Monday, October 17, 2011
Eating Clean: Where to start?
What you've just stumbled upon is the start to a clean diet. And it's exactly the first step I suggest you take, if you're looking to get into a more healthy mindset. Take it slowly at first. Replace a few foods, incorporate some vegetables here, a fruit there (maybe instead of those oreos), and a bowl of oatmeal instead of that breakfast burrito. I'll say it again. TAKE....IT...SLOW.
Why is this so important?
First of all, if you've been running on microwave dinners and chips-ahoy for a while, it's unlikely that you'll find vegetables too appealing, nor will you be too keen on the idea of replacing your brownie dessert with a banana. Your body has become somewhat addicted to high sugar, high fat, processed food. It's not an uncommon thing, so don't feel bad. Breaking an addiction TAKES TIME. I used to be that guy, who ate half a pan of brownies for breakfast, a jar of cookies for lunch, and nearly a 1 pound burger for dinner. Being a growing adolescent boy, miraculously I got away with it. After realizing my absolutely horrendous diet, I began to make changes over the years, as I became more involved with weightlifting and fitness in general. It took a lot of trial and error, and a ton of research. Seriously, I spent hours on the computer learning every little nuance about nutrition. I'm proud of my diet now, and guess what, I don't crave bad food anymore! Am I perfect? Absolutely not. But I'm fine with skipping dessert, and I actually prefer the taste of most vegetables over any sort of cheese doodles or fig newtons.
Weaning your body off processed food takes time, unfortunately. You need to actively teach your body to enjoy the healthy stuff. There are many tricks to doing this more effectively, and I'll go over those in coming posts. Healthy food does not ever need to taste bad. And if you prepare it right, I promise you it never will. I'm not going to lie though, it won't be quite the same as that greasy burger. But you learn to appreciate healthy food, and I promise that eventually you will crave the healthy stuff, not the chocolate cake.
Whatever you do, do NOT try to go cold turkey off of processed food. This is the reason that an enormous amount of diet plans fail outright. You are not able to kick the cravings for the processed stuff, and after a few weeks and barely any results, you throw that broccoli out the window and go back to your precious Tostitos. I'll say it again, incorporate your new diet slowly. This isn't a diet plan, it's a lifestyle change. Learn to eat healthy now, and enjoy doing it for the rest of your life.
How clean you want your diet to ultimately be is up to you. Many are content and see great results with a moderate level of clean eating, having a good few servings of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, good fats, good carbs, and other nutrients every day, complimented by a small dessert or a few potato chips. These people usually try to incorporate a good amount of exercise into their lives as well, which I wholeheartedly suggest with every fiber of my being. Some people go all out and try to make their diet as organic, natural, and lean as possible. This is your choice. See what works for you. What are your goals? Why are you deciding to do this? What do you want to achieve?
And remember, you can always make adjustments. This isn't a one shot deal.
It's not a hard thing to do. My advice? Start with breakfast. That's easy right? And I think you'll find a nice healthy morning snack should follow pretty effortlessly, then a chicken breast and some veggies for lunch don't sound too bad, and so on and so forth.
Get out there and make the change. Good luck!