“Susan Sova from Ahumbledelight guest post on this week’s blog post. Sit back and enjoy this informative read*
Clean eating is a term that seems to be up for interpretation and is borderline “trendy”. It means different things to different people. You do not need to be vegan, gluten free or a vegetarian to be considered a “clean eater”. If you’re just beginning your clean eating journey it’s easy to become overwhelmed and quit before you barely begin. Before you get to that point, read these 3 tips to jumpstart your clean eating habits and get you in the right headspace.
Eating clean is a learned behavior and should be viewed as a lifestyle change rather than a diet
Busy lives mean limited time to prepare meals. It’s easy to resort to preparing those quick and easy meals and at times “running through the drive through” becomes a regular occurrence. Many behaviors are driven subconsciously which creates an added level of difficulty to change the habits embedded in us.
The good news is…all behaviors can be changed or modified with consistent effort.
It’s not going to be easy and there will be trial and error. However, like anything else, practice makes clean eating easier and more natural. The good news is that those changed behaviors and conscious daily choices will replace your old subconscious decisions.
Eating clean is a learned behavior and should be viewed as a lifestyle change rather than a diet. That said, all things in moderation are okay. One day of fast food isn’t going to make or break your newfound lifestyle. It’s the overabundance of processed foods every day that impacts your overall goals and results. That said, it’s important to take the time to learn how to fuel your body properly.
Tip #1 Fueling the Body with the right stuff
How you fuel your body is the key element to clean eating. The human body was not designed to digest all of the additives and preservatives found in most foods on grocery store shelves. This reason alone makes it even more important to try to encompass nutrient-rich whole foods into your diet. Unnatural additives and preservatives create feelings of being bloated, sluggish and ornery. I’m pretty sure we all want to feel good, happy and like we can conquer the world.
What are whole foods? Whole foods are those gems that I mentioned previously that are nutrient packed and provide the energy needed to get through the always jam packed days.
Feeding the body with nutrients instead of additives, creates more sustainable energy and meals are digested more efficiently. Better yet, nutrients from whole foods increase brain power and support the immune system. Whole foods are unrefined, unprocessed, and don’t contain additives, sugars, or other manufactured ingredients. In other words, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and legumes.
Where to begin
This is where overwhelm comes in. Whole foods sound expensive and not delicious in the slightest. They can be tasty though, trust me. Always start small and experiment. The goal is to learn and adapt. Start by reducing your excessive sugars and foods filled with additives and preservatives. Then re-analyze and reduce again once you start getting in the swing of things. It’s never going to be ‘perfect’, just strive for ‘better‘. I don’t eat whole foods 100% of the time.
Research & Prepare
Being prepared is going to make or break your success in the beginning. It’s hard to make better decisions when you aren’t well versed in the new world of ‘what’s healthy’. Healthy meals don’t need to be complicated, but equally as much, some planning and forethought needs to happen. In order to help with this, do some research and create shopping lists. Find healthy ingredients you enjoy and can use in various ways in different recipes.
Tip #2 Practicing Mindfulness
In order to change how you fuel your body, my best advice is to become mindful of what you choose to eat and drink. Bring awareness to what you are already consuming and be ready to start reading nutrition labels. You need to be willing to educate yourself on what each component of the label means as well as having the ability to say no when a nutrition label is less than ideal. Again, all things are okay in moderation – this is not to be forgotten.
Teach yourself to bring mindful awareness to how you feel. This includes after eating whole, fresh foods vs the processed foods you’re used to. Mindful eating will slowly become second nature and drive your decisions subconsciously like I previously talked about.
Tip #3 Drinking more Water
Last but not least, up the water intake. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. In order to follow your new clean eating plan, it includes all consumed beverages as well. Try replacing most or all consumed beverages with water. Moderation also applies here, but it makes a world of difference when water takes the place of manufactured beverages.
Water not only helps with portion control and to curb appetites and cravings, but it helps organs to run smoothly and properly. Most importantly, water flushes out the toxins from our body to keep us feeling good!
Clean Eating final thoughts
Like I said before, I believe all things in moderation. You can still eat your favorite processed foods every now and again – I do. However, I can guarantee once you start becoming more mindful of how your body feels after – especially after feeding your body healthier nutrients- you’ll begin to want your “old favorites” less and less. This is a lifestyle change and putting forth effort to learn will create success. Take this journey in bite-size digestible pieces so you succeed and don’t drown in overwhelm.
About the Author
Hi! My name is Susan! I am a mom of 2 littles and a firefighter’s wife. I struggled with low self-esteem and negative body image for years. Seven years ago I decided I wanted a healthy lifestyle, committing myself to learning made a huge difference.
Making changes and shifts when obstacles presented itself was key to improve my lifestyle. I lived as though I already had the life I dreamed and I have learned so much in my journey.
Today I am confident and have a whole new perspective on myself and life. I know you are capable of doing anything you set your heart and mind to! I welcome everyone to join me so I can share what I’ve learned to help guide you too!