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Clean Eating

Basic Clean Eating

Can you do it?  Yes.

Will it be easy?  No.

Will you have to plan, organize, think ahead and possibly wake up earlier?  Yes.

Will it be convenient, easy and ideal?  No.

Will it be worth it?  Most Likely, Yes.

Will you learn a lot?  Yes!!

Clean Eating

We all have our own reasons for wanting to clean up our eating.  When I look, I always find room for improvement in my diet.  I believe you can make positive changes in your diet.  You can do it.  The trick is to find balance within the curve.

Ask yourself.  What is your goal?  Where do you want to be?  Are you happy with your body composition?  Are those corn chips worth it?

The obvious answer is : The closer you can get to cleaning up your diet overall, the easier it will be to accomplish your goal.

I’m a Certified NASM CPT and I know exactly what it takes to “take it to the next level” and shed the last bit of body fat.  My core is strong, and yet my six-pack only makes rare appearances.  Surprise!  I’m human too, not any different from most of you when it comes to dedication and commitment:  I’m not perfect, I’m a work in progress too.  Let me add, I am not certified to give you specific nutritional advice, but when you ask me what I eat or how to change your diet, deep down I’m thinking “you know which foods are healthy and which foods aren’t.”   You’re not being 100% honest with yourself about your diet.  It’s ok, that makes you like 90% of us.  Normal.

Recently, I took a hard look at my breakfast–I quickly realized, I had fallen into the convenience trap of grabbing bottled protein shakes for breakfast, protein/cereal bars and among other things using Vanilla creamer in my coffee. For myself, it was easy to get a few more zzzz’s and hit snooze because I was relying on quick processed shakes, supplements and bars to make up for the lost time.  Day after day consuming more nutritionally meaningless food.  I started feeling guilty, because I know better.

My energy level was suffering, I could feel it. My body wanted real food!  It was becoming a vicious cycle, supplementing vitamins and minerals for the lack of nutrients in my diet.  Fed up, I was ready to make a change and reconnect with some real food. So I created a challenge for myself to get back on track and decided to invite some friends to join me!

With new-found motivation, I launched a Spring Fitness Challenge online (focus on basic clean eating) on Facebook.  I have 14 participants, including myself.  An amazing group of super smart ladies of all different levels of fitness are participating.  All positive, no pressure and doable challenges.  The first challenge I posted was a tough one for most folks.  Clean up your Breakfast.

Already, I have come up with options to swap that processed stuff out for the duration of the challenge.  When it’s over, I’ll still occasionally use the bottled shakes, protein bars, vanilla creamers and hit snooze, but I’m glad to have considered more nutritious options and real food instead.  Did you know that eating clean actually means you can EAT MORE??  Yep, you can eat more on LESS calories.  Now, that’s reassuring!  My body wanted it.  My body is already thanking me.

Another perk of creating and participating in a challenge is the paradigm shift when change occurs.  I love it.  My competitiveness is ignited, I’m re focusing, hoping to spread some awareness and its exciting!

Let me share a knowledge tidbit–between clean eating and utter convenience, there is a curve.   Somewhere in between what I know is the best for me and what I can actually manage to maintain, is where I found the foods that I will eat for the rest of my life.

Truth:  Hardcore Clean Eating takes work.  Eating perfect means omitting food, portion control, eliminating foods, measuring and weighing–always.  Strict and rigid, no excuses.

Honestly, hardcore is not a good place to start for regular folks fresh off the couch.  It would be an overwhelming and daunting task. Eating homemade salsa is nice, but without chips–it’s hard.  Have a tough day at work is hard enough, but not consoling yourself with a glass of wine…that’s hard too. Even when we know the consequences, and we have a clear picture of what clean eating is, it is still hard to stick to it.

IMHTO*:  True Hard Core clean eating is drastic, restrictive and unnecessary for most folks.  Unless your training for a figure competition or athletic event, you don’t need to go that far overboard.  People who hinder themselves with rigid dietary rules also have a harder time maintaining a healthy weight over long-term.

Reality Check:  I totally respect the discipline.  Imagine how hard it would be to eat perfectly every day forever, with no deviations?  It wouldn’t be just hard, it would be unsustainable.  Don’t try this at home!  Worse, is eating perfectly for a month then quitting to binge on junk food that wont get you anywhere (except maybe the bathroom).

So, what should you do?  Start small, try implementing the basics of clean eating. Spend some time developing the simple habits of healthy eating and cooking.  Find what you like, don’t like and what works in your life.   Make some better choices and don’t be afraid to try something new.  Exercise!  Be conscious about your diet.  There’s no reason to avoid any specific food to achieve optimal health, a lean body composition and maximum longevity.

What is Basic Clean eating? It means eating more whole foods, avoiding processed foods, eliminating refined sugars, eat 5-6 small meals a day, cooking more from scratch & combine protein with carbs.  Very doable.

As for strictness, I believe a good rule of thumb is the 80/20 guideline.  Eat basically clean 80% of the time, and the other 20% is wiggle room.  Ultimately success is all about finding balance–your own perfect balance–within the curve.

*In My Humble Trainer Opinion