24Life: What are your best tips for successful meal prep?
KC: Start small. Don’t try to overhaul your diet all at once. Little by little, make changes and build your confidence so that you can ease into, and then accelerate, success. Prep individual items, like batches of chicken and beef, flavored quinoa, grilled veggies, fresh veggies and another complex carbohydrate. Then mix and match throughout the week so you can have variety.
24Life: What are your top mantras for maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
KC: Keep it healthy but never boring. Our bodies are built in the kitchen but sculpted in the gym. Avoid “zip-locking” your life or closing yourself off from new experiences in order to wait for the perfect moment. Break the seal and live your best life now. This is a journey, not a sprint or even a marathon. Wellness is a continual lifelong cycle of [self-] discovery, with highs and lows. And recognize that even small baby steps, or tripping along the way, is still progress. I remind myself in those moments: “It’s all good.”
24Life: Which ingredients do you not keep in your house?
KC: I try to lessen the amount of processed foods and sugary treats I have in my home. I opt for real, wholesome foods instead of artificial ones. I think it’s wise to eliminate distractions to your diet, which will vary for each individual. For instance, I find it difficult to keep almond and cashew butters at home. While those are healthy fats to incorporate, they are not so healthy if you lack self-control and end up devouring a jar in two days. To combat this, I replace nut butters with raw nuts and seeds. I’m less likely to binge on those and can eat them in moderation.
The same goes for chips or snacks that you mindlessly eat. While it’s fine to have those every once in a while, especially on college game days, try not to make a habit of keeping “munchies” or calorie busters at arm’s reach.
Instead, opt for fresh and frozen fruits, raw nuts and seeds, and even jerky to satisfy occasional cravings. In essence, make it inconvenient, meaning, if you’re craving potato chips, force yourself to drive or walk to the store to get them. That walk/commute may have you thinking differently once you arrive.
24Life: Why is hydration so key to maintaining a healthy weight?
KC: Hydration is one of the most helpful contributors to my weight-loss success. More than just helping me feel fuller, it is rejuvenating and helps transport the nutrients from the foods we eat throughout our bodies. It also helps my digestion. Whenever I’ve felt bloated, nine out of 10 times, my water intake for that day was low. Once I rectify that, my body kicks back into gear and helps push food through my system.
Water is the gold standard, but I tell my followers to drink non-sugary liquids. Avoid drinks with sweeteners; they may increase your cravings for sweets and cause bloating.
And when in doubt, eat your way to hydration. Eating fruit (such as red grapefruit) or crunching on celery with hummus or guacamole are other ways to increase your water intake.