THE BASICS OF A CLEAN DIET
Eating “clean” is not hard. It’s actually very simple. It’s all about eating the right type and quantity of food. Once you’ve got the basics down, that’s when you’ll be ready to truly focus on eg. weight loss or muscle gains. You need to be making the right food choices before you even start any type of plan. You want to be making PERMANENT changes! Adjusting your “diet” so that you’re absolutely sure that you can stick to it for life rather than just a few weeks or months!
Below i’ve listed a few simple guidelines you can follow :)
What NOT to eat!
1. Cut out all regular sodas and processed fruit juice.
2. Get rid of processed carbohydrates. This means cutting out most breakfast cereals, white bread, potato chips, candy, and store bought pastries and cookies.
3. Cut out foods high in saturated fat and fried foods. Your body does not need the extra saturated fat.
What to eat?
1. Eat whole foods as often as possible
2. Eat some lean protein, fat, and unprocessed fibrous carbohydrate at every meal
3. Eat fruits or vegetables with each meal (as fresh as possible).
4. The bulk (size wise) of your food intake should come from vegetables, fruit and protein.
5. Ensure that 20-30% of your energy intake comes from “liquid fat,” with your fat intake primarily coming from unsaturated (ie. flax oil, fish oil, olive oil, raw nuts).
6. Drink only non-calorie containing beverages, the best choice being water and teas.
7. Drink alcohol in moderation.
What about calories, amounts of fat, protein, carbohydrates, nutrient timing? For most people following these guidelines at least 90% of the time will be all they will ever need. If you are not near 90% then work your way there. Find friends that will do it with you.
IF YOU WANT IT, HAVE IT.“Never say never” to foods you love but that are not in your best interest to eat. There is nothing worse for a person’s health or diet than a built up urge to splurge. There are two main roads one can travel to curb binge eating. The first is to have a little bit everyday. For example my biggest sweet tooth is chocolate, so I always have a small amount of high quality chocolate around and allow myself one small piece a day. I find that works very well for me! Another is to allow yourself one meal a week where you can enjoy whatever you want. In fact even invite your other friends over that are attempting to eat better and do it together! This “ritual” will become something you look foward to and your friends will too, plus for the rest of the week everyone can hold each other on track. The trick is to find which one of these two works for you.
DON’T LET THE TOUGH TIMES GET YOU DOWN. Everyone’s healthy eating efforts get sidetracked from time to time. The trick is to keep a positive attitude and curb the unhealthy eating as quickly as possible. Sometimes it helps to have some motivational post it notes up or have some of your fav positive blogs ready to give you that extra boost.
That is it! Keep it simple, eat well, exercise hard, and live life to its fullest.
1. SKIP THE SODA
Plain and simple, soda provides nothing but empty calories, so it’s best to strike it from your diet entirely. Thinking of just switching to diet or low-cal soda? Think again. Studies have shown than the artificial sweeteners in diet soda may cause cancer. So just skip the soda altogether.
2. GO ORGANIC… A LITTLE
Organic food is expensive, but in some cases, well worth the extra expense when you’re trying to detox your diet. There are 12 foods that are so loaded with nasty pesticides and fertilizers and such they’re actually called the Dirty Dozen. It’s worth spending the extra cash on organic versions of these if you want to detox your diet. The Dirty Dozen are: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, bell peppers, blueberries, potatoes, lettuce, and kale. Note that there are also a number of foods you don’t necessarily have to buy organic, and just need a good washing, and they’re called the Clean Fifteen. They include foods we peel before we eat, like corn, avocados, and such.
3. FORGET FAST FOOD
Did you know that one fast food meal can contain all of the calories you should consume in an entire day? And that most of those calories are from fat? Not to mention that many outbreaks of deadly e coli contamination originate in undercooked or poorly handled fast food… play it safe and healthy and detox your diet by forgetting fast food.
4. BAN THE CAN
Prepared foods can also be very unhealthy, because they’re loaded with sodium and chemical preservatives to keep them tasting fresh and to keep them from spoiling on the store shelf. Prepared foods, like canned pasta and boxed meal kits are the worst offenders, so if you want to detox our diet, ban the can… and the box!
