How to Eat Clean Without Feeling Deprived

Written by: Susannah Van Winkle, Personal Trainer, O2 Fitness Falls

Finding Balance.

Many people have trouble finding balance in clean eating— either in everyday life habits, or after losing those unwanted pounds. The minute after consuming a cheat meal or indulging after weight loss, one might feel like they are “fat, bloated,and disgusting.” They beat themselves up over allowing themselves to indulge, when in fact it is not as bad as they think it is.

We’re all guilty!

I admit, I’ve been guilty of this, too! In the past, I’ve been afraid to allow myself a nice treat or have avoided even a bite of pumpkin pie at Christmas, because I was afraid of getting “fat” or not having control. And it’s true that I preach eating clean and exercising! However, this goes with finding balance in every aspect of your life, even eating.

We need to be able to have a nice “treat meal” with our friends, family and loved ones every now and then. After years of depriving myself and being the food police, I am starting to see the bigger picture.

6 Tips I’ve Used to Find Balance:

Face your fears.

It’s not the food you fear, it’s the aftermath of the indulgence you fear. Write down what scares you. It can be as simple as, “I’m afraid after I eat this, I will not be able to stop. I’m afraid I will have to do hours of cardio to get it off. I’m afraid I will be judged if I gain a few pounds.” Whatever your fear is, write it down. This will help you decide how ridiculous you sound. I have called myself out a few times!

Be aware of your food.

When you sit down to eat… EAT! I am guilty of this, too. Turn the TV off, shut down your computer!  Be connected with your food. Chew slowly and enjoy it. You will just need a few bites to realize that’s all you needed, and you will not have to beat yourself up about eating a whole meal/day of bad foods.

Choose the benefits of foods.

Instead of saying, “NO I can’t” have something, say, “I’d rather have this because it is better for me.” For example, instead of, “I  can’t have a piece of cake” just say, “I’d rather have fruit— which satisfies my sweet tooth.” Also, it’s more nutritious for me and aids in protecting us from disease and is great for the skin.” Deprivation only leads to failure. Turn it around and make a positive out of it for a better chance of success.

Learn to trust yourself.

Trust that you will allow yourself just a bite. Allow yourself to enjoy the little things in life again. You will come to find out that you weren’t really missing it all and a bite was just enough. You have to train yourself to keep yourself on the right path. Just like working out— we train for our muscles to grow, now we need to train ourselves to just have self  control.

Have fun with your foods.

I personally make protein pancakes, protein bars, egg white muffins, and the list goes on. I am huge on making any “unclean treat” a healthy food!!! I have tons of clean recipes that I have revamped using natural, sugar free, and higher protein ingredients.

Cheat on your diet.

Yes, cheating on your diet occasionally can benefit you when it comes to dropping fat and keeping muscle! The cheat meal can help stimulate the fat burning hormone leptin as well as re-stock your muscle glycogen load. Leptin gets shut off after a few weeks of dieting. If you want to keep leptin up regulated, have a cheat meal. Eating carbs can help to stimulate this important hormone, and when this hormone is turned on, so is fat burning!

Being afraid to eat and enjoy food at social events is very common, and these are the things that have helped me, and I hope that you all do the same!

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