Eating better is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. I know this. But when my mom’s homemade perogies (covered in bacon, onions and sour cream, natch) come a’callin’, all of my reasoning and will power go out the window. I needed to find a way to clean up my diet while still allowing for a cheat meal here or there.
To aid in my weight loss efforts, I’ve turned to the clean eating “movement” that’s reached a whole new level of popularity over the past few years. It’s not a fad diet; it’s a whole lifestyle. I’ve eaten “clean” before (during one of my many attempts to lose weight in the past) and really liked the results and principles behind it. An added bonus? A major increase in energy. The general gist:
1) Eat five to six mini-meals a day. For someone who loves to eat, this is a genius concept. Usually, when I’m finishing one meal, I’m already thinking about the next. It’s a curse, really (and why I have to stuff myself into my pants every morning). When I follow the Eat Clean Diet, I’m eating every two to three hours. Hallelujah!
2) Eat whole, natural foods and avoid processed foods as much as possible. No junk, no preservatives, no problem. With eating clean, I never feel deprived. I’m not cutting out a major element of my diet (no-carb, anyone?), just using common sense and making healthier choices.
3) Pair complex carbohydrates and lean protein at every meal. Easy enough.
4) Eliminate unhealthy fats and refined sugar wherever possible. When I found out that I had to cut out sugar, I threw a mini temper tantrum–I needs me my sugar. But I’m working on it and learning to use acceptable substitutes (Stevia, honey, etc.). I’m not going to lie and say this part is easy for me. It’s hard to avoid sugar; it’s in EVERYTHING (read food labels, yo).
5) Drink a shit-ton of water. Those of you who know me personally can vouch that I drink a ton of water. Usually three litres a day, minimum. So this is not a problem for me.
Now for the challenging part: I hate cooking. Like, really, really hate cooking. I’d much rather reach for a frozen meal full of salt and completely unpronouncable preservatives than cook a healthy dinner, but eating clean requires a lot of cooking and food preparation.
Luckily, my boyfriend likes cooking and will often make dinner (thanks, babe). But I’m on my own for breakfast, lunch and my other two mini-meals. I think this is where I’m going to have the most trouble sustaining this lifestyle. I just have to put on my (literal) big-girl panties and try my darndest.