Eating clean. The latest diet buzz words? Not at all. Today I was flipping back through some photos from the past year and found one from last November when I did a half-marathon in St. Petersburg, Florida. My jaw dropped! If you are new to our site and Facebook and Twitter communities you may not be aware that I had a hysterectomy in December. The pic from November clearly shows how distended my stomach was. I felt horrible and was in tears about mile 8 but told myself that there were only 5 miles to go and that I would finish. Mental pep talk! The pic from November 2013 is on the right and a pic from today on the left.
I’m showing you these pictures so you can see how fast my body recovered from major surgery because of my healthy lifestyle. This lifestyle didn’t happen overnight. I made small changes one at a time and now I am healthy and fit. One of the biggest things I did was to eat clean. Eating clean means I stay away from processed foods and eat my food as close to it’s natural source as possible. Below are 10 tips to help you start eating clean:
- Get rid of processed foods. Many times we think because a package says light or fat free or healthy, that it is healthy but many times that couldn’t be further from the truth. Pick up your next light frozen meal and READ the ingredients. How many ingredients are you not familiar with?
- Drink plenty of good old water. It is recommended that we drink half of our body weight in ounces of water. If you weigh 150 pounds, you should strive for 75 ounces of water per day.
- Prepare your meals ahead of time so there are no excuses. I cook my whole grains and roast my vegetables on the weekend. I also cut up fruit and make a salad. This keeps me from grabbing something unhealthy just because it’s easy when I’m hungry. There are no excuses because I have fruit and vegetable salads ready to go.
- Increase the amount of vegetables you are eating by including them in every meal. Think vegetable omelet, quinoa and vegetables, and an assortment of vegetable salads. Vegetables also help you to feel full longer.
- Choose healthy fats such as olive oil. I no longer use bottled salad dressing; instead I choose olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Do not add sugar to your diet. That means no sugar in your tea, coffee, desserts, and more. If you must sweeten your tea, opt for raw honey from a local source. Love desserts? Opt for fruit.
- Limit alcohol drinks and choose water. Alcohol adds calories without providing any nutritional benefit to your diet. It’s okay to enjoy but don’t overdo it.
- Watch your salt intake. Use alternatives such as spices and pepper to liven up your meals.
- Choose whole grains. Easiest way to do this is to buy in bulk. Also make sure that the main ingredient on the package is what you are buying. For example, barley should be the only ingredient on the package when you purchase barley.
- Stay away from refined grains which includes cereals, breads, crackers and anything else that has white flour and white sugar and has been processed.
Many also suggest limiting the amount of meat you eat. That is a personal preference but if you do eat meat, make sure you know where it is coming from. I have gone into grocery stores and purchased meat then find when I get it home that it’s a very poor cut of meat. I limit the meat I eat now and choose organic when I do purchase it. Yes it may be a bit more but I know what it is that I’m putting in my body.
Finally as you may have read from me before – baby steps. Don’t try to do everything in one day. You have been eating the way you have for many years and if you try to do everything in one swoop, you’ll likely go back to what you were doing before just because it’s easier. Make small changes every day and soon you will find that you have adopted the list of 10 tips above.
To your health,
Denise Sanger is a high energy business owner with over 30 years experience in the marketing area. She has transitioned her love of fitness and marketing into helping others succeed in getting fit and running their own businesses. She founded How To Stay Fit Over 50 to provide hope and support to others by motivating them to take the first step in their fitness journey no matter what age. Email her at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org