Autumn Calabrese, a nutrition and weight-loss expert and wildly popular Super Trainer for Beachbody, has helped thousands of people lose 10, 20, 30, even more than 100 pounds—all without dieting.
In fact, the cover of her new book, Lose Weight Like Crazy, Even If You Have a Crazy Life!, promises that you can “Enjoy Carbs, Cocktails, and Even Desserts!” while losing a significant amount of weight. Sounds crazy, right? So, we asked her how that’s possible… and to share a few secrets of her successful weight-loss plan.
“First of all, you’ve gotta get rid of the words ‘diet’ and ‘no,'” Calabrese says. “Banish them from your vocabulary. The second someone tells me, ‘No, you can’t eat pizza, no, you can’t have dessert, well, that’s all I can think about: pizza and dessert. I’ll bet you’re the same way. Then, when you fall off the ‘diet wagon’ and eat one of those ‘taboo foods,’ you feel miserable, like a failure.”
Calabrese says she’s personally experienced the self-loathing that “no one deserves,” and quickly realized that diets of deprivation do not work. What does? “Gaining control,” she says. “Look, it’s not realistic to think you can control everything in life, but one thing you can control is what you put in your body.”
In her new book, Calabrese offers a 30-day plan to help you regain control of your eating habits and your life. Here’ a preview of the five-point guide she swears by, which is easy to remember: “Just act a little C.R.A.Z.Y.” Read on to see what this acronym stands for and how to follow it yourself. (And, for more weight loss tips, make sure to sign up for our newsletter.)
Not just junk food, but healthy food, too. Calabrese tells the story of having lunch with a client and friend who was frustrated with losing and gaining the same five pounds. They both ordered salads and like most restaurant servings they were huge. “While I ate a fraction of mine, she cleaned her entire plate. I told her ‘that’s your problem,’ pointing to her plate. ‘That’s not just a salad, that’s at least 4 servings of lettuce, 4 servings of chicken, 4 servings of cheese, croutons, pasta, and dressing to cover it all.’ I checked the menu—sure enough, that salad was over 1,400 calories!”
The all-important rule of healthy eating is practicing portion control at every meal and snack, Calabrese stresses. “When you control portions you won’t stretch out your stomach making it harder to feel full quickly, you won’t tax your digestive system or encourage your body to store extra fat. You’ll keep your body energized throughout the day and keep your metabolism revved up.” (Related: 27 Weight Loss Rules That are Actually Making You Gain Weight.)
While you can overeat on healthy food, most people aren’t doing that, says Calabrese. Instead, she says, “we are overeating on the highly processed foods, the ones loaded with added sugars, preservatives, food dye, salt, and hydrogenated oils. If there is one thing you can do right now to be a better, healthier, leaner, lighter version of yourself, cut way back on these processed foods, if not eliminate them completely. The best way to do that is to prepare home-cooked meals from real, whole ingredients.” Calabrese’s brother chef Bobby Calabrese created 27 easy recipes for her book that can help you do that. Bobby is also the cohost of her online healthy cooking show FIXATE.
This isn’t as foreign as it may sound. There are three macronutrients: Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats. All are necessary in a healthy diet. Where we often go wrong, however, is that we overeat one and ignore another. “It’s important to have the right balance of macros,” says Calabrese. “In my book and my Portion Fix program, we use a 40-30-30 split that works best for weight loss, meaning 40% healthy carbohydrates, 30% lean proteins, and 30% healthy fats.”
Diets are disasters, says Calabrese. They turn food into something it’s not. “Food is not a reward for when you do something well or a punishment if you feel like you did something wrong,” she writes. “It’s not a coping mechanism to deal with a hard day. Remember that food is fuel. It’s what creates your body.”
The Y in the CRAZY acronym stands for the very important first step in any weight-loss plan, says Calabrese, identifying the deep reason, the driving force for starting a healthy way of eating. “Your ‘WHY’ is what keeps you on track on the hard days,” says Calabrese. To start exploring your WHY, Calabrese recommends answering these questions–and summarizing WHY you want to lose weight for YOU:
- What will happen when you lose the weight you want to lose?
- How will you feel when you lose the weight you want to lose?
- What would happen if you didn’t lose this weight?
- How will you feel if you don’t lose this weight?
“Once you’ve found your WHY, write it down—’I’m doing this to … __________________.’ And say it to yourself over and over again,” says Calabrese.
For more tips from Autumn Calabrese, check out 10 Best Ways to Lose Weight Like Crazy, according to a Celebrity Trainer.