When I first started my journey I knew that I had to find a way to eat better and that it couldn’t be a “diet”. I had done weight watchers and had “counted my calories”, but every time I feel back into the same bad eating habits. I knew that what I did had to be a lifestyle change and that I had to be able to easily do it in order to stick with it.
Honestly I didn’t really know where to start. I had a few friends who would share about eating healthy, as well as tell me to watch video’s on Netflix, but I wasn’t totally getting it and it seemed daunting to me. That’s when I decided to reach out to people who I knew understood how to make this a lifestyle, and that’s what led me to Beachbody. My “coach” was amazing and took me under her wing and answered all of my “stupid” questions and taught me how to make this a lifestyle. So, my hope is to do the same and help you see that if you stick to a few main guidelines, you can actually make this a true lifestyle change. Once you see how much better you feel and how much it will change your body, you won’t want to go back.
SO WHAT IS CLEAN EATING
It’s simple really… get rid of sugar and processed foods, and eat natural foods, such as veggies, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats. By doing this you will see dramatic results. It’s not about the “calories” necessarily, but more about changing what you put in your body.
PROCESSED FOODS – So much of what we Americans eat on a normal basis in processed. Processed foods are foods that have been altered in some way from their natural state. Basically, when reading the ingredients label, if you see a ton of ingredients listed and you don’t know what they are because you can’t pronounce them, it’s most likely processed foods. Why is this bad? Well, processed foods usually include added sodium, sugar, fat, and other ingredients that aren’t meant to be in our bodies. Our bodies can’t process these foods and it makes your body work harder than it should. So, let’s say you do an awesome workout and burn 500 calories, if you are eating processed foods, your body is having to work extra hard to process those foods out of your body and can’t focus as much energy on creating muscle and getting rid of fat. So, your making it much harder to loose the weight.
When I realized this it made total sense. I wanted to see results and if I wanted to see legit real results, I had to cut out all the processed foods from my diet. Was this an adjustment? YES. It was, because most of what we ate at home was packaged food and the least expensive food. We are and always have been on a strict grocery budget, so my goal was always to get the best deals and what was on sale… sadly when you look at the coupons you get in the mail, most of it is processed foods that really are not healthy.
I started looking at labels and really paid attention to what we were eating. If it was processed I said no and found a better option, either in the organic/healthier area or I would make it myself. It was eye opening to see how much stuff I was putting into my body that was actually hurting it – and then I started thinking about what I was giving my kids and realized we were done with processed foods in our family.
How did I get rid of processed foods?? Well, I went extreme… I wanted to see the extreme happen in my life, so I knew I had to just go full force. I went into my pantry and threw away anything and everything that was processed. I think I threw away 6 or 7 bags of food that day. I started over and i’ve never looked back.
SUGAR – Sugar is one of the biggest leading culprits for our obesity problem in the united states. Do you know that most food has added sugars? Look at your ingredients and look closely at what is in the food. Also look at the sugar content and see how many grams of sugar are in the foods you are eating.
Even though it is a requirement to list out all the ingredients in foods, it can many times be confusing because there are so many different names for sugar. Here is a list of all the different labels sugar can be under… ready?….
Anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, raw sugar, sugar, syrup, white sugar, fructose, lactose, maltose, carbitol, concentrated fruit juice, corn sweetener, diglycerides, disaccharides, evaporated cane juice, erythritol, Florida crystals, fructooligosaccharides, galactose, glucitol, glucoamine, hexitol, inversol, isomalt, maltodextrin, malted barley, malts, mannitol, nectars, pentose, raisin syrup, ribose rice syrup, rice malt, rice syrup solids, sorbitol, sorghum, sucanat, sucanet, xylitol and zylose
So how much sugar should you have each day? Well, there isn’t a really great answer, but to give you an idea, according to data by the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NUTRITION, in 2008 most Americans were intaking about 76.7 grams per day, which equals 19 teaspoons or 306 calories – of just sugar!!!!
The American heart association says that the numbers below are closer to what you should consume a day. And these numbers include fruit sugars, so when you think about the amount of sugar you are really eating it’s insane!
SUGAR IS A REAL ADDICTION – did you know that sugary foods actually stimulate the same areas in the brain as drugs do? So, being addicted to sugar is similar to being addicted to cocaine. (SOURCE)
This was a huge aha moment for me when I realized this because it was so true. I would find myself eating gallons of ice cream and not being able to stop. If we had a birthday cake in the house I couldn’t throw away the extra… I would honestly sit there and shove the entire thing in my mouth. Yes, it was embarrassing. But now that I realize it, I was full on addicted to sugar. I couldn’t say no.
For me, I had to treat getting sugar out of my body as I would trying to get over a drug problem. I had to cut it out of my life fully and I had to be strict. It was the only way I could make it work. It was the only way I would be able to succeed. I didn’t allow myself cheat days at first because I knew that if I “cheated” and had a cupcake, I wouldn’t be able to stop… I would eat more and more cupcakes. If this sounds like you, think about cutting sugar out completely and detoxing… it won’t be easy, but once you do it, I promise it’s worth it and so freeing.
Look at all the foods you are eating and avoid sugars… if a serving has more then 6 grams of sugar, find something else to replace it with; and avoid the foods with added sugar.
Here are some things to avoid when getting sugar out of your diet:
Get your sugar from natural sources, like fruit – but even there try to avoid fruits with a ton of sugar in them, such as bananas. I usually eat a lot of berries as they are super healthy for you and include a ton of great other natural vitamins.
EAT MORE VEGGIES, WHOLE GRAINS, AND HEALTHY FATS
When I changed my diet I introduced veggies back into my life. There are so many yummy ways to make veggies and if you learn how to cook and season them right you’ll never turn back. We do a ton of Squash, Zucchini, Cauliflower, Broccoli, and Brussel Sprouts. Many times we will grill these when making chicken or we will bake them with some avocado oil, salt, pepper, and garlic.
We don’t do a lot pasta, breads, or rice, but when we do we make sure they are whole grains. For bread we eat sprouted bread and we get breads that don’t have a lot of sugar.
Healthy fats are good! Avocado oil, coconut oil, avocados, Almond Butter (no added sugar)… these are all good things. You do need to watch how much of them you eat because it’s easy to over eat on the healthy fats, but feel free to add these to your diet!
STAY AWAY FROM “DIET” FOODS
So many of the diet foods out there are processed. They process everything out of them to make them “diet” and then add in stuff to make them “low-fat”. Stay away from words like – Low fat, Diet, Margarine, etc. Look at the ingredients instead. It might have more calories, but if it’s not as processed, your body can process it out of your system better.
There are so many amazing articles out there on clean eating and I highly suggest you do a google search and get more good ideas. We will also be adding more posts and information on clean eating as we continue to grow this website. So check out our blog posts below for more great tips.
For a really great article on clean eating check out this WEBSITE FROM EATINGWELL.COM.