What is clean eating for weight loss? Well first let me ask you:
Is weight loss a struggle for you?
Or are you losing weight on your current plan but feel “unhealthy” most of the time?
It could be that some of the foods that you eat just do not work for your body.
Switching to a clean diet that consists of real food, plenty of fruits and vegetables, quality meat will put you on the right track to a healthy weight and feeling better.
There are a few things you can do to speed things up (Ketovore), which is important if you have a lot of weight to lose or are pre-diabetic. But ideally, the best and healthiest way to lose weight and keep it off and feel better is with clean food.
Hello and welcome to Fearlessly Holistic.
My name is Irma and I want to share my journey to improved health by eating whole foods, moving my body and eliminating stress as much as possible.
It is my hope to inspire you to make daily changes.
Why? Because eating fresh, seasonal food and getting some sunshine is the best way to increase longevity. But you do not want just a long life.
You want a quality long life.
My blog posts are my opinion and the results of things that I have tried that either worked for me or didn’t. My opinions are for informational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. As well, there may be affiliate links in this post. Read more here.
3 Reasons Why You Can’t Lose Weight
Are you obese, at least according to a BMI?
Have you attempted almost everything to lose weight with little success?
Do you have to fight food cravings constantly on your current diet?
Well, losing weight can prove to be a difficult task especially if you follow government guidelines on what to eat.
Guidelines are just that…guidelines. They should only be a starting point, but not the rule. Your body is your body, and what it requires for health is different from everyone else.
Which is why people gain weight eating what the food guide recommends. Those recommendations are to help sell commodities, like wheat and corn, not keep you healthy.
No, you may have to become a “holistic detective” to discover what your body thrives on.
Let me help you if you don’t know where to start from, or you lack an experienced hand to guide you through the process.
Here are the 3 main reasons that weight loss does not occur:
#1 You don’t exercise regularly
If you intend to lose weight, then some exercise is a must. That being said, walking is by far the best exercise for people without mobility issues.
Plus you need to tone your body a bit for after you lose your excess weight.
Yoga or strength training will give you natural tone and definition, making you look better while you shrink.
Remember: For most of human history, we spent most of our lives outside, working on our land. Chopping down trees and tilling soil.
Physical exercise is natural, but only if the exercise is natural. Like walking. Or lifting heavy things.
A treadmill would be unnatural, because the real world is not that flat for 5 miles. Hiking is much more realistic.
Health experts recommend that you exercise for at least thirty minutes daily. That should be something natural like going for a walk, not an hour of cardio. Ugh.
Regular exercise will help you burn extra calories and regulate the production of a hormone named cortisol produced when you are stressed.
Cortisol is closely associated with obesity since when your body is recovering from stress it increases your appetite to compensate for the carbohydrates and fat that was used to prepare your body for fight or flight.
#2 You are not sleeping well
To achieve your weight loss goals, you can’t overlook getting enough sleep. Sleep is crucial in promoting your overall health as well as weight loss.
Studies have shown that those who don’t get enough sleep have a tendency of consuming high-calorie foods the next day.
Yes, you heard me right!
Besides, lack of enough sleep also affects your appetite hormones, namely leptin and ghrelin, thereby increasing your appetite.
So, if you are not sleeping well, start trying different things to help you get enough sleep. Try going to bed at the same time nighly. Then be sure to get up at the same time (even on days off!).
Use a blue light filter on your mobile phone, if you scroll a lot before bed.
The blue light disrupts melatonin, making it harder to fall or stay asleep. And try a sleep mask if you just can’t sleep if there is any light in the room (me!).
Try meditation before bed or listen to soothing sounds like ocean waves or wind chimes.
YouTube has lots of videos on meditation with relaxing nature sounds. Use headphones and lay in bed listening to help you fall asleep.
#3 You are not eating healthy
And here we are…the main reason for not losing weight. Trust me, this is not your fault!
Government guidelines and TV advertising conspire to push you into eating wrong foods. They make money while your health declines. The simplest way to stop this cycle is to…stop.
