Let me guess, you have spent ridiculous amounts of money on diet pills, gimmicks and other quick fixes promising a “new you” in the hopes of losing weight, only to gain it back, and maybe more. As those first few pounds were gone you felt so great about yourself, but that later subsided as the weight was back and you were disappointed and felt like a failure. Well guess what, you are fabulous, and far from a failure. DIETS DON’T WORK!
A UCLA study on dieting reported, “Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits in the majority of people.” They even went on to say, “Dieting is actually a consistent predictor of future weight gain.” Yikes! Guess what they had to say about what DOES work….”Eating in moderation is a good idea for everybody, and so is regular exercise.”
Sure, sometimes you lose the weight (at a cost to you financially, your health, and your body) for a short period of time, but diets cannot give you long-term sustainable weight or fat loss. When going through these drastic changes of dieting, your body goes into shutdown mode and your brain releases hormones telling your brain that you are starving (enter the cranky, fire breathing dragon version of ourselves!). So when the diet is done, your body wants to replenish what it lost, plus some.
When you diet, you are consuming less food, so your metabolism slows down and you also lose muscle in the process. In no circumstance, in a healthy body, would you want to lose muscle mass! Instead we need to focus on what is being put into our bodies, and not how much of it.
There is a stigma against people who diet and then gain the weight right back, like they, the individual, are the reason they gained the weight back due to lack of will power, strength, laziness, ignorance… This puts too much power in weight being a choice or a product of not trying hard enough to be what everyone wants you to be. I read a great quote from an article in TheAtlantic.com that said, “Nutrition and fitness should be directed towards a healthy and improved lifestyle- NOT appearance (that is just a benefit).” And it’s true!
First off, clean eating is not a diet, it is a lifestyle choice. It is making the conscious decision to be happier and healthier, not only for you, but for your family. Clean eating is all about being aware of the pathway your food had to go through from growth, to your plate. It is focusing on consuming whole or real food and reducing or eliminating processed and refined food from your diet. The simple goal of avoiding foods that have a commercial will change your life.
Focusing on raw, organic fruits and vegetables, clean and lean protein, and good fats, the benefits go far beyond just weight loss. You gain more energy, improved body system functioning, improved cognitive abilities, better skin, better hair… the list goes on! Some general tips to remember when eating clean include:
- Limit processed foods
- Increase fruit and veggie intake (organic are the best options)
- Cut down on saturated fats
- Eat more healthy fats like avocado! I personally eat 2-3 avocados a day.
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol and tobacco consumption
- Remove sugars or artificial sweeteners
- Eat lean meats
- Cut out refined grains
- Hydrate – not with sugary sports drinks but with water. If you don’t like water try adding lemon or cucumber for a hint of flavor.
- Tap into your inner Goldilocks and get plenty of sleep…regardless of the bed you are sleeping in.
Keep in mind food is only one part of the weight loss equation. To lose weight and reach optimal health and wellness, you should exercise regularly, practice stress management, sleep proper amounts, hydrate, and focus on your daily nutrients.
Clean eating will help you and your family feel better, long-term. And when you feel better, it shows! Don’t you love that feeling when someone asks you, “You look great! What is your secret?” Imagine that happening every day?!
P.S. Some food for thought (pun intended)….maybe there’s an emotional eating element you need to address in your journey to better health and weight loss? All the diets in the world won’t help you keep the weight off if you are eating (or maybe drinking) your emotions. I love the work Geneen Roth (www.geneenroth.com) and Janet Thomas (www.janetdthomas.com) are doing in this arena. Consider pairing a clean eating program along with addressing your emotional eating issues on your journey to optimal health.