As the seasons change we’ll soon be bombarded with weight loss tips, tricks and programs. With the endless amount of info available, it makes sense to want to find the simplest method, which many people say is “Clean Eating.” But it’s a deceptive concept. Everyone has their own rules when it comes to how they eat.

And the more reading you do or videos you watch, the more confused you can become!

Don’t let everyone else make you crazy with their rules. Your lifestyle doesn’t need a fancy name.

Everyone’s life looks different – reality is, the rules for one person may not work for you. The trick is to find what works best for YOUR life!

Below are simple guidelines you can follow that’ll help you develop your own version of Clean Eating.

what is clean eating

There is No Ideal Diet

Toss the idea that there’s a “perfect” way of eating. Stop beating yourself up over something if it’s not working for you! I’m not a big advocate of labels if they cause more confusion, guilt and frustration. So  if you’re trying to fit your diet into a box of perfection, it might help if you stop. Plant-based foods are healthy and we absolutely be loading up on fresh produce. But if you find yourself struggling to eat a certain way, only to binge or feel bad about yourself when you make a mistake, it may be time to evaluate what you’re trying to do. Eat when you’re hungry, listen to your body, fuel your body with whole from-the-earth foods, and recognize that 1 “healthy” meal isn’t going to make the difference – it’s the small, consistent habits you build over time that make up the bigger picture. For more free info on unlabeling your diet, visit UnlabelYourLife.com 

 

You are the Expert on YOU

You know your body. You know what kinds of food make you feel energized and which ones make you feel sluggish. Instead of focusing on what everyone else is doing, start trying new things and giving yourself some time to see how they make you feel.

Do you feel exhausted and bloated every time you eat meat? Maybe you can stop eating it for a week or 2 and see how you feel. Are you full of pep on the mornings you make yourself a green juice or smoothie? Make sure you wake up every morning early enough so you have time to make one. Do you get really gassy after you eat something with a lot of sugar in it? Are you drinking more coffee and soda than water, yet you still feel burnt out throughout the day? Maybe it’s time to make a switch. Our bodies are smart, listen to what yours is telling you.

 

Fuel Your Body

The ultimate goal of Clean Eating is to fuel your body. But if you can’t figure out what Clean Eating is, then how do you know what fuel you need??? Think of fuel as water, calories, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. It’s all stuff our bodies need to survive. What you need to figure out is what your body needs.

Kids needs more of certain things to stimulate brain and bone development. You probably need more calories than a 4 year old but less than a 6’0″ 250 lb man. When it comes to vitamins and minerals, we need the same ones but different amounts. The nutritional needs of a breastfeeding mom are different than a woman training for a marathon. We tend to need more Vitamin D in the winter months because we’re outside less. See where I’m going with this? The point is, when you learn how to fuel your body, you learn how to fuel your life. This is where research and/or working with a professional can be helpful!

 

Healthy Habits, NOT Ridiculous Restrictions

When you start a Clean Eating regimen, or make any diet/lifestyle, the first thing that often comes to mind is “what do I have to give up?”

If you’re trying to make healthy changes to your nutrition, fitness and/or life, focus on what you can ADD into your day. Can you have an extra glass of water? Can you cook 1 new meal each week that’s veggie-heavy? Can you get up 5 minutes earlier to ensure you have time to make that energy smoothie? Paying attention to the healthy habits you can add into your day will help edge out the stuff that’s dragging you down. I see sustainable healthy living as addition, not subtraction.

 

Quality vs Quantity

Instead of focusing on how many calories you’re eating and trying to keep your grams of fats, carbs and proteins in a tiny box, think about WHAT you’re eating. The calories and sugar in candy bar are a lot different than the calories and sugar in fruit.

When you eat quality food, full of nutrients, you give your body what it wants. Making sure you get the vitamins and minerals you need gives you the lasting energy you need, helps you feel satisfied and decreases junk food cravings. Dyes, artificial sweeteners and ingredients, and preservatives can have adverse effects on the body, weight loss and your functioning. Spend a week reading ingredients and labels and paying attention to what you’re eating instead of solely counting calories. Just like the people in your life – see your relationship with food as quality over quantity. Because once you’re full of quality, you don’t need as much quantity.

 

Decrease

Like I said above, don’t focus on restricting yourself. A lot of times that can set you up for failure and then you go overboard, binge and get into a cycle of self-defeat. What you can do is look in your fridge and pantry and take note of what to purchase and eat less of: processed foods, items with dyes, artificial sweeteners (aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, etc.), fake flavors, chemicals, msg, soda, and foods with high sugar content.

That’s not an exhaustive list but being more aware of what’s in your house will help you recognize what you can switch out for something healthier. There’s always a healthier alternative to your favorite junk foods!

 

Increase

Be more mindful of what you’re eating. Increase things like the quality of your food, the time you spend chewing (digestion begins in the mouth!), and the amount of unprocessed food in your kitchen. Increasing both the quality of ingredients and your awareness of what you’re eating plays a big role in your health.

You don't have to give your diet a fancy name to reach your goals! #CleanEating Click To Tweet

 

Clean Eating doesn’t have to be so complicated. It’s about doing what works best for your life and understanding the basics. We get so focused on whether or not something is “clean” that we forget what we’re trying to accomplish.

Make sure what you’re eating matches your goals, whether you’re eating to lose weight, get healthier, have more energy or overall live a healthier life.

You don’t have to give your diet a fancy name. Don’t focus so much on fitting your diet into a box or a label as you should making sure it’s sustainable for your life and ultimately going to help you achieve what you want.