So I used to be a clean eater,
Drum roll please……………..
I’m sure most of you have been and maybe some of you still are,
Here is some of the reasons I turned to ‘Junk food’ and how it improved my health.
here are a list of some the principles of clean eating
o Don’t eat anything processed
o Don’t drink fizzy drinks
o Full fat is better than low fat
o You can only eat ‘unhealthy food’ once a week as part of your ‘cheat meal’
o ‘clean eating’ is the only way you can get lean
o No sugar
Now you might think, ‘ok well what is wrong with these principles’ and I would have to agree for the most part.
We know that we should be eating wholesome nutritious foods to fuel our bodies optimally but we’re not all elite athletes whose day job is centred around being the best in the world at your given sport/event.
Now let me create a scenario,
You have planned a weekend away with friends and family to centerparcs, you take some of your ‘clean’ food with you, so you don’t get have to take part in the forbidden ritual of eating ‘unclean’ food.
On your first night your friends have invited you out for dinner to pizza hut…….. this instantly raises alarm bells and makes you start to feel anxious that you might have to order some food that will instantly make you unhealthy, and gain a ton of fat or you will just be lumbered with a chicken salad and left in the corner like a leper.
The waitress comes round and starts asking people what they would like, they begin ordering pizzas, chips, beers, full fat coke and everything you try to hate on,
I wish I could eat that sort of food you thought.
Finally the waitress comes to you and asks “what would you like…………”
“ill have a bottle of water” straight away you hear “you’re on holiday come on let your hair down” feeling pressured you order a full fat coke (because of diet coke containing aspartame which obviously is ‘unclean’ and dangerous) a pepperoni pizza and a side of coleslaw.
Everyone is laughing and joking and enjoying the night while waiting for dinner to come out, and you are sat there feeling guilty for what you have ordered.
Your food comes out and everyone is saying how amazing it is, but with every mouthful you take you feel even more guilty.
^^^^ this was me a few years ago, and exactly why I started to look at other ways I could enjoy my life, but still get ‘shredded’.
The other extreme was that Monday to Saturday I ate ‘clean’ no bread no crisps no fizzy drinks no chocolate no pasta no enjoyment at all from food it was just to ‘fuel’ my body, until Sunday came……………
Sunday morning I would get up have a sinful breakfast of whatever I fancied but normally something like a fry up or a bucket load of cereal washed down with a protein shake
After the gym I would go to Sainsburys (other supermarkets are available) and spend about £20-£30 on all the food I would dream about all week, crisps, cakes, cereal, bread, ice cream and basically any other sugar laden calorie dense foods I would run past normally telling myself it’s not Sunday yet.
Biceps bulging, mouth watering I’d get in chuck the bags in the kitchen while grabbing the first thing that was hanging out of the bag and plonk myself on the sofa in front of the TV, this is where I remained all day while eating ALL the calories until just before going to sleep, I would literally eat until I felt sick because in the morning this food was now forbidden again.
Monday morning I would wake up feeling like a had a hangover and having the worst sense of guilt feeling like a complete failure.
So this so called ‘clean eating miracle’ had created a very poor unhealthy relationship with food for me which previously I thought I had a reasonably healthy relationship with food.
I never used to binge and I never really had massive cravings for certain foods, but its like an addiction, what happens when someone is trying to stop gambling, drinking, smoking, drugs etc……………
Now I’m not saying ‘clean eating’ is all bad but it’s the one size fits all approach that I just don’t understand.
My approach now is very different because I understand that to get results I don’t need to give anything up I just need to eat mindfully and in moderation.
One thing that I really like is the app myfitnesspal, once you know how many calories you need to achieve your goal, and how much protein you should be consuming on a daily basis, you can begin to make choices for yourself and incorporate the foods you love, for instance if you have a friend coming round and you know you will be having a takeaway and a couple of **insert alcoholic beverage of choice ** you can add that to myfitnesspal at the start of the day and then work back from there, so if you’re takeaway and said beverage is going to come to 1000 calories and you are on 1600 calories a day then you can make choices for breakfast, and lunch, that will keep you within your calories, and not have you going over, and feeling guilty, therefore still keeping you on track to lose weight.
‘clean eating’ is a diet, and diets never teach you how to make healthy habits part of your lifestyle for the long term.
I would advise using a site called IIFYM and working out your TDEE <<< Total daily energy expenditure and depending on whether your goal is fat loss or muscle gain you can adjust calories accordingly, I like to start with a 500 calorie subtraction a day for fat loss and a 500 calorie a day increase for muscle gain.
Protein I would keep at 1g per lb of overall bodyweight.
Being new to this I would just concentrate on tracking calories and protein again using myfitnesspal so not to overwhelm.
Most of all enjoy your training, enjoy social occasions and learn how to factor meals out and foods you love into your diet rather than cutting them out completely.