By Brent Moore, CSCS
“Eating clean” has become one of the most thrown around phrases in the past couple years when people start talking about eating and fitness, but it is unlikely that most people who speak about clean eating really know how to eat clean for their own bodies. People too often associate eating clean with Paleo, Whole 30, and low carbohydrate diets. In reality, eating clean is just a way of saying that one is not eating junk food or prepackaged food and instead chooses to prepare his own food with fresh, nutrient dense ingredients. The problem with eating clean is that there is a lot of misinformation out there and choosing the right foods for you is not always as simple as eating what somebody on the latest blog said is good for you. It can also be very difficult to shake the cravings of foods that you have relied on for so long to give you joy in eating and speed in preparation. At the end of the day, getting the results you want out of your fitness and nutrition regimen will require a little sacrifice, a bit of hard work, and a whole lot of perseverance.
There are a lot of factors that come in to play when trying to lose weight. Some people seem to lose weight with relative ease while others change their eating to mirror that of nutrition gurus, workout more than trainers, and still only see the scale drop a pound or two every month. The truth is that genetics play a role in the makeup of your physique, but eating right and exercising regularly can help you become the best version of you. The first thing that you have to do is get rid of the cravings that keep telling you to eat the garbage that has put you in your current situation.
Eating junk food makes you crave junk food. In order to stop craving it, you have to stop eating it. You are likely thinking that this is easier said than done, but there are strategies that can put you on the winning side of the junk food battle.
First, you have to get rid of all the junk food in your house…all of it. Give it away, throw it away, and just don’t eat it.
Second, stop buying junk food. If you buy it, you will eat it. Don’t buy it and don’t keep it in your home.
Third, fill your home with healthy snacks such as kale chips, almonds, or vegetables and hummus.
Fourth, learn to say no. You will likely be invited to a party, go out to eat, watch a game at a bar, or have some other access to junk food that will tempt you. Stop rationalizing the choices that you make with your food. You have not been really good lately, you have not worked out hard enough to deserve a treat, and it is not just one cookie. If you are craving it so much that you have to rationalize the choice to eat it, you are not over the cravings yet.
Fifth, enjoy the change in your cravings. After you have avoided eating junk food for a while, research shows that your cravings will disappear and you will crave more healthy food.
After you have cured yourself of the junk food cravings and you are sure that you are eating clean, it is now exceptionally frustrating that the scale changed and then froze well before you reached your goals. Now it is time to stop eating excessive amounts of the so-called healthy foods that are set as the staple in your diet. Almost any food in excess is going to cause issues in your diet. If you are eating large amounts of spinach or kale, have at it, but if that spinach or kale is coated in olive oil or salt, you may be spinning your wheels. Peanut butter is great, but six servings a day are not doing you any favors. Toast plus cereal plus granola for breakfast is not good for you just because of the fiber content. Drinking smoothies for every meal is not the same as eating healthy; you are not eating a drink. Learn to eat the right amounts of fats, carbohydrates, and protein for your body and adjust as your body changes. In order to ensure you are eating the right amount of the right foods, you need to get organized. This can mean that you may need to track your food, put your food in separate containers, or strictly follow a meal plan.
When you change your body with exercise, specifically resistance training, you create more lean mass, which means your body will burn more calories just to sustain itself. Putting on mass, lean or otherwise, does not always seem appealing to a person wanting to lose weight, but most often when someone says they want to lose weight, they follow that statement with saying they want to “tone.” When people say they want to tone, they often mean they want to burn fat and shape their body in an appealing way. Building lean mass is a must if you want to tone and it can be a secret weapon in burning fat and losing weight.
Eating clean can be something that will help you get to your goals, but it may be that you are not eating as clean as you think you are. Rid your life of all things junk and start choosing healthy food, more sleep, less stress, and regular exercise. Building lean mass, cleaning out your refrigerator and pantry, and learning to train and eat for your body is the key to fitness success. Unfortunately training and eating right for your body can be difficult to learn, but an experienced and knowledgeable fitness professional can help you create a plan that will lead you to the physical self you want to obtain.
Contact us today to become the best version of you!