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Talking from experience, I cannot tell you how many diets, and how much money I have spent on pills and programs to lose weight, just to gain it right back afterward. Time and time again, I was promised this ‘new me’, only to be let down shortly after the diet or program was over. Every time I gained more than I had lost, it left me self-conscious, disappointed, and feeling like a failure. The truth of the matter is: DIETS DON’T WORK!
Sure, sometimes you lose the weight (at a cost to you financially, your health, and your body) for a short period of time, but diets cannot give you long-term sustainable weight or fat loss. When going through these drastic changes of dieting, your body goes into shutdown mode and your brain releases hormones telling your brain that you are starving. So when the diet is done, your body wants to replenish what it lost, plus some.
When you diet, you are consuming less food, so your metabolism slows down and you also lose muscle in the process. In no circumstance, in a healthy body, would you want to lose muscle mass! Instead we need to focus on what is being put into our bodies, and not how much of it. Let me tell you, it was not easy for me to wrap my head around this idea after years of counting calories.
There is a stigma against people who diet and then gain the weight right back, like they, the individual, are the reason they gained the weight back due to lack of will power, strength, laziness, ignorance… this puts too much power in weight being a choice or a product of not trying hard enough to be what everyone wants you to be. I read a great quote from an article in TheAtlantic.com that said, “Nutrition and fitness should be directed towards a healthy and improved lifestyle- NOT appearance (that is just a benefit).” And it’s true!
First off, clean eating is not a diet, it is a lifestyle choice. It is making the conscious decision to be happier and healthier, not only for you, but for your family. Clean eating is all about being aware of the pathway your food had to go through from growth, to your plate. It is focusing on consuming whole or real food and reducing or eliminating processed, refined, or handled food from your diet.
Focusing on raw, organic fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and good fats, the benefits go far beyond just weight loss. You gain more energy, improved body system functioning, improved cognitive abilities, better skin, better hair… the list goes on! Some general tips to remember when eating clean include:
- Limit processed foods
- Increase fruit and veggie intake (raw and organic are the best options)
- Cut down saturated fat
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol and tobacco consumption
- Remove sugars or artificial sweeteners
- Eat lean meats
- Cut out refined grains
- Hydrate – not with sugary sports drinks but with water. If you don’t like water try adding lemon or raspberries for a hint of flavor. I love to make home made vitamin water.
Now food is only one part of the weight loss equation. To lose weight and reach optimal health and wellness, you should exercise regularly, practice stress management, sleep proper amounts, hydrate, and focus on your daily nutrients. Clean eating will help you and your family feel better, long-term. And when you feel better, it shows!
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