"The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?"

- Psalms 27 : 1

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Weight Loss Diaries : Clean Eating, A Fad or A Way Of Life?

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Clean eating - another popular subject many have stepped up to me about. To some, they need the formula, others ask, why bother? While some say it's impossible!

Well, I'm here to discuss just that and share my own personal experience. I am going to start off by defining exactly what clean eating is. In my own words, 

clean eating is the act of consciously eating a balanced diet and avoiding junk, overly processed and excessively sweetened foods while turning to healthier alternatives

Now, with that being said, let me just begin by saying, clean eating is not impossible. It might be difficult at first, but impossible, no. The difficulty comes from the active effort of changing one's habits but once the hait has been installed, living the lifestyle comes easy. So, it is possible however, it is a slow process and there are necessary steps to get there.

Now, is it a fad? Or is it really a way of life? It is just some bandwagon many are jumping on? Is it just à la mode? Well, yes and no. Clean eating is pretty popular these days and it could be labeled as a fad but this is due to the present context. We are presently living in an age where people are more health-conscious and clean eating has been a fast-developping trend as a result. However, clean eating cannot be a "phase" to yield any significant results in anybody's way of life. Clean eating is a way of life that when pursued, yields results when it comes to health, weight-loss and daily habits. If you are seeking to just go with the "let's get healthy" flow, then clean eating can be a fad for you but if you are seeking changes and long-lasting results, then clean eating has to be a way of life.

As stated earlier, making that transition to clean eating requires a few steps. It cannot be attained over night (even if it is, there stands a risk of failing to adhere) and it canon the acquired so easily.

When changing your habits to eating clean, you are in fact doing two things : changing/training your mind and changing/training your body. If these two things do not follow then you can already forget about making it. The very first step is making the decision in your mind and visualising your life eating clean, that is, projecting yourself into the future. When you can do this, then you can go on to changing/training your body :

1. What needs to change? This question is crucial to getting anything done. It is the foundation of whatever you are going to achieve. You need to first identify what you are doing right now and that you are not happy with and would like to change. Here are some examples : eating large portions, impulsive eating, snacking on junk food in between meals, eating all sorts on the go etc.
Nobody can do this for you but YOU because you cannot change what you do not think needs changing so it is futile to ask anybody to help you take this first step. However, you can ask for advice to get a better clarification on what promotes a healthy lifestyle.

2. What are your weak points? After deciding what you want to change, it is time to pin point what encourages these things. This gives you the area where you need to act, and lays the foundation to how.
Here are some examples : hectic job, not enough time, not enough money, sweet tooth, large appetite etc.

3. What are your strong points? Just like you identified the things that encourage those habits you want to change, you now need to identify the ressources you can use to combat these habits. These are your arms. 
Some examples : long lunch break, love for cooking, nearby grocery store, enough time to cook, online recipes etc.

4. How far do you want to go? You need to know exactly what you are willing to give up. How far do you want to change your habits? Are you going from meat-lover to vegan or do you just want to tweak it up a bit. This depends on YOU. What do you want from this lifestyle change? 

5. How do you want to go about it? Finally, you need to come up with a strategy. How fast do you want to go? Are you going to come up with many small goals or mark out main goals you'd like to reach?  All this depends on your way of life and the results you want to see. Whatever you do, be realistic with your goals and give yourself some marge. Check out this post for help on building your goals.

According to my personal experience, clean eating can be a difficult change of habit to implement, that is why it's best to do it at your own pace until the transformation is complete. You also need to give your body the time to get used to your new way of life and depending on how you do this, your body can react. 
Here are a few symptoms to watch out for : constipation, headaches, diarrhea , stomach pains, etc. Whatever you do, ask advice from you doctor!

However, there are many benefits to clean eating. Here are a few I've noticed : energy boost, ability to concentrate for long periods of time, strength & endurance etc. Though note that everybody's journey is different!

Lastly, I'd like to share a few tips to making your transition to making clean eating a way of life a lot easier :

1. Deal with your weak points : this is a must! These are the little foxes that will come back to haunt you even after you are living a healthier lifestyle. This is hard but slow, progressive discipline yields tremendous results.

2. Anticipate : Anticipation is a sure way of avoiding situations where you'll find yourself slipping up. You can anticipate by :

- meal-preping at home
- packing something to eat on a trip
- buying necessary ingredients for when you may run out
- knowing where to get healthy food when you get hungry at school/work
- eating before going out to avoid indulging
etc.
The list goes on. Come up with YOUR strategies.

3. Note down your progress : keeping tabs on what you did and when helps you see how far you've come and will give you ideas for the future. This does not mean writing everything you eat because this is not only necessary but tiring, but noting down your notable progress. 

4. Let others know : this helps you stay focused and your entourage can also keep you in check too.

5. Get informed : Getting informed on how to live a healthier lifestyle is essential. Knowledge is power! Don't just let others tell you what to do, be active in your lifestyle decisions! Do what's best for YOU.

6. Aim for the full package : instead of just focusing on your eating, look to other areas of your life that can be affecting your health, for example, the amount of physical activity you are getting. Aiming for changes in every area of your life consolidates the steps you are taking in each area.

That's my take on clean eating. 
Hopefully, it has shed some light on the subject.

2 comments:

  1. Wow! This is so insightful! Thanks for taking the time to clearly pen this down. Clean eating no doubt requires a lot of effort but I love how you say it can be a slow process. I believe this is important - especially to me. When I'm motivated I tend to want to launch into things but Rome wasn't built in a day! Lovely and helpful post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Titi Funtò Awww I am so glad the post is of help. Rome surely wasn't built in a day and new habits take time to be acquired. keep going and stay motivated sis. God bless you <3

    ReplyDelete

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