What you eat will determine your body weight.
If you intend to lose weight, and you still eat processed foods that are rich in trans fats, salt, and sugars, you are doing more harm than good to your body.
These substances tamper with your digestion as well as metabolism. Processed foods lack nutrients and won’t satisfy you, meaning that you will have to eat more to deal with your cravings.
As well, many processed food ingredients are not “food”.
They were created in labs and the FDA may say they are okay, but your body does not recognize these items as food. Nope, they are foreign invaders that cause inflammation in your body.
Modify your diet by including more proteins, vegetables, and (some) fruits. These foods contain nutrients that promote weight loss and improved health.
And that is not all, also ensure that you drink enough water to improve your digestion and catalyze reactions that result in burning off extra calories.
Related Post: Clean Eating for Improved Health (post #1 in this series)
3 Tips To Help Start Your Clean Eating Weight Loss Plan
Losing excess weight not just make you look and feel good. It will also significantly reduces your risk of getting diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart attack and high blood pressure.
There are numerous crash diets and over the top workout programs sold online that promise to help you loose weight fast, but most of them don’t work in the long term.
If you’ve tried any of them and failed, don’t give up just yet.
There are numerous steps you can take to develop a healthy relationship with food and attain lasting weight loss.
#1 Introduce Changes Gradually
Our bodies use the foods we eat for energy. When you eat more food than your body requires for daily activities, the excess energy is stored as fat.
This happens on the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is carb-heavy.
Your body burns carbs first, so if you eat excess carbs, then your body will not burn its stored fat. Simple science.
The more high-carb foods you eat, the more fat your body stores and the more weight you’ll gain.
To lose weight in a healthy way, it is very important that you gradually change your eating habits and only eat veggies and some fruit for your carbohydrate foods.
Avoid wheat and other grains until you know how they affect you.
Making small changes can make a big difference in the long run.
So, if you are used to eating unhealthy foods, try cutting them out slowly and replacing them with healthier alternatives (vegetables, fruits, and lean meat).
Switch your snacks to nuts, berries, string cheese, jerky (watch for excess sugar), or a cup of green tea.
#2 Reduce Your Calorie Intake
Other than introducing healthier foods to your diet, you also need to limit the amount of food you eat to lose weight.
A good starting point is cutting down on foods that have added sugar and refined carbohydrates like breads and other wheat products, energy drinks and white rice among others.
A simple way to cut these foods out is to eat more protein and quality fats.
These foods fill you up for longer, and are more nutrient-dense. This means they contain more nutrition. And because they make you feel full longer, you will automatically eat less often.
Related Post: How To Do An Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan
Aim to eat at least 300-500 calories less everyday, to achieve a slow and steady weight loss. This may seem slow, but it is more realistic and sustainable.
#3 Increase Your Activity Level
You will not read from me that going to a gym is a good thing. I personally think it is a huge waste of money and time. And most of the machines do not mimic real-life activities.
That being said, if the weather is bad, by all means, find an indoor track to walk. Or the mall.
There are many physical activities you can do to increase your level of activity. Try to add in short bits of activity throughout your day.
- Try using the stairs at work instead of the elevator.
- Watch your favorite TV programs while using a stationary bicycle.
- Take your kids swimming at a local pool
- Or take a longer walk than you usually do.
- Set a timer on your phone to remind you, every hour, to get up from your desk and move around.
- Go for a walk on your coffee break instead of going to the break room. Get some sun (Vitamin D) if you can!
The key to long-term weight loss is to eat less calories than your body needs, do physical activities that you enjoy regularly and make lifestyle changes that contribute to your overall health.
Always remember that every extra step you take in the right direction brings you closer to achieving your weight loss goal.
A Clean Eating Weight Loss Plan
Before looking at meal ideas, you should hone in on what exactly a clean eating weight loss plan is going to do for you. The following information goes over clean eating, what is allowed and not allowed, and basically how it works.
The three macro-nutrients are: Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates.