5. GO FOR GRAINS
White bread is not only tasteless and flimsy, it’s also been leeched of its nutrients, literally, with bleach. Yuck! Whole grain bread, on the other hand, is made with the nutrient-rich whole grain (as the name implies) and is not bleached. It’s also filled with fiber, a dieter’s friend, which makes you feel fuller, longer, and aids in healthy digestion. Bonus! So swap your nasty white bread for wholesome, tasty whole grains instead. Instant detox!
6. TEST YOUR WATER
My tap water is tasty, but I recently found out that it’s got unhealthy levels of certain contaminants, so I now use a filtering system. When you think about it, safe drinking water is another great way to detox your diet, because we use it for so much more than drinking… like cooking, cleaning, washing… you name it! If you haven’t done so recently, have your tap water tested, or buy a kit and do it yourself.
7. RINSE WELL
Speaking of water and detoxing, it’s a good idea to wash your hands before and after you handle food, and to wash the food itself before you use it! Rinsing and washing well, and often, will help prevent the spread of nasty food-borne contaminants.
1.) MYTH: EATING AT NIGHT MAKES YOU FAT
- FACT: If your overall calorie intake is appropriate for weight loss or maintenance, it may benefit you to eat something after dinner, says Joni Rampolla, RD, Director of Nutrition and Wellness for Medifast.
- Late-night calories will ultimately get used the next day (and even while you sleep). To keep your energy levels up, it is better to spread your calories out during the day when your body needs fuel. Aim to eat something every two or three hours. This will stabilize bloodsugar levels and help you feel full and energized all day.
- If you do need a late-night snack, consider keeping it to 200 calories or less. Check out some of our favorite post-dinner bites here.
2.) MYTH: HUNGER IS ALWAYS A SIGN THAT YOU NEED FOOD
- FACT: The body commonly sends cues of hunger when it is dehydrated, sleep deprived, or sensing psychological hunger. If you’re not drinking enough water or getting enough sleep, this alone can cause you to sense hunger, even though you’re full, Rampolla says.
3.) MYTH: LOSING WEIGHT IS HARDER THAN KEEPING IT OFF
- FACT: More than 90 percent of dieters regain the weight they lost (or more) once they “finish” their plan, Rampolla says. If you resume eating the foods you ate before losing weight, you will gain the weight back—and maybe a few extra pounds. Here’s why: Afterweight loss, your slimmer body requires fewer calories to function. Plus, if your weight-loss plan does not include enough protein, you might lose muscle mass, in addition to excess fat. Why that’s bad: Muscle burns more calories than fat does, so losing muscle will lower your metabolism.
- Every day, make a positive decision to stay on track with your new healthy lifestyle. Maintaining healthy eating habits is a lifelong commitment and takes persistence, Rampolla says.
4.) MYTH: EXERCISE MAKES YOU TIRED
5.) MYTH: WORKING OUT IS A BIG TIME COMMITMENT
- FACT: To maintain a healthy weight, you can work out as little as 20 to 40 minutes most days of the week. If your goal is to lose weight, it’s advised that you aim for about 45 to 60 minutes each day, Crome says.
- The best part: You don’t need to fit it all into one session. Most of us can find five to 10 minutes to spare at different points in the day. Using these spare minutes throughout the day to be active adds up quickly and eventually becomes a regular part of yourhealthy lifestyle.
6.) MYTH: TO TRIM YOUR THIGHS, TRAIN YOUR THIGHS
- FACT: The type of exercise you do does not affect the number of fat cells in a specific area, Crome says. Even if you do 100 abs exercises every day, without proper nutrition, quality sleep, and a well-rounded fitness routine, you might never achieve the toned, flat stomach you want. You will help develop the muscles in that area, but that doesn’t equate to fat loss.
- When the body loses fat, it does so in a systemic fashion—all over the body at the same time. Aside from surgical procedures such as liposuction, there is no way to direct or influence the elimination of fat from specific areas, Crome says.
