With so many diet fads out there, it's easy to get sucked into the promise of shifting a few pounds fast by eliminating whole food groups. But it can be easy to pile back on the weight when you stop dieting. Giving you that yo-yo effect which is dangerous for your health, not to mention your self-esteem. Give clean eating a go like me, for a steady weight loss that is manageable.
Sugar is a no-no.
Although clean eating might seem hard, in the beginning, it is worth persevering with. If you are eating clean and then sugar or any other processed food is going to be a no-no. Avoid white bread, cakes, sweets and crisps. Wine and beer are also a bad idea as they contain a lot of sugar and they reduce your inhibitions os you could binge eat something naughty. Sugar, in particular, can be addictive and cause huge insulin spikes affecting your energy levels and how you feel during the day.
When we eat something sugary, it is broken down and hits the bloodstream quickly. This produces an initial energy spike which can make us feel good. However just as quickly as it has appeared in your system, it will also fade and this can lead to energy drops. Then you start to crave sugar again, forming a cycle of dependency. There are a lot of people that have this sort of sugar addiction. The good news is it can be broken, and clean heating is the way to do it. By eating clean and minimizing the processed foods you're consuming, you stop these sugar spikes. This means you break the addictive sugar loop. This not only makes you feel better but is good for you or weight too. This is because sugar is often converted into stored fat by the body as we are not active enough to use all the calories it contains. The problem is if you are already struggling with a sugar addiction you probably crave sugar. A good clean eating tip to get rid of this craving is to eat slices of cucumber with a small sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. The cucumber is a great vegetable, which contains lots of vitamins and fiber. It is a healthy snack, and it can help to reduce your cravings. In fact, cucumber is a pretty amazing health food, see this great piece from The Alternative Daily for more information.
It doesn't have to be raw
If you are eating clean a lot of people, confuse this with having a raw food diet. This isn't the case if you are eating clean. You can eat cooked fruit and vegetables and also other items that are not processed like wholemeal bread and pasta. Of course eating raw vegetables is good for you because they are not broken down so much by cooking, and therefore, it helps to keep your system clean. It also takes more calories to burn raw food, as well as it having extra vitamins that are not destroyed by the cooking process. However, a mix of raw and cooked food is acceptable. If you're not used to eating much raw fruit or veg buildup from one piece of the day and realize that even slow progress is good progress.
A spiralizer is your best friend
A massive trend in healthy eating at the moment is the spiralizer. It's a great way of preparing your vegetables differently. This works well for clean eating because you can have vegetables in the place of processed foods. So instead of eating pre-prepared spaghetti which contains a lot of flour and sugar and you can have vegetable spaghetti. This way you still get to eat your favorite dishes but in a cleaner way.
You can still have treats
Baked good should always be an occasional treat, but if you're eating clean, you don't have to cut out tweets altogether. Try making them yourself. You can bake wonderful brownies with black beans and avocado instead of flour and sugar. It can also use cocoa nibs instead of processed cocoa. There are lots of exciting clean eating baked treats that you can try so have fun and experiment and enjoy yourself.
Watch out for hidden processed food
When you first begin your clean eating regime, you need to be careful and read the labels of any foods you buy. This is because you can be consuming process food without realizing it. A particular offender in this category is salad dressings. Of course, a salad is perfect for your clean eating regime. But if you're drenching it in a fat or sugar field dressing, then all your good work will be undone. Make your own dressing at home with olive oil, lemon, balsamic vinegar, and salt and take a little pot with you so that you can eat your salad on the go.
The 80-20 principle
Lastly, a practical way to stick to clean eating is to is to keep to the 80-20 principle. That is when you eat clean 80% of the time, and you are a little bit more relaxed the other 20%. This allows the occasional weekend treat like a glass of wine or bar of chocolate. If you are too strict on yourself, you will not be able to keep the diet up as a permanent lifestyle change. Remember fad diets don't work and can end up being worse for you than staying at your original weight. Stick with a manageable plan. Keeping to the 80-20 principle that means you've got 18 clean meals a week. Then for the other three you can be a bit more chilled with yourself, so you can eat out, get a pizza or have those chips that are calling you.
If you do happen to go off plan a bit. Don't worry, be kind to yourself, forgive and out it behind you and just pick up where you have left off. This is the frame of mind that you will need to be successful at clean eating.