Have you ever noticed that it seems like the rules on what foods we should and shouldn’t eat to be healthy seem to change on a daily basis?

I used to be so strict with myself about eating clean. I tried so hard to eat what I thought I needed to in order to lose weight and be healthy, and truth be told, that time of my life was when my binge behavior was at its height.

The biggest problem with the idea of “clean eating” is that “clean” has no objective definition. Ask around about what foods are “unclean.”

Vegetarians will tell you animal meat.

Vegans will tell you that all animal products are unclean.

Bodybuilders will say milk, fruit, and white bread.

Paleo advocates will say grains, legumes, dairy, refined oils, added salt, sugar, alcohol, and some vegetables.

USDA, and the United States Government, says it’s saturated fat, cholesterol, red meat, eggs, trans-fats.

Low-carb proponents will say sugar and other carbs.

Hippies will tell you it’s artificial sweeteners, processed foods, cooked foods, packaged foods, or foods with BPA.

In all my years in health and fitness, for every food I was told was clean, someone else touted it as being unclean.

So, what IS the truth about clean eating?

These 4 mindset shifts will help to set you straight:

1. There is no objective way to define clean eating because it depends so much on your particular lifestyle and preferences.

What may be clean for you may be “dirty” for me, or vice versa.

I know that, personally speaking, when I was in my Adkin’s dieting phase, I gained some serious fat pounding bags of raw cashews. But aren’t raw cashews supposed to be clean…?

2. Most people want to eat clean because they want to avoid eating “empty calories.”

It’s true that some foods are far more nutrient dense than others. Ben and Jerry’s ice cream doesn’t have the same nutrient content as a salad, however as long as you are eating a wide variety of foods, predominately consisting of whole (minimally processed) foods, eating some empty calories foods in moderation is not really that big of a deal. Especially if these foods give you pleasure to eat and keep you mentally feeling satisfied (not deprived) by your food choices.

3. Any food eaten in excess can technically be “bad” for you, even whatever foods you typically consider to be clean. It’s just harder to overeat whole foods than it is to overeat ice cream or cookies.

4. As a society, we’ve created these rigid rules around such foods as sugar, grains, and dairy and yet outside of very specific medical conditions, there is virtually no evidence that any single food can directly damage the vast majority of people’s health.

It is our mindset and our unhealthy behaviors, related to food, that are damaging to our health and sabotaging our dream body goals. It is NOT the food itself. That’s the moral of the story and if you can wrap your head around that, you’ll be light years ahead of anyone else trying to set up a sustainable healthy (and balanced) lifestyle.

Trying to abide by strict food rules (that somebody else told you that you are supposed to follow) sets you up for failure because this way of living is not realistic.

So, what is realistic when it comes to our relationship with food?

A flexible, freedom based way of living that can be adjusted toward your specific lifestyle and preferences.

How freeing would it be to tell yourself that today, you can eat anything you want as long as you hit certain nutritional guidelines for the day?

Instead of restricting “bad” foods, what if you focused first and foremost on nourishing your body so that it has everything it needs to function optimally.

“Eating clean” is not the end all be all solution.

Avoiding sugar for 4, 6, 8, 12-weeks or even an extended period of time is not the answer.

The healthiest people are not the people that abide by strict rules related to “eating clean.” They are the people that don’t stress about food. They take care to nourish themselves, but beyond that, they don’t stress about it. They have guidelines that work for them, but they don’t obsess over the latest rules that the news or their neighbor says that “they say” you should be eating or avoiding.

An all-inclusive way of eating

So, how do you get to this place of moderation and an all-inclusive way of eating versus restriction and strict rules on “clean eating”?

One way is to learn how to hit your nutritional guidelines through tracking macros and setting targets. Then, from there, you can choose whatever foods you like based on your unique preferences. This is the idea behind flexible dieting. Bye-bye restriction, hello nourishment and choice. Many people use this as the bridge from restriction and a dieting mindset to a more intuitive, nourishment-based way of eating.

Ready to stop obsessing over food and your body? 

Schedule a complimentary Dream Body Breakthrough Call with me today!

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