People (me) always go around saying that they are going to start eating clean. What does “clean” actually mean though? For the longest time, I had always thought that eating clean meant no ice cream and no cookies, but it did mean Wheat Thins, cream cheese, frozen yogurt, cheeseburgers, and chicken nuggets (chicken, right?). I had a skewed view of what clean eating actually was. After some trial and error and a whole lot of research, I finally can say that I have a better understanding of what clean eating is!
This is really important! Eating breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and it basically lays out the foundation for the whole day. Depending on what you eat, it will either provide you with energy or it will make you tired for hours to come! I eat breakfast every single day and although it might seem like it is no big deal to skip, it really is a big deal!
incorporate the core three
You might be asking, hey Sally, what are the core three? Well, let me tell you! The core three things to include in your diet and in every meal (try to!) are those that are known as the macronutrients. You might have heard people talking about macros and counting them, which is something that I do not do. Macros are important because these are what your body depends the most on. Your body needs carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. These make up the bulk of what you eat and by including these in every meal, you can make sure that you are getting all of the nutrients your pretty-little-self needs.
I’m sure that you’ve heard of people eating 5-7 times a day. Why do they do that, though? Doesn’t that just mess everything up? I used to ask myself these same questions, actually. Again, after doing research, I found that people eat many smaller meals a day for a couple of reasons. People eat multiple times a day to keep their metabolism high. If your body is always trying to digest food, it will constantly be working, which is good! People also do this so that they don’t get hungry and binge eat! Do you ever find yourself snacking in between your big meals? There is a reason for this! Your body is craving more food (obviously) and so by eating smaller, little meals, your metabolism will increase and you will not be quite as hungry by the time the next meal rolls around.
don’t buy junk
This is a big one for me. I love junk food. I love Doritos, ice cream, oyster crackers, sour candy, chocolate, potato chips, fruit punch, and everything else that is terrible for my health. If you think about it, if you can buy the food item in a gas station, my bets are that it is not good for you! Another rule fo thumb is that if it doesn’t expire for a very long time, it probably has too many preserves and artificial ingredients that can harm your body! Make sure to treat yourself, though! Go out and have some froyo with a friend and don’t totally constrict yourself!
eat more grains
Grains! Eat your grains! Grains are so important for both your digestive system, but also for weight loss! Grains contain a lot of fiber that helps your digestive system, which is great. Grains are the “good types” of carbs, a discussion that is too long for this post alone!
drink your water!
Okay, this one is a given. Drink more water, at least 8 glasses a day! If you don’t know how much water you should be drinking, either go off of the color of your urine, or take your body weight and divide it by two. The remaining number is how many ounces you should be drinking per day!
don’t replace meals
This was hard for me to understand: not all protein bars are good for you. I used to deem protein bars a clean food, when really, they have so many ingredients that I cannot pronounce, so chances are, they aren’t good for me! When buying foods, look at the label and see if you can pronounce the ingredients and look for a short ingredient list! I used to also replace my breakfast with a protein bar to save some calories and to have a “healthy” breakfast. This is not how it should be, though. Our bodies need whole foods that are full of nutrients- not made in a factory with weirdly named ingredients!
don’t starve yourself
It is so sad that so many girls are starting to succumb to starvation as a method of weight loss and “being healthy.” Starvation is not okay. When you stop eating, you body goes into survival mode and it holds onto the fat that your body has, so not eating will not help you lose weight! In the long run, it is very dangerous and it can lead to some very bad effects on your health. When you starve yourself, your metabolism isn’t running at its full capacity because you are not digesting anything, and so your metabolism slows down a lot and you can gain weight easier. So starvation is a no go. No matter what.
Eating clean is definitely something that has to be constantly worked at. Although it may seem easy to eat with this lifestyle, it can be very difficult, especially when you start craving your junk food! Just stick with it and it will be worth it!