clean eating
BY: Dasha Anderson, MS, NASM-PES

How to Eat Clean for Beginners

How to start eating healthy

There’s no doubt that food is a big part of our lives, and despite what many fitness experts say, I personally love that. I honestly believe that you should be excited by the essential things in life. After all, food is not only embedded in tradition, it’s also a huge part of people’s culture and heritage.

The key to living well (and healthy), though, is to learn to be excited by the kind of food you should be eating: good, natural, whole, and real foods that nourish you, and not the processed garbage that harms your body.

Stop depending on diets

Before we get into the tips, we need to talk about how you eat—and why most diets don’t work. Calorie counting, deprivation, and scale obsession make it hard to keep in touch with your body’s natural intuition and take over every part of your life, taking up tons of energy and draining you. While there are many diets that are geared specifically towards reaching weight loss goals, many of them are not sustainable.

However, having absolutely no structure to your daily food intake can be damaging too. The ultimate goal is to live (and eat) passionately and wholeheartedly, focusing on high quality and healthy foods without overindulging or becoming dependent. For many of us, this means we have to be honest with ourselves and examine our eating habits more objectively.

When it comes to weight loss, what you eat matters

In general, weight loss happens when there is more energy going out than coming in. But this is totally over-simplified. The food you actually eat matters—protein and fiber make your body work a little harder to digest them when compared to simple carbohydrates or processed foods. Other factors when it comes to losing weight are your activity levels, muscle mass, and resting metabolic rate. You need high-quality food to build and maintain lean, strong muscle.

The quality of your food determines the quality of your tissue, AKA your body’s health, longevity, immune system, strength level, mood, brain function and overall quality and capacity for life. Once you establish that you want quality instead of quantity or restricting a lot of foods, life gets a bit easier, goals become within reach, and you become a happier, more centered person.

So, how do you eat clean? Just follow these seven easy steps:

  1. Discipline yourself not to overeat. This takes patience, practice, and a very real decision to take action for the health of your body. The good news is that anyone can do this. By week two, it will become easier to have discipline and eat well.
  2. Maintain a 75% nutritious diet. What does this mean? Eat healthy and wholesome 75% of the time, choosing high-quality, whole foods, and opt for fun meals (like your favorite dessert) 25% of the time. Be sure not to overindulge.
  3. Stay consistent—don’t yo-yo diet, skip meals, and overeat two days later. Simply put: just eat well and don’t overeat every single day.
  4. Incorporate seasonal fruits and vegetables into your diet.
  5. Learn to listen to your body. If it tells you that you are full, then stop eating. If you are hungry, ask yourself if it’s true hunger or if you are just bored.
  6. Try not to snack. Instead, focus on eating three meals throughout the day. Pro tip: drink a glass of water before you decide to grab a snack or junk food, and then see if you still want it or are even hungry. Chances are that you won’t be.
  7. DON’T DIET! Just respect your body—don’t overeat or undereat. Eat slowly, and know what you are eating. Always choose foods that are filling, healthy, and satisfying.

Dasha L. Anderson is a celebrity trainer and fitness expert in New York City, with a master’s degree in exercise science and sports nutrition and a specialty in performance enhancement and injury prevention. She is also the founder and head certifying instructor of Kettlebell Kickboxing and has contributed to Self, Shape, Fitness Rx, and Epoch Times. 

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