many more sources. When eating clean lean proteins its important to make sure we are using portion control. Our bodies are designed to guide us into how much we need or what we need. In general an animal source size of protein should fit into our palm or be 3 ounces. Vegetable sources should be 6 ounces a serving. Examples are cottage cheese, yogurt, wild caught fish, poultry, tempeh, organic soybeans, beans, nuts, seeds and microalgae’s such as chlorella and spirulina.
Unrefined Carbohydrates are our next food heroes to discuss. They can be eaten in abundance and are full of vital nutrients. An important rule of thumb is to eat in color! The more color on your plate the more diverse flavors and nutrients you are consuming. Look to fill your fridge with dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, grapes, berries, and as many other fruits and vegetables you can consume in a week. Whole grains also fall under this list of unrefined carbohydrates. Consuming brown rice, quinoa, millet and corn are very beneficial into balancing a meal. Other carbohydrates to keep in your diet are beans, legumes and oats.
Now on to our fats! We mentioned what fats not to eat and why not to consume these fats, but here are some sources that are clean and beneficial. We need fat in our diet. Without fat we can starve our brains since it is mostly made up of fat. Fats are used to fuel your body, maintain cell structure; certain fats even have the ability to help with inflammation. Sources to keep in your fats list are nuts, avocados, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, seeds, olive oil, and olives.
As I mentioned this is a rough list of items you can consume. The list can go on and on, but as we enter into our journey we usually overwhelm ourselves with the abundance of information so keeping it simple is best. Adapt to your new health plan by incorporating the above mentioned food heroes and take control of your health. Not only is this list for abs, but it can also be incorporated to regain health and even lose weight. Be smart in your choices stirring clear of the bandits and creating a kitchen full of heroes. Design weekly meals around clean proteins, unrefined carbohydrates, and good fats. To gain those abs remember the recipe is simple add exercise and kitchen guidelines along with simple lifestyle changes and you can see results!
While studying kinesiology, Amber Arevalos received her certification in nutrition and personal training. After spending 7 years in a sports medicine and physical therapy office, she pursued a career in nutrition while maintaining her passion for yoga and physical fitness. She adapted her skills learned through being a collegiate athlete, and uses her abilities to guide those looking to enhance their health.
Helping her clients reach there goals through nutrition and physical fitness is only part of what Amber has to offer. Having experience in assisting a wide variety of clientele, Amber has gained knowledge through her own journey as well as learning from those she works with. It’s never to late to regain your health!