You did it! You got your gym membership and are super amped about your new exercise routine. You are crushing the HIIT cardio and lifting weights like a boss! The only problem is that the weight isn't coming off as fast as you'd like.
Sound familiar? If it does, it is time to take a closer look at what is going onto your plate and into your stomach. I hate to break it to you, but no matter how hard you try, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet. If you are anything like most Americans, your diet downfall is fried food, salty snacks, and sweets. When creating a healthier lifestyle, cutting all of the fun stuff is no fun and can detour you from wanting to continue on the healthy path. I am here to tell you that you don't necessarily need to throw all of the yummy stuff out the window. The best way to begin weaning yourself off of the junk is by making little healthy swaps and changes to each treat. After a while, your body and taste buds will get used to the healthier version and you will stop craving the crap that’s sabotaging your weight-loss. It is easier than you think to disguise healthy food as your favorite decadence. Here are four fun ways to fake your favorite indulgences.
"In recent years, frozen yogurt has become all the rage, mainly because it is marketed as a healthier version of ice cream. It does seem too good to be true that this delicious “low-fat” frozen treat swirled into your cup in unlimited amounts is actually healthy. Well, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Sorry to break it to you, but “low-fat” does not mean low-calorie. Most froyo is packed with sugar, calories, and all kinds of chemicals to boot. To top it off (no pun intended), you get to choose from a vast array of highly caloric toppings that double or even triple the sugar content in your oversized paper cup. Bottom line: If you are trying to lose weight, stay away from the froyo joints and make this clean version at home."
Potato chips are extremely dangerous to your weight-loss goals because it is almost impossible to only eat one serving. How many times have you found yourself staring at an empty bag of chips with greasy, salty fingers wondering what just took place? Because of their crunch and high fat content, chips are quite addictive, and popping open a bag will usually lead to mindless munching. This is a dangerous habit because most potato chips are very high in sodium and trans fats like partially hydrogenated oils. Also, many contain genetically engineered ingredients that could be detrimental to your overall health. Before you know it, you will start to see the backlash on your backside. Instead of trying to challenge the chips to a portion control duel, my advice is to not even pick up the bag in the first place. Instead, bake up a few batches of these baked veggie chips and go to town!
Pancakes are a breakfast staple. Nothing reminds me of my childhood more than a huge stack of pancakes with whipped cream and loads of maple syrup. Unfortunately, my metabolism isn't that of a 10-year-old anymore and a stack of sugary, buttery pancakes every morning will pack on the pounds faster than you can say “Bisquick.” The good news is that there is a ton of ways to make healthier versions of pancakes! In fact, these clean pancakes are so delish, I actually like them better than the real thing. Try making these apple cinnamon pancakes for all of the flavor and none of the guilt.
Ugh, French fries. These greasy guys will send you down a bad path quickly. One medium serving of typical fast food fries will cost you 378 calories, 17 grams of fat, 45 grams of carbs, and 221 mg of sodium! A happy world would be a place where we could eat French fries and not see the repercussions on our waistlines. Guess what? Creating a healthier version of French fries is super easy and quite delicious! These baked sweet potato fries are a total game changer. Give them a try!
Jennifer Leah Gottlieb is certified as a personal trainer and weight-loss specialist by The National Academy of Sports Medicine. She built a successful business training a large roster of celebrities and many of Manhattan's elite. Jen has a knack for designing healthy meal plans, and she has helped clients lose hundreds of pounds throughout her career.