7.) MYTH: ONLY EAT CARBS WHEN YOU’RE ACTIVE
- FACT: This myth is based on the belief that since carbs are the body’s preferred energysource, you shouldn’t eat them when you’re inactive—like most people are in the evening. However, many individuals have atypical schedules or regularly exercise after work. These people benefit from consuming appropriate amounts of carbohydrates in the evening to fuel their lifestyle, says John Bosse, RD and Member of the Research & Development team for USANA Health Sciences.
- For someone who is sedentary in the evening, a small, high-protein snack such as 2/3 cup of full-fat cottage cheese or a protein shake can actually help you stay slim. Research shows that eating high-quality protein at regular intervals promotes better body composition, and since a lot of time passes between dinner and breakfast, this small snack is a smart, strategic move.
8.) MYTH: HEAVY WEIGHTS WILL MAKE YOU BULKY
- FACT: Unless you’re taking in substances that alter your hormone profile (anabolic steroids), it is highly unlikely that you will gain large amounts of muscle, Bosse says. Doing a high number of reps (20+) using light weights and stopping each set well before the point of muscular failure certainly helps improve fitness and burn calories, but it’s not the best way to get a lean, toned body. What is? Integrate periods of heavier training (six to 10 reps) with some sets taken to muscular failure. The ability to build muscle is very different for men and women and should not be confused, Bosse says.
9.) MYTH: A JUICE CLEANSE HELPS YOUR BODY DETOX AND RESETS YOUR METABOLISM
- FACT: Our bodies are extremely smart and have built-in processes for detoxing every day, says Kristen Carlucci, RD, registereddietitian and nutrition expert for Pitney Bowes Inc.
- Yes, people lose weight on juice cleanses, but not because of any miracle ingredient or because your body is cleared of toxins that are slowing down your metabolism. Weightlost during a cleanse is most likely a result of taking in far fewer calories than usual. While filling up on fruits and vegetables is a positive thing, the problem with juice cleanses is that they are a temporary fix. They don’t teach you the balanced nutrition habits you should be forming in order to lose weight and keep it off for good, Carlucci says.
10.) MYTH: ALL CARBS ARE THE ENEMY
- FACT: With the onset of the low-carb diet craze, many people deny themselves thismajor food group. This concept is misunderstood because it’s not the carbohydrates themselves that cause weight gain, it’s the fact that for many of us, it’s difficult to control the portion sizes, Carlucci says.
- Instead of cutting out carbs altogether (which does not sound fun at all!), focus on choosing the right carbs in the proper portions. Stick with whole-grain pastas and breads (each slice should have 100 calories or less and should contain at least 3 grams of fiber), and try to fill no more than 1/4 of your plate with starch. Limit pasta to 1 cup cooked, and choose potatoes that are about the size of a computer mouse.
“Skinny-fat” people (assuming we have the same definition) are usually people for whom working out isn’t the problem; their diets are the problem. So, try to eat better. It isn’t as simple as it sounds: “Just eat healthy!” …Nope, eating truly healthy is tough. You have to really watch yourself and be very conscious of your eating decisions. You’ve also got to know what to do:
- On days you don’t work out, eat 1000-1500 calories.
- On days you do work out, eat 1700-2000 calories (the more intense the workout, the more calories you should consume).
- BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN EAT ANYTHING AS LONG AS IT FALLS WITHIN THE CALORIC RANGE. NO. This is a mistake so many people make and it is vital. You know the phrase “quality over quantity”? Well, it applies here. It’s better to have +2000 calories of fruits and veggies than to have 1000 calories of nothing but sweets and carbs (not that you should do either, though). Don’t forget this point: it’s where most people who fall into the “skinny-fat” category mess up.
- Fruits and veggies should comprise 60-70% of your diet. I know that may sound extreme, but it really isn’t. Your body needs the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals found within fruits and veggies. When we’re eating meats, we’re getting those items second-hand, so we’re not getting as much of them, and they’re not as high quality; and this is why 90% of the western population needs multivitamins. Our bodies aren’t built to need multivitamins as our sources of these nutrients — we’re supposed to get them naturally. How do we do that? Fruits and vegetables.