There are carbohydrates, to some degree, in all foods. If you eat fresh produce, you can safely skip wheat, grains, pasta, oats, rice, and potatoes.
FYI: Your body will burn carbs for energy first. So as long as you are eating carbs you will not burn fat. That is a scientific fact.
We only need a small amount of carbohydrate foods daily, and only from fresh veggies and fruit. That is because these carbs come with a lot of other nutrients, fiber, anti-oxidants etc.
You do not need grains, oats, rice, or corn to thrive. You do need fresh veggies and fruits.
Protein is a dietary requirement because it builds and repairs tissues and helps make hormones and enzymes. Use a macro calculator to discover your minimum requirement of daily protein, and tweak from there. I know that I do better with higher protein.
Fat is also required because it nourishes our brain and cells, but only if it is a natural fat. Dietary fat allows you to metabolize fat-soluable vitamins.
You may read, as I have, that many people who demonized fat earlier in the decade are now reversing their opinions. That is because the data they supported is wrong and fat is not the enemy.
Sugar is. And do you know what turns into sugar in your body? That’s right…carbs! So if you’re eating carbs, eat the good ones…vegetables and fruit.
Unnatural fats, called industrial seed oils (aka vegetable, oil even though they are not made from vegetables) is lab made using solvents to extract the oil from the seed. Ewwwwwww.
Vegetable oils are hydrogenated, making them Trans fats.
They are extremely unhealthy and they are in almost every packaged food.
And they are in almost all fast food. Deep fried foods use vegetable oil. Breads/buns use vegetable oils. Pastries from the gas station use hydrogenated vegetable oil. Eww.
Foods To Eat For Weight Loss
A good place to start with clean eating is to learn about the simple and basic rules involved with this lifestyle.
Don’t spend time worrying about the calorie count. Instead, strive for fresh, local veggies and fruits at the peak of nutrition and top-quality meats and fats.
This will improve health the fastest.
FYI: Just because I recommend certain foods does not mean that they are good for your body.
Tomatoes are a great vegetable, but if they cause you to have poor health, then they are not good for you.
If you are having a lot of health issues even when eating clean, you may have multiple food sensitivities. I know I did.
I would recommend an elimination diet, where you have a limited diet. Then you you add in a new food every couple of days to see if you react to it.
The easiest elimination diet that I have tried is the Carnivore diet. Yup, all meat, all the time.
Check this video of Mikhaila Peterson guesting on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Mikhaila had multiple health issues that were solved by going carnivore. That is also why I do it. It solves problems when nothing else will.
Skip ahead to 27:00 minute mark to get to “the meat” (ha!) of the interview
Related Post: Clean Eating Food List for Beginners
In general, you are focusing more on healthy, whole, and fresh foods.
Instead of counting calories, you are simply trying to cook more, using fresh ingredients, and avoiding highly processed foods.
- This means grating your own cheese (packaged grated cheese is coated in starch to keep it from clumping together)
- No longer using canned fruits and veggies (Most canned fruits contain added sugar necessary for the canning procedure. Canned veggies contain added salt, and sometimes, sugars)
- Only having eggs or dairy that is from free-range, organic, and/or grass-fed animals. (these animals are fed a natural diet. A cows natural diet is grass, not corn. Ever wonder why cows create methane gas? Its all the corn they are forced to eat. Yuk).
With a clean eating lifestyle, you should be cooking most meals on your own and reducing your trans fats. You also want to reduce your alcohol intake as much as possible.
Purchase Fresh, In-season Produce Whenever Possible
Obviously, that won’t happen in winter.
Avoid buying fresh veggies and fruits from other countries during winter. You don’t know what they were sprayed with or when they were picked.
Go for frozen veggies, or produce that “keeps” over winter like cabbage, squash, turnip, parsnip, carrots, onions. And for fruit, apples and winter pears, like Anjou.
With clean eating, produce is “a must” in your diet.
You will get the bulk of your carbohydrates from fresh veggies and fruit. You will also get fiber and nutrients that are essential to good gut health.
