How many times have you wanted to change your diet, but didn’t really know where to start?
Maybe you didn’t know what things are considered healthy or you just couldn’t stick to it because you didn’t like the foods.
Believe me, I’ve had way too many experiences with that.
A friend of mine recently asked me “how do you know what to eat, and how much, and how many cheat days you can have in your fitness journey”, and in the moment I couldn’t really give an answer. I was stuck
But after carefully thinking about it and about what I did I can now provide some helpful insight on this topic.
What is clean eating and how clean do you have to eat?
according to medicalnewstoday.com Clean eating is a diet concept where a person avoids refined and processed foods and those that have artificial ingredients.
Now, how clean do you have to eat?
So like the definition says, eating clean requires more whole and organic foods, and less processed and fast foods. You should be eating things like lean meats, vegetables fruits, etc.. you know the deal. You should be doing this most days, if not all, of the week.
my personal opinion for this is that you should be trying to give your overall diet a complete 180.
Meaning you shouldn’t be considering going on a diet cause that implies that when you are done you’re gonna go back to your same eating habits which is gonna lead you right back to point A, right?
Instead of doing that you should be focused on eating these healthier foods regularly, and the junk food occasionally. Most people have it backwards.
So, I guess to answer the question, you should aim to eat clean all the time. Slips ups are cool, not a big deal. Have a piece of cake every now and then. But the more clean you eat (again that’s whole, unprocessed foods most days of the week) the better and quicker the results. And you’ll also be able to enjoy some junk here and there without having to worry about consequences
How do you know what to eat?
What you eat is strictly up to you.
You do not have to eat anything that you don’t like.
I see people eating avocados all the time. I personally think they’re nasty as hell and they literally make me gag.
I don’t eat them. They’re healthy, but I don’t eat them
As I’ve said so many times, DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Don’t just eat stuff cause you see other people eating it because its gonna be sooo hard to stick to eating healthy regularly if you are forcing yourself to eat foods that you think are nasty.
So I cant tell you what to eat cause I don’t know your tastebuds.
Do your research on healthy foods, on how many calories you should be eating and find the things you like, plan out your meals and stick with it.
There is also google, or you can hire a nutritionist… like there are so many resources you can use to find the healthy foods that you like, that make you want to eat them.
If you don’t like broccoli you don’t eat it! Find something else.
How many cheat days are you allowed?
Most people would tell you to stray away from cheat days, and I am one of them, but i’m very hypocritical in this case because I had cheat days all the time when I was trying to lose fat, which is probably why it took me so long to lose it.
What’s important here is how quickly you want to reach your goals.
If you don’t want any setbacks and you want to go straight from A to B, then No cheat days whatsoever. None.
If you are taking your time, ya know just enjoying the process then I would say maybe one or two a week BUT the thing is I do not recommend having a FULL cheat day.
I think cheat meals are okay, but cheat days can really mess you up.
I still call mine cheat days cause that’s the day I plan to have my cheat meal, but a lot of people hear cheat day and think they can eat whatever all day long cause it’s a cheat day, and that’s when you end up taking in tons of calories without even realizing.
and that’s pretty much how you cancel out everything you did for the week. So if you’re wondering why you aren’t losing weight or maybe you’re even gaining weight this could be why. look at what you’re doing on those cheat days
and from here on out when you are considering having a cheat day its really up to you to think about your goals, how quickly you want to reach them and if you are willing to sacrifice that for one day a week or not.
How do you know how much to eat, and what is too much or too little?
First things first
find out how many calories you need to be eating for your goals. And stick to that number. Or at least as close as you can
Here is a calorie calculator to do that
Now this is gonna take some time and effort but if you are serious about your goals, you will make it work.
It will also be helpful to know what your macros are as well. This isn’t as critical for people who want to lose weight as it is for people wanting to gain weight, but it is still useful in both cases.
For more about macros check out 6 Steps On How To Create Your Own Meal Plan , where I talk about them in a little more detail
pay attention to serving sizes! They are there for a reason.
If a serving size says 1 cup is 200 calories, then eat one cup to take in just those 200 calories.. stop stuffing yourself just because it tastes good. Practice discipline.
A big problem in society today is that serving sizes are not a thing that most people know or care about. They weren’t for me until 2 years ago.
Well now they need to be a thing, an important thing to you, if you plan on reaching your goals. It’s really easy to eat more than you should when you’re not paying attention to serving sizes.
And lastly what is too much or too little?
If you are not meeting your calorie or macro counts, it’s too little.
If you are exceeding your calorie or macro counts it’s too much.
And it’s as simple as that.
I’ll give a quick example. If you want to lose weight and you learn that your calorie intake should be 1500 calories a day to lose a pound a week
if you take in 2000 calories a day you are eating too much and depending on your activity levels you will either gain or maintain the same weight.
If you eat 1000 calories, which is way too little, you may still lose weight but you put body at risk which wont be healthy in the long run and can cause medical issues, so I do not recommend.
Calories and serving sizes extremely important for losing AND gaining weight.
Pay attention, pay attention, PAY ATTENTION!
*** I will say that once you start getting the hang of things and knowing what you’re doing in regards to food you won’t have count every single calorie every day.
I stopped doing that a year ago, and am doing just fine, because I’ve learned more and now I know what my body needs. Now I can eyeball a serving size for most things.
So don’t get discouraged if counting seems like a lot. This can be temporary or you can keep doing it permanently, that’s completely up to you.
Take it from me, someone who had to learn things on my own and the hard way. Diet is really the hardest part in your fitness journey and as I’ve also learned, it is also the MOST IMPORTANT.
Do not neglect it!