- You shouldn’t eat meat more than twice in one day. And the meat should always be lean. Chicken and turkey are best (pig’s meat and cow’s meat are typically more fatty).
- Carbs are for long-term energy and fat storage. The skinny-fat body type already has a ton of long-term energy and fat stored up; it doesn’t need to add much more to its current reservoir. So, you don’t need a lot of carbs. And if you’re eating bread, make sure to choose brown over white bread. The browner, the healthier.
But just because diet is the main problem, does not mean you should stop exercising. Keep doing whatever your current workout routine is: just make sure to eat well, too.
Skinny Girl Diet. Thinking of trying it out. Does anyone know how much weight you’ll lose from doing this?
Mathematically you’d lose a pound every two days. However, you’d hit a plateau within a week or so. It’s not healthy. You shouldn’t do it no matter how desperate you are; the only time it works is for losing a few pounds in a week, and only if you’re okay with the notion that after another week you’ll gain it all back…
• Ditch the Pop-Tart for a slice of high-fiber toast with strawberry jam.
• Gotta have carbs? Split a bagel with a coworker.
• Drink your two cups of joe black. Or order a single espresso instead of your usual latte.
• Swap OJ for the real deal—one fresh orange.
• Trade a side of regular sausage for turkey.
• Top your waffles with Reddi-Whip instead of syrup (or use sugar-free).
• Skip the whip on any Caribou Coffee 16-ounce drink.
• Eat your granola from a 4-ounce mug, not an 8-ounce bowl.
• Lose the Yoplait Thick & Creamy and have a Yoplait Fiber 1.
• Order pancakes, but hold the butter.
• Scramble together 4 egg whites instead of 2 whole eggs.
• Leave the Swiss cheese out of your sandwich.
• Slather your bread with mustard rather than mayo and save 80 calories per tablespoon.
• Pass up croutons at the salad bar.
• Use up to 10 pumps of ranch dressing spray instead of pouring 2 tablespoons from a bottle.
• Devour a slice of Pizza Hut cheese pan pizza instead of the meat lover’s variety.
• Take your iced tea unsweetened.
• Reach for a Snapple raspberry white tea instead of a Snapple raspberry iced tea.
• Stuff chicken salad into a whole-wheat pita instead of between slices of multigrain bread.
• Make your burger turkey, not beef.
• Slurp minestrone soup instead of cream of anything.
• Go bunless—shed your hamburger roll.
• Use south-of-the-border savvy: Have a quesadilla made with two 6-inch corn, not flour, tortillas.
On Your Snack Break
• Drink sparkling water instead of soda.
• Move your stash of Hershey’s Kisses at least 6 feet away from your desk—you’ll dip in half as often.
• Drain the heavy syrup from your can of fruit cocktail and then rinse the fruit with water before digging in.
• Have 1/2 cup of fresh grapes instead of that little snack box of raisins.
• Lay off the Lay’s Classic potato chips and have a handful of Rold Gold pretzels.
• Munch on a bag of Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop Kettle Korn, not Movie Theater Butter.
• Chase down the ice-cream truck for a Good Humor vanilla sandwich, not a King Cone.
• Stop eating when you hit the crust. The edges and bottoms of baked goods are especially caloric because they absorb the butter used to grease the pan.
• Fill your bowl with sorbet instead of ice cream—you can have an extra 1/2 cup of the former and still slash calories.
• Next time a cocoa craving hits, ditch the dish of chocolate ice cream (about 3/4 cup) for a Fudgsicle.
• Have sugar-free Jell-O instead of pudding. Better your nighttime treat jiggle than your thighs.
• Go ahead and have that piece of birthday cake—just scrape off the chocolate frosting first.
• Eat 5 meringue cookies instead of 2 chocolate chip ones.
• Pass on the à la mode and savor that brownie au naturel.
• Can the cone. Have your ice cream in a bowl.