If you have found that you are getting more and more strange health symptoms “all of a sudden”, it is likely that your gut microbiome is off.
Clean eating can help. Your digestive tract requires certain foods to work optimally.
Related Post: Improve Your Gut Microbiome Today
As much as possible, eat leafy greens, as they contain the most beneficial nutrients. To save money and have a larger selection, try finding local farmer’s markets to shop at. Many have organic items, local meats, and they have whatever grows currently.
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods is a major no-no on the clean eating diet. You want to use as many natural and fresh ingredients as you can.
If it comes in a package, consider whether there is a more natural version of that ingredient. Shredded cheese comes in a block of cheese you grate yourself, for example.
Avoid buying pre-cut veggies. Instead, buy the whole vegetable and cut it up yourself. Or buy a small bag of salad to mix with your cut up lettuce; eventually stop buying packaged greens.
Start Cooking More
As you can see, cooking is a major component to eating clean. It might seem like more work, but you are getting better quality, fresher food. #win-win.
You don’t need to be a trained chef. A simple meal of grilled meat with a green salad will do. This is our families go-to meal.
I copy Wendy’s salad ideas and add berries, feta cheese, red onions, and sunflower seeds or chopped almonds.
Skip the meat if you are using avocado or cooked eggs, like a Cobb salad. Or not; I like avocado and meat on my salads.
If you don’t have a lot of time to prep and cook, invest in some appliances that help the process go faster, such as a food processor for chopping, and a slow cooker to cook your meals during the day while you are at work or school.
I often cook beef stew meat with bbq sauce in a slow cooker. It’s a tasty and filling meal, ready when you get home from work. Serve it with a cooked side like steamed cauliflower.
Foods To Avoid
Watch The Sweeteners
Clean eating cuts out all white sugar and artificial sweeteners. Many people on low carb diets report adverse reactions to artificial sweeteners, so be careful. They can cause bloating, gas, and weight loss stalls.
Natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup are allowed, if used sparingly. While they are fine to use in moderation, be careful about not going overboard.
Replacing your sugary treats with “clean” versions that contain just as many natural sugars won’t help you lose the weight and isn’t good for your blood sugar.
Careful With Carbs
One of the best ways to lose excess weight is to curb carbohydrate consumption. Eat plenty of low-carb, non-starchy vegetables, add a few berries, and enjoy.
The benefit of eating fresh local, in-season food is that it’s visually appealing as well. When strawberries are in season, eat your fill. Then stop when the season stops. Move on to the next available fresh produce item.
By eating through the seasonal produce available to you, you will ensure getting optimal nutrition at the cheapest prices. Head to your local farmers market often to keep up with what is available to you.
And so that you know what is coming next.
Try an app like Cron-o-Meter to track your macro’s (fat, protein, carbs), until you understand how your body reacts to the foods you eat.
Plenty of Protein And Healthy Fat To Stay Full
With sugars and carbs out of the way, what should you eat? After all a big salad will only satisfy you for so long.
Eat the best quality protein that you can afford. As well, eat locally in this area as well. If you are buying local, grass fed or pastured meats, you can eat the fat.
If you buy meat from your local grocery store, avoid the fat. Toxins are in the fat, and you don’t know what the animal was fed.
FYI: Meats, especially red meat like beef, is nutrient dense.
This means that it takes longer to digest because your body is extracting all the nutrients. And beef has a lot of nutrition to be extracted. Get grass fed beef for maximum nutrients.
For fats, use coconut oil, olive oil (cold pressed extra virgin), butter, ghee, or avocado oil.
As well, eat avocado’s, full-fat dairy products (careful tho as dairy does have carbs and they add up fast), eggs. And yes, dark chocolate qualifies.
Related Post: 24 Healthy Fat Foods
Nuts and seeds are another great option full of healthy fats. Be careful of portion sizes though.
Don’t Forget The Water
Often we think we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty. Try drinking a glass of water first.
Not only will it fill you up with zero calories, staying well hydrated also makes it easier for your body to process body fat into energy your body can use.
