Clean eating is the latest thing people are recommending for weight loss. Really,. it’s pretty hard to argue against it. When you cut out junk food and replace it with more nutrient dense, natural whole foods, you also tend to end up consuming less calories over all.
If you’ve been over consuming calories, and you start consuming less than are required to maintain your current weight… you’ll lose weight. Getting a better intake of vitamins and minerals from fresh natural foods is definitely a plus as well.
So, a couple of my clients have progress pics out that are getting picked up and shared by various “fitness motivation” type pages on facebook and so forth, and usually there’s some helpful comments posted along the lines of “eat clean, do this or that exercise, you can have results like this too”. Except… well, two things; number one is that if you want to look like the ladies doing my program look, you need to be doing my program. Or at least you need to be doing some form of body sculpting routine based on lifting some heavy ass weights up and down. I wrote an entry about a week and a half ago explaining that you can’t choose random exercises or random forms of exercise and expect the same results as someone who is following an actual training program designed by a genius like me to produce that specific result. You can check that entry out here: Exercise Vs Training.
Now the second issue I usually have with people reposting a photo of one of my client’s amazing body transformations along with their own advice on how to replicate those results is the “eat clean” part. It’s such a vague instruction, and invariably prompts the question “which clean foods should I eat?”… and if you’ve read any of my writing in the past you’ll already know where I’m going with this. People’s ideas of clean eating can vary from the quite sensible, to the quite restrictive, all the way to what I would describe as an orthorexic, disordered level of restrictive diet and food avoidance.
So here’s my sensible clean eating plan, and it’s a list of foods to avoid rather than a list of foods to that are allowed. If your plan has a longer list of banned foods than allowed foods, what you’re actually pushing is orthorexia, not sensible eating habits.
Candy, lollies, soft drink, biscuits, chocolate biscuits, cheetos, twisties. If you’re a grown adult and interested in losing weight and getting into shape, you have absolutely no reason to consume any of these. You want to lose weight but have a bag of “snakes alive” in your desk drawer that you work your way through during the day? Well… you’re not actually very serious about losing weight.
Can you still be successful if you eat a little of these foods on occasion, provided they don’t push you too far beyond your ideal calorie intake to support your goal weight? Absolutely. But will they make it far more unlikely to meet your target calorie and macronutrient levels? Absolutely.
So your Sensible Clean Eating Plan is: cut out obvious “junk” snack foods, hit your target calories and macronutrient ratios with a variety of enjoyable foods, and include more fresh produce to meet your micronutritional needs.
Clean Eating Myth & Scam Busting
As far as dieting and weight loss goes, my whole message is that you can achieve your goal weight and a great figure while enjoying a variety of foods in moderation. Nutritionists agree that a restrictive approach is not necessary or helpful. Therefore I have a bit of an issue when people attribute my client’s success to “clean eating” with the implication of a strict and restrictive diet. In actual fact, they’re still enjoying a pizza on the weekend and some ice cream once in a while, just like a normal person.
The biggest scam in the clean eating department would have to be the marketers who push a clean eating plan that includes protein supplements. On the one hand they’re pushing the importance of avoiding processed foods, some of them actually restrict intake of fruit and certain vegetables that have “too much sugar” (which is absolute nonsense), and then have the audacity to push protein and other supplements. Protein supplements are great, but how do they fit into a “no processed foods” plan? Whey protein is a by-product of the process of making cheese… it’s about as processed as you get.
Known scam artist Ashy Bines is the prime example of this. Eat clean, avoid processed foods, be careful of fruit because it has sugar in it… but buy our protein supplement that’s highly processed and flavoured with sugar.
Bottom line on clean eating.
Cut out (or at least cut back on) obvious junk foods that add a lot of empty calories with no micronutritional or fibre value, determine an appropriate range of calories and macronutrient ratios to support your goal weight, include plenty of delicious fruits and vegetables, and chill out a bit.