No matter how hard you might try toning glutes, no amount of squatting, lunging and planking is going to get you the body (and more specifically, butt) that you want, if your diet is not clean and nutritious. It sucks, we know, but maintaining a balanced diet could be the make or break of getting the body of your dreams. It’s hard at times, to kick bad habits, ditch that addictive junk food, and commit to eating clean, but once you’ve gotten into the swing of things, it can be as easy as pie (or, a healthy version of pie, at least)!
So what foods should you be avoiding? There are three major groups that by cutting out, will reap the most rewards for you and your butt.
It should be noted, before we go on, cutting out foods doesn’t necessarily have to be a punishment. Finding healthier alternatives to your favourite treats can often be incredibly rewarding and can give you a challenge. You should never starve yourself, but instead, cut back on calories, so you are consuming less than what you burn in a day. The average woman needs about 2000 calories a day to maintain normal body functions. Therefore, a diet which consumes about 1500 to 1750 would yield weight loss results. For a man, the average goes up to 2500 calories a day and about 2000 for weight loss. Of course, things become a bit different when you’re trying to gain muscle, but generally speaking, keeping your calorie intake between 1500 to 2000 for women and 2000 to 2500 for men, is the ideal range to maintain a healthy diet.
Now, let’s dive in! Or, cut out!
This will be your biggest food group to cut out, but also the hardest. Nowadays, processed foods have become a staple for most families. They include chips, crackers, snack mixes, cereal bars, packaged bread, biscuits, chocolates, trust us, the list goes on and on. These are the foods that are high in calories and low in nutrition. Basically, they’re the exact opposite of what you need and somehow can trigger an overeating response in most adults, which promotes weight gain, and zero muscle gain. It’s important to try and cut as much of these foods out of your diet as you can, and replace them with fresh alternatives, and foods high in protein like chicken, beef and fresh fruit and vegetables.
Here are some processed foods, and some fresh alternatives you can try instead!
Crisps vs. Almonds
2. Cereal vs. Plain Yogurt with Natural Granola and Berries
3. Packaged Pasta vs. Chicken and Rice
4. Biscuits vs. Fresh Fruit Salad
The Supermarket vs. The Market
If you’re having trouble finding healthier alternatives in your shops, try finding the locations of local markets, as many local growers will set up stalls there. It’s a lot easier to find a bargain, and we can almost guarantee their products will be process-free!
Sugars are found in just about everything these days, even in your milk and fruit. But don’t be deterred as soon as you see the word sugar, just be wary, as a lot of the time, it is added, processed sugar. Natural sugars are fine, and while they don’t give you any added nutritional bonus, they are good carbs to use for everyday functions, that is walking, standing, etc. Make sure you’re reading ingredient lists before you buy things, to see what sugars are in your food.
Try avoiding sucrose, fructose, dextrose, and corn syrup, as well as artificial sweeteners, as these have been proven to actually promote weight gain. Here’s a list of foods that have added sugars, and a list of foods that have natural sugars.
Added Sugar Foods
Dairy Desserts (such as ice cream)
Breakfast Spreads (such as Nutella)
Cereals (such as Coco Pops)
Fruit Flavoured Yogurts
Flavoured Coffees and Iced Teas
Canned Foods (such as fruit and baked beans)
Natural Sugar Foods
Fruits (such as pineapple, apples, oranges, pears, kiwifruit, passionfruit, watermelon, etc)
Berries (such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
Vegetables (such as carrots, beets, sweet potato, potatoes, yams, and parsnips)
Natural Greek Yogurt
Dates, Dried Cranberries and Raisins (but check first, as some companies will put in sugars to sweeten them up)
Most people don’t even realise how much sugar and calories they’re ingesting when they have a drink. This can include alcoholic beverages, and non-alcoholic drinks such as juice, soft drinks, coffee, and tea. Because it’s a liquid, your body won’t register it as satisfying, even if you’ve just ingested a third of your calorie intake for the day. You’ll still be hungry, and often times the sugar will tempt you to continue overeating, and before you know it, your calorie intake will have skyrocketed! Even electrolyte-packed drinks can often be high in sugar, so always take them with a grain of salt, and remember to read the labels of everything you’re drinking, not just eating.
The best option for drinks will always be water, your best friend before, during, and after a workout, but unsweetened herbal teas can also be beneficial, as well as high protein smoothies.
Here is a recipe for a protein-packed smoothie that you can try. Remember with protein smoothies, it’s best to have them within 30 to 60 minutes after finishing up your workout. Whey protein (which is used in this smoothie) enhances muscle growth and helps to push the body to repair the worked fibres.
Tropical Power Shake
Contains 58 grams of protein, 12g of fat, 46g of carbs and 8.5g of fibre
2 scoops Vanilla flavoured Whey Protein Powder
1 cup of pineapple
1 cup of spinach
1 tbsp of ground flax
2 tbsp of unsweetened coconut flakes
½ cup plain yogurt