Can you believe there was a time when actress Jessica Alba wasn’t super-fit? It’s true. Jessica admits that she went through a period where she was dealing with inflammation and didn’t feel like herself. Then she met Kelly Leveque and everything changed. Leveque, a celeb health and wellness consultant who completed her post-grad clinical nutrition education at UCLA and UC Berkeley, taught Jessica how to approach food in a new way, enjoy herself, and eat in a manner that felt good. Jessica claims she lost 28 centimetres in six weeks after changing her ways. Damn.
Happily, Leveque isn’t keeping those secrets to herself—she lays it all out there in her just-released book Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What You Want and Free Yourself From Food Drama Forever. Jessica is such a fan that she wrote the forward to her book.
So what’s Body Love all about anyway? For one, it may help Leveque’s celeb clientele effortlessly lose weight, but it’s not a diet. “With lifestyle diets, people start to feel guilty when eating off plan. For me, if you don’t like kale, that’s fine,” she says.
Instead, Leveque focuses on loving your body through food. It’s about “eating the food your body needs to make your skin glow, feed your gut, and give you energy,” says Leveque. She guides clients like Jessica to pick high-quality foods and eat for happiness. And, she wants women to revel in the bodies they have now—not laser focus on an unattainable goal. “Let’s love our figure and frame where we are now and not lose another day body shaming,” she says.
Best part is, there’s no kilojoule counting because you’re focused on eating nourishing, yummy foods in combinations that turn off your hunger hormones. The result is less thinking and obsessing over food, and with that freedom, any excess weight you’re holding onto tends to fall off, she says. “Life’s focus shouldn’t be food. It should be about friends, family, and what makes you happy,” says Leveque.
So how did Leveque get Jessica to food nirvana? Here are her three top tips that anyone can use every day:
Whip up a smoothie: Breakfast is smoothie time. “It sets you up for success by helping you feel full so you can be calmer by the time lunch rolls around and naturally make better choices throughout the day,” she says. A green smoothie with protein powder, avocado, chia seeds, spinach, and nut milk is one favourite.
Follow the Fab Four: “This is your ticket to food freedom,” says Leveque. Make sure your plate has four things: a protein, healthy fat, fibre, and greens. In combination, these regulate over eight hunger hormones in your body and optimise blood sugar balance, she explains. One example is having a beef stir-fry with broccolini or a bowl of zucchini noodles topped with meatballs and Parmesan cheese. (Yum!) With this formula you can go out to eat or order take-out no problem. Just make sure you get your Fab Four, then add something extra, like a glass of wine for fun if you’re out with your girlfriends.
Move with purpose: Leveque gets asked all the time if the best weight-loss workout is HIIT, barre, running, spin… And her answer is whatever you love. “Do something that keeps you happy and you can be consistent with,” she says. Consistency is the x-factor in making your exercise routine work for you. And remember: You’re shooting for happiness here, not overexercise or deprivation. Preach!
This article originally appeared on Women's Health.