The holidays are over and the new year is among us. A special and exciting time where we make ambitious plans for our next twelve months and dream of the possibilities.
The most popular resolution is improving health, and we usually are quite ready after the holidays. As tasty as the holiday tidings are, they leave us feeling a little less on track with our goals than we'd like. Those new healthy resolutions don't have to be complicated, and they don't have to end before February even arrives. The key to looking and feeling your best is to keep it uncomplicated and simply focus on clean eating.
In case you've heard the term "clean eating" but haven't quite understood what it means --clean eating is all about consuming healthy, whole foods and cutting out as much processed “food” as possible. Whether you’re ready to jumpstart your clean eating now or you’re wondering what it takes to get started, I’ve got super-simple steps for a no-fail progression into clean eating to share with you:
1. Know Your WHY
Whether you’re determined to race in the Boston Marathon next year, or you have seen first-hand the how not eating well affects the health and well-being of loved ones -- whatever it is that is motivating you to eat clean, bring it into your direct focus so you will be more successful in sticking to your clean eating plan.
2. Take A Good Long Look
Before you begin your clean eating journey, it helps to journal about what you’re eating before beginning. This way, you can truly see what it is you’re eating and look for patterns. After the stressful end of week push at the office, you might notice you’re more prone to ordering pizza, or maybe you notice that while you crave salty foods like chips and you feel good while eating them, you get a not so good feeling overall after you have indulged.
3. Don't Give Anything Up -- Just Crowd It Out
When people make changes to things in their lives such as a change to their eating habits, they can set themselves up for significant failures if they don’t take it step by step. I always find that the worst thing I think to myself is that I cannot have something. That immediately makes me feel "deprived" and my new resolution takes on a negative vibe. Instead crowd those highly processed foods out of your diet and right off of your plate, by filling your plate with more and more whole clean foods.
And instead of saying "I can't eat that", say to yourself, "I choose not to eat that". See and feel the shift in energy from negative to positive.
Don’t just say you’ll stop eating desserts forever. Instead, set a goal of only eating one small dessert and go from there. Add in those healthy, nutritious foods and soon you will not even notice that you are not eating the dessert.
4. Clean Out the Pantry
Sadly, most American pantries are filled with processed foods. A good rule of thumb is to cut out anything that contains more than five ingredients on the label, and anything unnatural should go. It can be expensive to toss what you just purchased. Give away or use what you have, but replace what you use with healthier options.
5. Ring Around the Grocery Store
We’re creatures of habit, every one of us. When we go to the supermarket, we usually follow the same path every time. Shake things up and head straight for the produce section. You really should be avoiding almost all of the middle aisles of your supermarket anyway because that’s where those processed food pitfalls lurk! Instead make a circuit around the perimeter of the supermarket and only go into the center aisles that contain the items you truly need. Eventually you will find that you rarely venture into the center.
6. Master Meal Prep
One of the easiest ways to dive right into clean eating is to prep your meals. You’ll find tons of healthy meal prep plans online that even give you shopping lists to use. If time is a factor, look for crockpot recipes that use whole foods. Simply add your ingredients together in the morning and come home to a hot, delicious, clean and healthy meal every night!