• Top your dessert with 1/2 cup of fresh berries instead of 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup.
In the Kitchen
• Substitute nonfat Greek yogurt for a serving of sour cream.
• Use chicken broth (low-sodium is best) instead of oil to sauté meat and veggies.
• Making homemade mac ‘n cheese? Cut 2 tablespoons of butter from the recipe.
• Replace the oil or butter in cakes with Sunsweet Lighter Bake prune-and-apple mixture or any brand of unsweetened applesauce.
• Next time you make meatballs, meatloaf, or burgers, go half-and-half with ground beef and turkey.
• When preparing packaged foods that call for butter or oil, like rice and stuffing, use a broth instead.
• Swap low-fat cottage cheese for whole-milk ricotta when you make lasagna or stuffed shells.
At the Drive-Thru
• Pass up a Wendy’s baked potato with sour cream and chives and chow down on value fries instead. Amazing but true.
• Have a McDonald’s cheeseburger instead of a Quarter Pounder with cheese.
• Downsize your drink: Trade a large fountain soda (with ice) for a medium.
• Go for grill marks. Order a flame-broiled chicken sandwich rather than one that’s breaded (and usually fried in oil).
• Treat yourself to an ice-cream cone at McDonald’s instead of Dairy Queen.
• Crunch on one Taco Bell regular taco instead of a Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco. And all the hot sauce you want.
• Slurp a cup of Panera Bread’s low-fat chicken noodle soup instead of the cream of chicken with wild rice.
• Make your daily pick-me-up at Starbucks a skinny vanilla latte, not a regular.
When You’re Not Cooking
• Request the lemon chicken with white rice, not fried.
• Skip the crunchy noodles with your bowl of wonton soup.
• Ask for an order of Szechuan Shrimp instead of your usual General Tso’s.
• Choose the pasta with 1/2 cup of marinara instead of 1/2 cup of Alfredo sauce.
• Indulge your inner carnivore with beef stroganoff, not meat lasagna.
• Go with the baked potato (butter only), not the mashed, as your side of choice.
• Dip your dinner roll in marinara sauce instead of olive oil.
• Avoid anything breaded. Flour and bread crumbs not only add calories but also absorb more cooking oil.
The problem with 500-calorie a day diets is that: 1) they’re almost impossible to follow, no matter how good at self-motivation you may be, and 2) they’re not particularly healthy (they’ll screw up your metabolism and make you hit a plateau after a few weeks). I’ve tried diets like those countless times, and they’ve never proved successful for me. I’d suggest a diet with a calorie intake that is not constant — something varied, i.e. not 500 calories every single day. The most successful plan I know of is the Variant Plan. It’s healthy, it’ll keep your metabolism at a good and stable rate, and it won’t make you hit any plateaus. Plus, it’s easier to stick to since you have the freedom and the control to dictate what you eat on each day. Simply said: it works. I’d highly recommend it!!
Here’s what the Variant Plan is:
- Each day you consume between 400 and 800 calories.
- You eat high, then low, then high, then low, and so on. Meaning— if you eat 700 calories one day (high), then you’ll eat 400 calories the next day (low), then 600 the next day (high), then 500 the next day (low), and so on.
- You have to set a limit for yourself. You can only eat between (for example) 7am and 7pm. No late night snacking!!
- It’s best to eat in small pieces throughout the day. Instead of eating one big meal that uses up all your calorie limit, you should eat (for example) 4 snack-sized meals a day at various times throughout the day in order to keep your energy up all day long.
- The variation keeps your metabolism stable and gives you freedom which promotes self-motivation. But the most important part of this plan is this: Of those 600-or-so calories you’ll eat each day, all of them have to consist of healthy foods. That means no foods high in refined carbohydrates, trans fats, saturated fats, or sugars. Sandwiches on whole wheat bread, lots of meats for energy, nuts for proteins, soups, whole wheat pastas — those types of foods should be most of what you’re eating.
200 Foods Under 100 Calories (Part 2)
See Part 1 here.
200 Foods Under 100 Calories (Part 1)
See Part 2 here.