4 Easy Diet Rules Carrie Underwood Swears By

The country star's trainer, Erin Oprea, shares her tips to help you lose weight while still enjoying what you eat.

Carrie Underwood

Diets are rough. Mostly because the second you start one, you typically have to stop eating everything you like to eat. Thank goodness that's not the case for every plan. Erin Oprea, celebrity trainer and former marine, only requires you to abide by four steps to transform your body.

Need proof those steps work? Two words: Carrie Underwood. A longtime client of Oprea, the musician credits the trainer with her fit physique. And the plan that keeps her healthy and happy is available in Oprea's book, The 4x4 Diet, which focuses on changing the way you look and feel with four key foods and 4-minute workouts.

It might be called a diet, but it's really not. As Underwood writes in the book's foreword, it's more of "a lifestyle" that focuses on eating as cleanly as possible. And the best part? There's no counting calories.

"Your life doesn't have to be around measuring everything you eat and obsessing over it. Just learn to eat clean foods and eat until you're content. How many people are going to overeat zucchini noodles?" Oprea says. "With healthier foods, it's OK if you eat more than 3 oz. of grilled chicken breast. Unlike eating fried chicken, you won't keep eating and gain weight."

Follow these four easy tips to start seeing positive changes to your body and mood.

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Cut Out Starches at Night

Who doesn't love pasta, potatoes, and bread? Don't worry, Oprea isn't going to make you break up with them — you just can't eat them at night. Which makes sense, because eating healthy carbs like brown rice, oats, quinoa pasta, and whole grain bread earlier in the day will give you much-needed energy to get through the afternoon.


"The second you tell someone they can't have carbs, that's all they think about. It becomes an obsession. Or it works for a while, then they eat carbs again for the first time and they can't stop and gain a lot of weight," Oprea says.


Because you're not burning as many calories at night as you are earlier in the day, those carbs are more likely to be stored as fat. Oprea recommends cutting off your carb intake at 3 or 4 p.m. And no, that doesn't mean you can gobble down as much as you want before then — you still have to make sure your choices are balanced.


Still crave pasta at night? Make simple swaps. (Like zoodles for spaghetti! Yum!)

Cut Back on Sugar

We all know sugar isn't great for our bodies, which is exactly why our daily allotment is getting smaller and smaller.


Oprea recommends that you don't worry too much about how much natural sugar you're eating from fruit, but do focus on cutting back on added sugar instead. Look at nutrition labels carefully and don't pick up anything that has more than 5 g per serving.


Also, be wary of baked goods, sauces, soda, and other foods that commonly have a whole lot of added sugar, sometimes sneakily disguised by these different names.

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Cut Back on Sodium

Buh-bye, sodium! Sure, salty french fries taste amazing, but it adds up quickly. Oprea recommends all her clients keep their daily sodium intake under 2,000 mg per day. This is another case when it's good to pay close attention to labels. Packaged deli meat, cheese, and even bread are common culprits of high sodium levels.


An easy way to cut back on sodium during the day? Instead of using salt, Oprea recommends experimenting with other spices and low-sodium seasonings to achieve your desired flavor. Oh, and saying goodbye to fast food is probably a good idea, too.

Cut Back on Alcohol

Don't worry, you don't have to completely swear off your wine nights. But Oprea does emphasize how many calories (and empty calories, at that) alcoholic beverages have. To beat the bulge, she says to stick to no more than two or three drinks per week. And if you still want to drink, try a healthier version or mocktail instead.

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