I've been exercising since I was 13. In my early 20s, I compete in full-contact kickboxing. I trained and worked out so much that I needed to eat 6,000 calories every day or I'd lose weight, and yet I still didn't have much of a six-pack. But then I cut these five foods out of my diet, and everything changed.
1. Refined sugar
Before buying anything in a box, bag or bottle, read the label. If sugar is listed in the first three ingredients, don’t touch it. Sugar digests almost instantly and goes directly into your bloodstream. Your pancreas responds by secreting massive amounts of insulin into your blood stream. Insulin makes your body to convert the sugar into fat.
Like most super villains, sugar goes by many aliases. Don’t be fooled. Looks for these names on ingredient labels: Sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose (if it ends in "-ose," it's bad), artificial sweeteners.
Luckily, the sugar that occurs naturally in fruit digests much more slowly and effect your body the same way as the processed stuff. If you've got a sweet tooth that just can't be ignored, opt for fruit with a low glycemic index or use a natural substitute for sugar (find some suggestions here).
2. White flour
This includes white bread, crackers, pasta and cereals. Read the label. If unbleached, bleached, enriched or any other type of flour is listed in the first three ingredients, pass. White flour digests to sugar just as fast as table sugar and produces a similar insulin response.
Instead, eat whole rolled oats and brown rice. They're loaded with nutrients and digest slowly, giving you a steady supply of nutrition and energy for hours. Bread is best avoided all together as even 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grain bread still have a relatively high glycemic index.
3. White potatoes
Is the potato white on the inside? Don't eat it. Potatoes have an ultra high glycemic index meaning they digest to sugar very quickly and cause an insulin spike. Opt for sweet potatoes and yams instead — they're bursting with vitamins and minerals, and are a very slow digesting carbohydrate.
4. Anything deep-fried
Most deep fried foods are breaded with white flour or they're potatoes (french fries). White flour and potatoes quickly digest to sugar which causes your pancreas to dump insulin in your blood turning your body into a fat storing machine. If that weren't bad enough, the food is also dripping in high-calorie saturated fats.
Don't deep fry; bake or grill instead. For a french fry substitute, slice sweet potatoes into fries and bake or grill them. Brush on some olive oil, sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese, and bon appetite. These fries are both good for you and delicious.
5. White rice
Just like white bread, white rice is another refined grain that digests to sugar very quickly. Brown rice is a great alternative, and it's delicious and inexpensive.
When you stop eating these foods, you'll notice that you'll start losing fat like crazy (it's almost scary). You'll also notice that you can eat a lot good, unprocessed food, and you'll still be losing weight.
I totally understand that it's hard to make a change, so start small and take progressive steps. Build upon your progress to get to the next level. You can do it!