“This guy lost 27lbs on the Twinkie diet.”
“I read about this person who ate only junk food for 30 days and lost like 11lbs!”
“This guy lost 56lbs in 6 months just eating McDonalds!”
Isn’t that to some extent what we all want? To eat whatever we want and see fabulous weight loss results?!
But is this all a hoax?
Some magic pill scam?
Don’t you have to eat CLEAN if you want to see results?
Before I dive into why I think the “eat clean” principle is actually holding you back from the long-term weight loss and fat loss results you want, I want to talk about what “eating clean” really means…
That’s actually the main problem with the idea of eating clean….
It doesn’t really doesn’t have one single definition.
Sure in general it means “whole, natural foods” but it doesn’t really stop there.
For some it means avoiding grains. For others dairy. For some it means cutting out fruit or specific types of vegetables or protein sources…
Honestly if you went down the rabbit hole of all of the things out there that people have labeled as “dirty” or “bad,” you wouldn’t be able to eat ANYTHING – you’d be looking at well…water.
I think that’s the only thing agreed upon that is clean.
I also think that forcing arbitrary standards of what is clean, because there really is no one size fits all proven list, is slightly a cop out way to get people results instead of taking the time to TEACH them a balance or how to create a healthier version of THEIR lifestyle.
Let’s face it, most diet plans don’t really care if you fall off and have to start another program in another 6 weeks when you’ve not been able to sustain the restrictive standards.
So while the idea behind “clean eating” of trying to get us to focus on more whole, natural foods is a good one, I think we need to stop this focus on labeling foods as “clean” or “dirty” if we truly want to create a lifestyle.
I think this focus on eating clean is often what actually SABOTAGES our results.
How can a focus on clean eating sabotage our progress?
The second you start making foods off limits and labeling them as bad?
That’s often the second you not only want them MORE, but you also start feeling GUILTY for simply enjoying something you love.
It’s like if I told you not to think about a delicious, vanilla frosted, sprinkled with chocolate, marshmallow filled rice krispy treat right now….
All you can now think about is a freaking amazing rice krispy treat! Even though you hadn’t even been thinking about rice krispy treats before!
This is exactly what happens when we start creating these clean eating food restrictions and labeling foods in a way that makes some “good” and some “bad.”
These labels create far more stress around food than there needs to be. It creates the feelings of deprivation and even of guilt.
It makes dieting so much more confusing than it needs to be because no one agrees.
It can even make us feel paralyzed about taking action because who the heck is right?!
Honestly the stress over eating clean is what leads to yo-yo dieting and us becoming frustrated that we work so hard never to truly see the results we want.
The more you stress over cutting things out and avoiding things on the bad list?
The more you are likely to at some point give way to the pressure.
And when you do it isn’t even the simple overindulgence in calories or incorrect macro ratios that lead to problems…
It’s the fact that we beat ourselves up and feel BAD.
This guilt leads to us often throwing up our hands in frustration at ourselves and our lack of willpower so that we end up eating foods on that bad list in excess for multiple days after.
Basically it’s like we got a flat tire, but instead of fixing it or calling for help to get it sorted so we could be on our way? We decided to slash the other three.
Which ultimately only makes the situation worse!
This is what leads to us not only regaining the weight we’d previous lost, but potentially ending up worse off and fatter than where we’d started.
Actually yo-yo dieting like this is what can make any following attempts to lose weight even HARDER.
Not to mention when we do search for the next “best diet,” we fall right back into the same clean eating trap….just with a new set of arbitrary restrictions.
We need to stop assigning a moral value to foods.
So what should you do instead if you want the best possible weight loss and fat loss results?
The simple answer that no one wants to hear because it’s incredibly unsexy?
You need to focus on balance, consistency and a healthier version of YOUR personal lifestyle.
3 Tips To Create LASTING Diet Changes
Here are 3 tips to help you create lasting changes to your diet and actually see better weight loss and fat loss results long term….
Tip #1: Focus On YOUR Lifestyle.
If you’re currently drinking Frappuccinos and eating burgers and french fries and pizza every day?
Following some clean eating guidelines that only allow you chicken, broccoli and brown rice isn’t going to be sustainable for more than a few days…if even a few hours.
So no matter how healthy it may be touted to be?
You’re just not going to stick with it.
It’s too much all at once.
Change alone is hard.
And while we all know that results happen outside of our comfort zone, sometimes it’s key we take just one small step forward at a time.
Instead of cutting out all of the foods we love, why not add in a side of veggies with our pizza. Why not try a smaller sized Frappuccino. Why not bake french fries and grill burgers at home instead of going out to get them?
These changes may seem small, but they are tweaks to build momentum in a sustainable way.
They get the ball rolling so we can see progress and WANT to make other changes instead of feeling restricted and deprived and FORCED into things too quickly.
Tip #2: Put Macros First.
The simple fact is, you can eat foods completely devoid of nutritional value and see weight loss, and even fat loss, results, especially if you dial in your macros and focus on protein.
Do I recommend this? NOPE!
And as much as your brain may be screaming at you about all of the evils of processed foods, if including some helps you hit your macros so you can see results and stay motivated to keep making changes?
It may be what you need to get started!
By dialing in your macros, you can achieve amazing body recomposition without having to hit some arbitrary standard of clean.
There was also an interesting study done that actually showed that a focus on macros may even help your micronutrient intake. (*)
Clean eating can actually become so restrictive we aren’t meeting our micronutrient intake or getting the nutrients we need from a diversity of sources.
By instead focusing on macros, we can enjoy a diversity of foods while making sure our nutrition matches our needs and goals in a sustainable way.
No food is technically off limits, BUT we have clear guidelines of what we need to achieve aesthetic results.
Now if you’re thinking about all of those delicious looking oozey, gooey macro creations we see posted on instagram and wondering how they can possibly eat that while hitting their macros?
This is where that BALANCE comes in. That is just one meal in a day where the person also probably had a lean protein and veggie based meal.
Most of the time to indulge in something not as healthy, there has to be a balance with other meals that are more nutrient dense.
But that’s why a focus on an overall macro breakdown for the day can help us create the sustainable balance of indulging and whole natural foods right for us!
Tip #3: Add In And Swap!
By focusing on macros, you aren’t making any specific food off limits.
You can even make tweaks to current recipes and meals you love!
To hit those ratios and create a healthier version of your lifestyle, focus less on cutting things out and more on what you can add in or swap slightly to make the changes.
To increase your protein? Add in an extra ounce of protein to your quesadilla to hit your macros instead of cutting out the quesadilla.
Or make swaps to meals you love that allow you to still enjoy the dish.
Try a whole grain bread over a white bread on a sandwich. Or maybe even change it to a whole grain wrap!
And if you can’t stomach the idea of not having your favorite bread?
Start by eating a half sandwich, half salad for lunch so you’re still getting the foods you enjoy but with the added nutritional benefit of a nutrient dense side to hit your macros.
While yes, by default you will cut things out, this helps create a mental shift in how you approach your diet, making you focus less on restricting and more on creating a balance!
Small changes go a long way!
Most of us don’t need to hit some arbitrary and restrictive standards of clean eating to get results.
And trying to do so?
Well, it often holds us back from not only making a change in the first place, but from actually seeing any sort of sustainable results long term.
Ready to create a healthier version of your lifestyle and achieve fabulous results you know how to MAINTAIN LONG-TERM?!
Check out my 3-Part RS Formula!