In other words, drink your water and melt that fat right of your body.
Move Around More
Eating the right type of food in appropriate portions will make a huge difference when it comes to your weight. But so will moving around.
Go for a short walk after dinner, park a little further away at the mall or dance around the kitchen to your favorite music. Not only will this burn extra calories, it also puts you in a better mood and kicks your metabolism into high gear.
Clean Eating Weight Loss Tips
As you may know, not fueling up with the right nutrients can affect how well your body performs and your overall fitness benefits. Be sure to create a “good habits” routine to make eating clean easier.
Don’t leave home on an empty stomach.
If you hear a rumbling noise in your stomach, then it’s time to eat. Try to eat before you leave home, so you are not tempted to buy junk when you’re stuck away from home.
Also keep snacks like string cheese, jerky (I just discovered Bacon Jerky!), pepperoni, or hard cooked eggs.
Have some fresh berries with a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream, for a quick, filling snack.
Avoid energy bars and drinks.
These products mostly contain poor quality sweeteners, like high-fructose corn syrup. Try to keep high protein snacks, like nuts or jerky, to keep you from reaching for sugar.
Do not skip breakfast
Unless you are intermittent fasting and understand how that works for your body.
Personally, I cannot eat first thing, so I do Intermittent Fasting. What I do have is a cup of Keto coffee (coffee and heavy cream). It has some calories so I don’t need to eat solid food until it’s time for me to eat.
Fuel your body in a way that works for you.
Don’t eat a Low Fat diet.
Your body needs fat. Low fat diets cause mental disorders, like brain fog and depression. Your brain is made of fat and it requires fat to function properly. So do your cells.
However, you need to feed your brain quality fat. Not vegetable oil (hydrogenated trans fats), but grass-fed butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, full-fat dairy.
To read more on how low fat became our guidelines and why we are now unhealthier for it, read this article from Oxford Academic. You can download it as a PDF if you like.
Eating what you want.
Eating healthy and exercising doesn’t give you an all access pass to eat anything you want.
That being said, life is for the living, right?
Try to eat clean as often as possible so that you can indulge on occasion.
Eat a piece of birthday cake or have pizza with the gang at lunch, but do it as a treat, not as part of your lifestyle. And if you are new to eating clean, avoid treats until you know how your body will react. FYI: Sugar tastes a lot sweeter if you haven’t had any for a while.
I know for me, even a tiny piece of cake set off my sugar cravings. If you think you are the same, hold off on testing yourself until you are stronger.
Not enough calories
Always make sure that you are getting enough calories to keep your body operating smoothly.
But more importantly, make sure you are eating quality food for optimal nutrition.
I find that for my lifestyle, I can stay on the lower end of the calorie counter because I eat a lot of meat and fat. It keeps me full longer, so I eat less food overall.
My body does not require 1800 calories a day because I eat fat to burn for fuel.
A typical day for me is: coffee with heavy cream for breakfast; fried eggs or sausages for lunch; grilled meat and a large salad for dinner. Plus at least 8 glasses of water daily.
Skip soda and alcohol.
Water is the best drink for active people. You should drink often, and not require on thirst to be an indicator. By the time you get thirsty, your body is already running a bit too low.
If you get mid-afternoon headaches, try to drink more water at that time.
Changing how you eat is always a great step towards healthy eating and it will affect how your body performs. The healthier you eat, you better you’ll feel.
No matter how old you may be, healthy eating is something you should strive for. Once you give it a chance, you’ll see in no time at all just how much it can change your life – for the better.
Upcoming posts in this series: Clean Eating Shopping Tips, Clean Eating on a Budget, and Clean Eating Away From Home, and A Full Day of Clean Eating Menu Ideas so watch for them!
Holistic approaches never just address symptoms of specific health problems, but instead aim to return or keep the patient in a state of balanced health between mind, body, and spirit. Combining IF with Keto or Ketovore creates harmony for your health.
Holism targets overall wellness, and when we are well, we only get better with age.
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Until next time, here’s to our health!