If you are a young person that is trying to get familiar with clean eating, I have a few tips to help you get started:
1. Make your goals known to your family.
I have watched several of my young cousins, friends, and in-laws get on their path to healthier eating, and they always start with informing the family that they won't be eating junk any more. It helps everyone to put their habits into perspective, and it keeps the people closest to you from parading cupcakes in your face. Tell your parents or whoever you live with that you want to eat healthier and get fit, let them know that you are serious about this and that you want to do it right. Get their input and perhaps invite them to join you. Not everyone will be interested, so you'll have to be prepared for the fact that sometimes, you'll be eating salad while everyone else is eating ice cream...but you'll learn that that's okay!
2. Learn what clean foods REALLY are.
Clean eating, to me, means limiting processed foods and eating whole, real foods that contain ingredients that are easy to pronounce. If you shop along the perimeter of the store, you'll see a lot of clean, real foods. Veggies, fruits, lean meats and seafood, rice, beans, nuts, seeds, eggs, spices, almond milk, greek yogurt. These are some of your basic clean foods. Start practicing eating more of these clean foods every day and less fast food.
3. Ask for help.
Sometimes you will need help with meal-prep, help with dinner ideas so that your food doesn't get too boring, or support during your workouts. Don't be afraid to ask someone for help. The people that love you will be more than glad to support you in any way that they can.
4. Have a goal schedule and stick to it.
Your goals should be small, reasonable, and reachable. If you set goals that are too large and too general (like losing 60 pounds), you won't have the small daily reminders that keep you on the right track. So, for example, set a goal to stop drinking soda for the whole week. If you succeed, great! If you mess up, start again . Set small weekly goals and rewards for yourself, and you will feel the motivation to stay on track.
5. Work on balance.
We all need to find balance in life. Not everyone is going to be a gym rat with six pack abs, and that is okay. What we really need to have in our life is healthy bodies and happy hearts. So balance might mean exercising and eating clean all week, and then having a cupcake and some soda at the weekend barbecue. Don't beat yourself up about small amounts of junk food, just do your best to eat healthy the majority of the time. I absolutely believe in the 80/20 rule, eating clean 80% of the time and eating whatever I want (within moderation) the other 20%. I say "within moderation" because huge portions of junk food are never good, no matter how much healthy food you eat. Have the occasional snack, but make sure it is just one serving.
We're living in a world that is somewhat off-balance. We're either pushed toward being perfectly thin, air brushed models, or we're bombarded with junk food, energy drinks, and sugar. We have to fight the tendency to take the easy route, and put in the effort that it takes to eat clean. Baby steps in the right direction
Written by: Cate Rosales
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