Have you ever tried eating “clean”? Do we even know what eating “clean” is? Is it all about eliminating full food groups because they are not “clean”. And if we don’t eat “clean” are we “bad” or “cheating”?
“Eating clean is a good way to refresh your eating habits: it’s about eating more of the best and healthiest options in each of the food groups—and eating less of the not-so-healthy ones. That means embracing foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains, plus healthy proteins and fats.” I found this definition on a site about wellness.
So is it a good idea to do a Detox, like a sugar detox?
Have you ever tried a sugar detox, stopped eating sugar for x amount of days and felt completely awesome? Sure you may have had that dip in energy, crankiness, and an overall malaise, while you were detoxing but in the end you felt so much better.
Then after the allotted amount of days are over your first outing or dinner or function there is a table full of every sweet treat you haven’t had in those amount of days.
What do you do?
Can you walk past the table and think I don’t need any of that I feel great without it? Or stay on the opposite side of the room hoping no one around you eats anything near you?
Or leave because those demon sweets are calling your name. And maybe you even think “why” I thought I had this kicked?
Here is the thing I totally get it, when I first started cleaning up my eating many years ago, Mike and I worked on it together. During the week we were on point, got in all our meals, all of our workouts, eating right on plan.
And then on the weekends Mike and I, would do a balls to the walls, full on “cheat” day of donuts, cakes, cookies, soda, pancakes, chips and I would end the day with a bag full of some sort of gummy treat.
Yes we were sick but guess what, we worked our butts off all week long so it was okay to “cheat”. We worked for this, we deserved that cheat. It was a part of our plan to “cheat” save up our “goodies” for the weekend and all week long we would plan for that one day,
“What do you want to eat on Saturday?”
And every weekend for several months we would do this; until this one day crepe d into another day. Then we would feel so crappy after the weekend our daily workouts didn’t happen and our cheat snacks were in the house longer than a day.
Our “cheat” habit showed when we started gaining weight and really feeling like slugs.
Hence we would punish ourselves with eliminating full food groups again for a period of time and the cycle would start all over again. Always hungry and craving on our “plan” during the week and have free eating weekends.
A light bulb went off when we just couldn’t do this anymore.
It wasn’t fun it was just plain frustrating.
We had to go back to basics and start over. We needed to find a way to live our life without doing the roller coaster ride of eating.
And really I just couldn’t continue spending my whole week eating chicken and broccoli dreaming of cream filled donuts or buttercream icing. Besides my punishing workouts were killing me, I was punishing myself every day in the gym, I was hurting all the time, and there wasn’t a joint or a muscle that didn’t hurt pretty much all the time.
I was beginning to hate the one thing that I loved so much, exercise!
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking down your complex tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” –Mark Twain
We stopped the “insanity” and started breaking it down into parts. It didn’t make sense to eliminate full food groups, yes sugars included, really wasn’t an option anymore.
It didn’t make sense if we were going to just “cheat” with it on the weekends. Rather than saving up for the weekend, we would incorporate things that we wanted every day. Mind you it was with some restraint and with the priority of trying to maintain some semblance of sanity.
So I do put Parmesan cheese on my salad, or veggies. I will eat a piece of dark chocolate and oh yes sometimes I do eat pizza.
What has helped if finding foods that seem to keep our blood sugars from dipping (crashing or craving lots of fatty, sugary sweets).
What are those you ask? Gluten free, foods low on the glycemic index, whole grains that are just that, whole grains, full fat foods (small amounts), proteins, and fiber (mostly in the form of veggies). Yet again, it is all in the portions and not making it a party every time we eat something that is not necessarily “clean”
We allowed ourselves to eat the things we wanted, no guilt, but still focusing on the healthier things in our overall eating and exercise life.
At first it felt like flying without a parachute, exciting but absolutely terrifying at first. What we learned was if we were eating all the things in proper portions, that tasted good, healthy and those considered “unhealthy” we were able to manage the need for things like sugar and snack foods.
This was not easy, at first, it took some work on both of our parts to understand how to pick our food battles.
Definitely it was about showing restraint and knowing when to stop eating something. Listening to our overall hunger and energy needs. In the process I had to be okay with not being at that “perfect weight or body fat” until I could figure out how to live and maintain.
Absolutely there are times when I do want to revert to old form or habit (strict meal plan), but it has been a couple years that I have been practicing this type of eating.
And guess what we were able to maintain some sanity and weight. This totally taught me that maintaining my current physique was more important than gaining or losing body fat or weight.
I could trust that I knew how to manage my consumption of the not so “clean” foods and not have to go to extremes to maintain. And now when we choose to start attaining or working toward a different physique goal, it is all about going back to breaking it down into smaller tasks. Adjusting in small amounts and getting results that are attainable as well as maintainable.
So if you are thinking that you need to eat clean, I would say yes.
However if you are making eating clean a week long function and the party happens on the weekends, then I suggest you take a step back and learn a new way. If your weekends are throwing off your week and your always trying to make up for the “cheats”, by being super “clean” during the week, you may be setting yourself up for a roller coaster ride of weight, health and overall well being.
As Mark Twain says, “break it down into to small manageable tasks”..and start.