Summer’s coming. Time to at least try to shed a few pounds for the bathing suit. You know it’s bad when your kids say, “You need to go to the gym!”

Here’s my foolproof diet that will work for any fool whose main food groups are nachos and See’s candy like mine are … uh, were.

In the last three weeks I have lost five pounds. I know I can look a lot better if I take my kids’ advice and get my gushy self to the gym for some serious cardio and hefty weight training, but in the meantime, this takes zero sweat and zero pain.

I’ve done this before and it always works, I just slowly slip off of it and am back up the scale. I simply take these three things out of my diet: cheese, chocolate and chips. As for chips, that goes for the American munchies as well as the chips across the pond better known as French fries. Pretty much everything fried is off limits.

Cheese sneaks into your diet here and there so that you rarely even taste the hundreds of calories it equates to and the grams and grams of fat that enhance your roundness. Taking cheese off a burger, out of a sandwich and off the snack tray is a huge savings for a cheesy girl like me. I love cream cheese on a bagel or as a spread on a turkey sandwich. Hummus is a good, healthy substitute that I can live with.

Chocolate is also full of fat. No doubt, that’s why it tastes so good. The way it melts in your mouth and envelopes your taste buds. Mmmmmm—delicious! But one Hershey’s* bar has 13 grams of fat. The recommended daily allowance for a 2000 calorie a day diet is 65 grams of fat or less. That means that a Hershey bar would take up 20% of your daily allocation—that would be the fat for a whole meal. I know that if I have a few pieces from a box of See’s Nuts and Chews or a Hershey bar, I’m not doing it as a meal. It’s a treat and as much as I want to believe that treats don’t count, or that the Diet Pepsi I have with it cancels it out, I know it shows up on the scale and as one more dimple on my thigh.

Chips to me are like pasta or rice. I have chips with hummus, chips with cheese, chips as the basis or a topper in a casserole and as croutons in a salad. They are totally a staple to me. Again, full of fat. Lay’s potato chips (which are all natural and so delicately delicious) have 10 grams of fat in 15 chips. Trader Joe’s white corn tortilla chips are 7 grams for 10 chips. Compare that to zero (zilch, nada) grams of fat in pretzels. That’s right—ZERO GRAMS OF FAT IN PRETZELS. Take out the two or three portions of chips I would eat as a snack, and it makes a huge impact in my fat intake. We won’t even discuss the fat in French fries—even sweet potato fries are fries and should be avoided.

The next step of course is the fourth ‘Ch’–no cheating! That means not only not eating this stuff, but being wise to what else you are eating. Eating an artichoke is great. Drenching each leaf in mayonnaise, is not so great even though it isn’t cheese. Though you aren’t eating fish and chips, does not mean that a bacon burger (hold the cheese) is going to be the best alternative.

Think lean proteins, whole grains and move toward vegetable fats instead of animal fats (olive oil instead of butter).

Last but not least is exercise. Muscle burns fat and any help in that area is the right way to go. Cardio is important but it does not build muscle the same way weight training will so make sure you get on those machines or pick up some free weights. Don’t just focus on your core either—work your arms and legs too.

Ch-ch-ch-Cheers! To better health!

* I had to use Hershey’s data as See’s does not include theirs on their website—and there’s non in the house.

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