If you want to lose weight and stay healthy one of the best ways to do this is to choose clean eating over yet another diet.
When faced with the new year or swimsuit whether, you find yourself making a promise to yourself to lose those extra pounds.
How many times have you made that same commitment, only to fail? If you approach each diet focusing on what you can’t eat, then you are bound to fail.
Well, this time you stand a better chance at finally reaching your target weight. How?
By foregoing the doomed to failure process of dieting and starving yourself…
You’ll be able to satisfy your hunger while you lose the weight. How?
Through clean eating.
Clean eating revolves around what you can eat, whereas dieting is all about what you can’t eat.
What is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is simply consuming whole foods or foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. This means eliminating all things artificial and processed, such as most diet sweeteners and preservatives.
Unlike other diets, which can leave you hungry and lead you back to that leftover cake in the fridge, clean eating does not require that you refrain from eating.
You also don’t have to sit out a get-together with friends because you’re on a diet.
Eating clean is just choosing the healthier options, the food that will satisfy your body’s needs in the most wholesome way possible. Unprocessed, whole foods will give your body what it needs without the added unhealthiness.
It’s the extra junk you’re not aware of that are sneaking those extra inches into your waistline. Eliminate them from your diet and you will lose the extra pounds.
To achieve this, you must have an awareness of the food you are eating, including the methods it took to get your food from the farm to the plate.
Of course, this isn’t always easy at first.
But taking baby steps will get you there soon enough.
How Does Clean Eating Contribute To Weight Loss?
You might have tried one or more diets in the past to help you lose weight.
Weight increases when the amount of calories you take in exceeds the calories you burn. Therefore, the less you eat, the more weight you’re supposed to lose, right?
However, recent studies have shown a surprising trend in nutrition and weight loss. It’s not about the quantity anymore but the quality of the food that you are eating.
Processed foods like milled grains and the foods created from them—white bread, white pasta, among others—contain carbohydrates that are rapidly digested.
These foods are so easily digested that they will cause your blood sugar and insulin to spike, so that you’re too soon hungry again.
In contrast to foods made from whole grains and complex carbohydrates, you will feel fuller for much longer so you don’t overeat as much as you would from a diet rich in processed grains.
The same holds true for sugary drinks and beverages. This study has shown that your favorite sweetened drinks contribute to your girth more than you know.
Ignore the myth that artificial sweeteners promote weight loss, in fact they can contribute to your weight gain because they enhance your appetite.
How To Start Clean Eating
Eliminate All Processed And Artificial Foods From The Pantry
You were doing so well until you saw a bottle of cola in the fridge, persistently calling your name. Before you know it, you’re guzzling the thing and then, feeling guilty about it.
Foods with added sugar, even the artificial ones have never benefited your health or your waistline. Diseases like metabolic syndrome and obesity are linked to increased intake of sugar.
Unfortunately, these things are everywhere.
Including your own home.
Therefore, the first step to eating cleaner is to eliminate all processed and artificial foods from the fridge and the pantry.
Remember—out of sight, out of mind. You’re less likely to eat junk food if it isn’t right in front of you.
Start A Meal Plan—And Stick To It!
Sometimes, it’s just not enough to decide to do it—you have to have a plan of action to tackle the obstacles.
It’s the same thing with choosing to eat clean.
If you want to have a better chance of success at finally shaving off the pounds, you need to start with a meal plan that covers all of your meals. Take everything into consideration, including snacks, so you aren’t hungry and tempted by convenience.
Do you often crave sweets before lunchtime? Plan on a healthier alternative like a piece of fruit.
Taking the time to plan your meals makes it more likely that you will stick to the plan. The act of writing it down changes the abstract goal into a more physical reality.
Also, it just might give you a motivational boost knowing you’ve got a yummy—and clean—snack coming up.
In the past, your weight loss adventure might have included tossing into your cart anything with the words “low calorie” and “less sugar” and then hoping for the best.
However, not all these labels have really helped you lose weight, have they?
Studies have shown that artificial sweeteners, which are often touted as a healthier alternative to sugar, are anything but healthy. The numbers don’t add up and even show an increase in weight gain!
And to think you’ve been using it liberally all this time.
The next time you shop—preferably after you’ve made your meal plan—ditch the diet foods and artificial sweeteners that claim to help you lose weight. Go for complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats. You can also pick up healthier alternatives like stevia if you have a sweet tooth.
Clean eating is not about depriving yourself. It’s more about giving your body the nutrition it needs minus the added junk.
It’s the junk that’s contributing to your weight gain.
To do that, you have to shop wisely and check the labels to make sure you are giving your body enough nutrients without the added junk.
Batch Prep Your Meals
Does this sound familiar?
You come home late from work and eat the first thing that you see right before you conk out.
Sometimes, it’s a healthy salad. Most of the time, it’s probably a greasy meal from the fast-food joint you pass on the way home.
You can’t help it. You’re just too tired to make your own meals.
If this sounds like you, the solution is to batch prep your meals when you’re not so busy, like on the weekend. There are a lot of clean freezer meal recipes you can look up online. Stock up on these for those busy nights or nights you just don’t feel like cooking.
Check out the recipes on our site, like our flexible Mexican Black Bean Quinoa Filling.
Fast food can easily get boring.
Diet foods, too, can get pretty bland, which makes it even harder to stick to them.
Although cooking for yourself can be a bit of a hassle, it’s great once you know what foods you should be eating. The best thing is that you know what you are putting onto your plate.
If you’re not exactly a kitchen diva, there area lot of clean eating recipes online that can spark your creativity. Start with our recipes here.
Or your taste buds.
Do Your Research Before Eating Out
Eating out with friends can be risky but doesn’t have to be avoided.
Clean eating shouldn’t mean that you have to lose your social life along with the junk food. Once you know what to look for and what to look out for, you can easily eat out with your friends.
Review the menus of your favorite hangouts prior to going out and simply select the healthy choices. Ditch the creamy carbonara and deep fried goodness and stick to lean proteins and complex carbohydrates.
Nobody said you had to lose your friends along with the excess fat.
You know that those vibrant veggies and fruits in your supermarket were probably sprayed to within an inch of their lives in pesticides.
And those canned fruits are almost always soaked in sugary syrup, while the canned vegetables are loaded with salt.
Knowing where your food comes from, and what went into it, is a major component of successful clean eating.
So, talk with a local farmer, or find a local farmer’s market, and buy your groceries from them. Not only will this make you aware of the journey your food made from farm to plate, you will also be supporting the local economy.
It’s a win-win situation for everyone!
The Bottom Line
Clean eating is not just another diet fad—it is a healthy lifestyle change that can help with weight loss and amp up your nutrition as well.
The problem with most diets is that there are too many restrictions and you end up feeling so hungry and deprived that you will inevitably cave.
Clean eating is more sustainable than that. You don’t need to starve yourself—you just need a nutritious snack.
Whether you go all in or go slowly, eliminating processed foods from your diet can set you on the road to your target weight.
Combined with exercise, you will be well on your way to maintainable weight loss.
Read our guide on vegetarianism to take this approach to the next level of healthy eating.