The Coachella Diet

The countdown to Coachella basically starts the second the festival itself ends the previous year. It’s arguably the most anticipated music event in Southern California, where artists, celebrities, hipsters, and party goers from LA and beyond gather to unite their love for art, partying and fun. Oh, and to enjoy it all while parading around half naked in the desert…

Which brings me to the subject of this post: the Coachella diet.

I’ve been around the block when it comes to diets. Over the years I’ve tried everything from: South Beach, Weight Watchers, no-carbs/no-calories (AKA not eating) and whatever other randomness I’d convinced myself was healthy. At my heaviest, I weighed about 186 pounds (that was in 2008 before I got on WW’s) but since then, I kept my weight pretty consistently around 160lb.

Then I moved to LA. Being here surrounded by the models/actors is surprisingly not what made me skinny — it took a much greater catalyst to change my life for good…Coachella Diet

When I started working at Paramount Pictures the summer of 2013, I considered myself “normal sized” with a few pounds to spare. Of course I wanted to be bikini skinny, but I never really committed to doing something about it. It wasn’t until the morning of 10/1 (before I even knew what was coming) that I transformed for good. Ironically, I realized that my body (like my career) was the direct outcome of my own actions, and that I had the power to choose a healthier lifestyle and greater happiness. Two hours after this break-through moment I got some shocking news: I had been laid off, part of a 90-person head count at the studios that day.

I gave myself 2 days to mope around and eat ungodly amounts of frozen yogurt/Chik-fil-A, re-assessed my situation, decided to undertake a new and extremely healthy lifestyle, and began day ONE of the rest of my life. Here’s how I did it and how I’m getting ready for Coachella 2014:

HOW TO LOSE 15 POUNDS IN 30 DAYS*

1 – CUT OUT ALL CARBS

Absolutely eliminate: bread, pastas, grains (even brown or whole), cereal, rice, noodles, starchy vegetables (potatoes/corn/etc), and nuts. Even “healthy” carbs like quinoa and cous cous should be avoided.

Tips:

– don’t be fooled by gluten-free labels. Yes, you’re avoiding gluten, but food can be made with flour from other items, and flour is a hell-no on the plan

– lettuce is the new bread: you can order almost any sandwich as a salad or without the bun

– heat vegetables like broccoli or something crunchy and put meat/sauce over it to remind you of the real dish

 

2 – SAY SO-LONG TO SUGAR

Absolutely eliminate: candy, dairy (cheese/milk/yogurt), sugary drinks (including juice/lattes/smoothies/soda), alcohol, sugary fruit (bananas/grapes/pineapples/coconuts/dates), dried fruits (cranberries/raisins/papaya), dressing/condiments, food with more than 9g of sugar per serving

Tips:

– fat-free food (like ff yogurt) often means manufacturers replace the fat with sugar…and it’s the sugar in the first place that transforms into fat once in your body!

– Use liquid stevia! Seriously. They sell it in so many flavors and I use it on everything from on my apple slices, to inside my coffee and smoothies. So good. Avoid Splenda/artificial sweeteners though.

– use unsweetened almond milk instead of skim

– 1/2 cup of low fat fat cottage cheese can be substituted in most dishes

 

3 – FOLLOW THIS DAILY MEAL PLAN

Breakfast: 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese

Lunch: 1 serving of each: protein, fruit, vegetable

Dinner: 1 serving of each: protein, fruit, vegetable

*make sure they’re each a different selection from lunch

Tips:

– no snacks

– drink something if you’re hungry in between meals

– chew sugar free bubble gum (with xylitol) to curb cravings and satisfy your sweet tooth. Trident classic bubble gum is my favorite.

 

4 – DRINK LOTS AND LOTS

Absolutely do:  drink as much water, coffee, tea (especially green tea) as you can!

Tips:

– avoid aspartame (go for flavored water over diet soda)

– if you do drink soda (which I do) go for the brands that use natural sweeteners like stevia

– don’t drink your calories

 

5 - HOW TO BOOST THE BLAST

– read food labels and take note of serving sizes. Obey them! Even bags of fruit have way more than one serving in them, so make sure you don’t over eat.

– a serving of fruit should be around the size of your fist / vegetables should be around 1 cup or 2 cups if leafy greens / protein should be 4oz or the size of your open palm p

– eat lean meat and always trim all visible fat

– FROYO is your friend. The brands Sweet8, Carbolite, and Dream D’lite are basically diet desserts that will change your life. 8 calories an ounce, sugar free, fat free, whey based. Amazing. I basically eat it as a meal replacement and it’s incredible satisfying and filling. Don’t eat YoCream brand though (what they serve at most stores). It’ full of the stuff you’re trying to avoid, even though it’s “healthier than ice cream”

– steam your food (veggies and meat). It’s the easiest way to cook everything and it literally cooks the fat right off the meat, to where you can scoop it off with a spoon.

– abandon oils. You think you need it to cook – you don’t. You can use cooking spray instead and it’s calorie free.

– work out 5x a week: 3 days of weight lifting and 2 days of cardio / 30-60 min.

I followed the guidelines above and lost a lot of weight pretty quickly. I can’t guarantee it’ll work the same for anyone else, but it’s definitely changed my life for the better. It’s been almost 6 months to the day since I’ve had any of the carbs I’ve listed (though I’ve slowly incorporated things like dairy back into my life) and frankly, I feel AMAZING.

I am officially the lightest and skinniest I’ve ever been. With losing that much weight comes new confidence, new clothes, a new look, and an entirely new life. It’s almost indescribable how much everything can change when you look and feel this great about yourself.

Though I introduced this the Coachella Diet, it’s really more of the Bad ass Diet. Start it when you know you want to feel like you’re taking over business…and then go out and do just that!

Happy dieting everyone. See you (at your best) at Coachella next year…