Kim Kardashian isn't shy when it comes to her weight-loss goals.And why should she be?
Take one look at her social media and you'll see Kim's kind of the guru when it comes to shedding weight, toning up and turning heads with her sexy curves and a tiny, post-baby waistline.
With all celebrities, though, you know there is really a guru (or team of gurus) behind them -- aka, her team of personal trainers and nutritionists.
Colette Heimowitz, vice president of education and nutrition at Atkins, has worked with Kim as her personal nutritionist. Heimowitz is the real expert in healthy eating, weight loss and a new Atkins study titled The Sugar Gap (more about that later).
I recently sat down with Heimowitz to talk about Kim's meal plan and how we (you know, us non-celebrities) can copy what she's doing.
I asked Heimowitz how Kim, who recently Snapchatted she's seven pounds away from her goal weight, will get rid of those last few pounds.
Kim knows what to do right now. She's been doing this a long time. She lost 60 pounds with the first pregnancy, 70 pounds with the next pregnancy, she did it in college with her dad. So she gets the carbohydrate control mentality. She knows how to cheat when she doesn't want to lose weight, she knows which things are best for her and which carbohydrates to choose, so she kind of knows what to do at this point.
OK, so Kim knows what to do, but what about the rest of us?
It turns out, most people, and particularly millennials, are really bad at understanding the impact of certain foods on the body.
For example, did you know one bagel has the equivalent of 12 teaspoons of sugar?
If you're like me, you probably knew bagels aren't exactly ~healthy~. But I also never thought of them in terms of sugar. While bagels don't contain sugar, what they convert to in your body is the equivalent of 12 teaspoons of sugar.
Going a bit deeper, Heimowitz explained the physiology to me, saying,
The body is only built to circulate about the equivalent of 1-2 teaspoons at a time... but if you're constantly drinking sugar and eating carbs that turn to sugar in your body, you're wearing down your sugar metabolism over time... and a lot of that excess sugar converts to fat, and that's how you gain all your weight.
If you need a visual, she gave a pretty good one:
Our blood is made of protein and if you were to mix protein with sugar, you'd get caramel.
Thinking about caramel running through the body is more than a little bit disturbing, but it's also something that's easily preventable -- even if you don't have access to celebrity budgets and personal chefs.
Heimowitz said it all comes down to one simple concept: Choose foods that have the least impact on your blood sugar.
Before you get overwhelmed and think you can't eat anything, know your diet will include some sugars and carbs, and that's OK. The rule of thumb is to keep sugars at less than 5 grams per serving and net carbs at 15 per serving.
She then laid out three rules, which Kim incorporates into her daily diet, that we can all follow. She said,
Make sure you have adequate protein (because protein keeps you satisfied, you control your hunger), when you pick carbohydrates, pick the highest fiber carbohydrates available and make sure you include some kind of healthy fat with the meal. If you follow those three basic rules, you'll cut back on sugar and carbohydrates, and you'll be healthier in the long run. And that's it!
So to recap...
1. Get adequate protein at every meal (4-6 ounces).
2. Choose high-fiber carbs.
3. Include a healthy fat with every meal.
If you think that sounds complicated, Heimowitz broke it down even further, saying,
If you follow those overarching rules... then you can pick the cheapest form of poultry that you want, or chopped meat instead of steak. You could make your budget meet that. If you're a vegetarian, pick the vegetarian sources of protein, healthy fats -- olive oil's not expensive... and vegetables are always available and they're not expensive, so you don't have to be rich!
Finally, I asked Heimowitz about specifics, like, say you want to lose 10 pounds before a wedding or big event you have coming up.
She told me,
The best thing is to count carbohydrates... Figure out what you're doing now... count the carbs you normally eat in a day, and cut them in half. That's one way to do it... So if you're eating 200... 2-300 is what typically Americans eat, do 100. It'll go slow, it'll go steady, but it's half of what you were eating before. And that's a good first step. If you really need to lose 10 pounds in three weeks, or something like that, and you really want a stricter guard rail, count carbs and keep them 40 to 60.
Atkins released its Sugar Gap study earlier this year and it revealed a lot of alarming facts about Americans' knowledge of the harmful effects of sugar.
So, the wise minds over at Atkins created Sugar Goggles, a virtual reality game, which they're planning to bring to schools to teach students to recognize foods that are high in sugar.
I tried out the Goggles -- and did pretty well, if I do say so myself. Basically, users are taken through an immersive experience where they're asked to pick between two food options.
If you choose the healthier option (the food with the lower glycemic load), you'll continue to move along at a nice pace. If you choose the wrong one, you'll shoot up and crash down, just in the way your blood sugar spikes and crashes after eating food with this "hidden sugar effect."
The game is pretty cool and should go a long way in educating the younger generation about health. As for the rest of us, who just want to know how we can look like Kim Kardashian, it's pretty easy to stick to the three rules above.
By the way, if you refuse to give up your bagels, Heimowitz suggests eating just half, scooping out the middle and then adding peanut butter or cream cheese.