There are more diet plans out there than there are days in a year. Many people have tried just about all of them and still struggle with their weight. Why is it that diets don’t work in the long run? It’s because they aren’t a realistic way of eating for the rest of your life. They are a quick fix that oftentimes leaves you gaining all of the weight back and then some. The key is to find a healthy way of eating that you not only enjoy but can also commit to long-term. You may be wondering if such a diet exists. The answer is yes and it is called clean eating.
Think of your body in a mechanical sense. Everything we put into our mouths goes through a large digestive process so that we can utilize the nutrients found in that particular food. Let’s say, for example, you choose a cream-filled pastry as a snack. As soon as it enters your mouth, the digestion process begins and the pastry gets broken down, which requires your body to use up a lot of energy in the process. Your body works very hard to break down that pastry as best as it can, but since that pastry is pretty void of any nutritional substance, not much gets used right away. Instead, it gets stored as fat for later use. On the other hand, if you were to choose some sliced melon, the nutrients it contains are far more recognizable to the body and can be more readily utilized. Nutritionally speaking, the closer the food is to its natural state, the more you will benefit from what it has to offer.
You may remember one of our past articles in which we explained the main idea behind clean eating. To recap, it is basically eliminating processed and refined foods, reducing added sugars, and focusing on whole, natural foods. Simple enough, right? Believe it or not, it really is. Admittedly, it does take a bit of extra prep and plan time, but once you have a routine set up, it becomes habitual and before you know it you’ll be craving crispy baked kale chips for a snack instead of the deep-fried potato version. There are several ways to start eating clean; the simplest would be to become label savvy. By reading and understanding nutritional labels, you can learn if there are any hidden sugars or undesirable ingredients. Essentially, if there are words on the package that you can’t pronounce, do you really want to put them into your body? Another easy step is to create a weekly meal plan. This is a helpful tool that allows you to come home after a long day at work on Tuesday and know exactly what your going to have for dinner, rather than scrambling at the last minute and ordering takeout.
Eating clean doesn’t have to happen overnight, but incorporating small steps into your lifestyle will eventually make this approach to healthy eating second nature. If you’re interested in learning more, Fitness 4 Life is offering a Clean Eating Workshop at the College of the Rockies on Saturday, September 22 from 10 to 11:45 a.m. The whole team will be there before and after to offer valley residents free fitness assessments if interested. You must pre-register by calling the College of the Rockies at 250-342-3210.