You see it year after year and even more so after the dead of winter finally passes.
People are ready to try to shed fat in an attempt to look a certain way for summer or undo the eating of the holidays and winter season.
The problem I have is not with the person waiting until now to start working towards their goals. The problem is the way in which it happens.
“I’m going to eat clean”
“I’ve been eating clean and I can’t lose weight”
“Did you see (insert celebrity here)? She eats so clean! Look at her body”
But when you ask these individuals how many calories they’re eating, they have no idea. They are stuck on this idea that “clean eating” will bring them the body they want and it’s all they have to do.
This is wrong on many levels.
First off, clean eating is the most vague term in the fitness and health industry. It means nothing and something different to different groups at the same time. To vegans, eating clean is no animal products. To keto followers, eating clean means no carbs and lower protein. To paleo dieters, clean eating means no processed foods, no grains.
When the general public talks about clean eating, they are regurgitating an ideology that processed foods, carbs, and sugars are bad when trying to lose fat. That’s the basis of clean eating in your average conversation.
Secondly, labeling your food as either good or bad like it has some moral value is ridiculous. It’s food. Grow up. You are not better than someone else because you “eat clean” and you sure as shit aren’t worse because you had a donut which is considered “bad” or “dirty”. It’s just food. You can eat the “dirtiest” diet and still shed fat, trust me. Or better yet, check out my client progress photos. They ate a flexible diet and shed body fat. No clean eating, no labels, just consistency.
By labeling your food as “good” or “bad” you are constantly fighting yourself and creating a false dichotomy that you have to be “good” all the time by eating certain foods. And if you eat the “bad” ones, you should feel guilty. If I had a nickel for the amount of times I’ve heard people talk about food guilt – I would have a lot of nickels and would need to go to the bank because who wants to carry that around?
Seriously though, the shaming and guilt needs to end.
You are not guilty. You are not “cheating”. It’s food. It’s meant to be enjoyed. And yes, if you want to shed fat, it needs to be controlled, portioned, and structured differently. But that doesn’t mean you are more or less of a person because of your choices.
Which brings me to my last point, and that is the prevalence of orthorexia.
Orthorexia is an eating disorder. It is the obsessive pursuit of a healthy diet and leads to a poor relationship with groups of foods. The pursuit of clean eating can absolutely drive someone towards a state of orthorexia because clean eating is not real. By definition, it does not exist. It is what you make it. Therefore, if you are chasing some wild notion that certain foods are good and bad, yet cannot stick to it for more than 5 days, it’s clearly not something you should be pursuing. That’s how the binge/purge cycle starts to happen. You “eat clean” for 5 days and then one “bad” food sets you off on a guilt trip, which leads to a binge eating session because you “cheated” on your diet anyway so why not?
I understand that trying to lose fat can be hard. I know that there is a ton of conflicting information everywhere that can leave you confused and more frustrated than when you first started your journey.
I’ll leave you with this: make sure the majority of your diet comes from whole, unprocessed sources but allow for flexibility and fun in your life. One of the best quotes I’ve seen is “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” and to that I’ll add “plus lean proteins”.
If you’re embarking on a fat loss journey, make sure it’s something you can see yourself doing for 5-10 years. You want to create a lifestyle, not constantly try to diet.
Email me @ email@example.com or apply for coaching here if you’re ready to take back control of your eating and finally see long lasting results.