Six steps to clean eating.

We all know how easy it is to pull the “starting Monday I shall” or “on the first of the month I will…” & yet we’re all painfully aware (in our hearts. where it counts.) this whole journey of life is really about starting right.this.moment.

No matter the day or the date or, really, the TIME of day.

And, in my opinion, no matter the goal.

Any time is the RIGHT TIME to stop making excuses (points finger at self) and start taking action.

but I digress as this post is *not* about me & my under-the-bed languishing picture book.*

It’s about you.  It’s about YOUR questions.

After my mindful eating post I was deluged with emails, tweets, private messages which all basically asked the same thing and highlighted the post’s shortcoming. oops:

Great idea. Nice tips. ZERO HELP in actually getting started.  How do I go from complete mindLESS eating *today* toward mindFUL eating?  Where on earth do I begin?

And yet, because Im ever the honest, aging, memory fading misfit, Im compelled to share with you I drew a blank with regards to where in the world I’d started.

I only hazily recall waking one morning sick and tired of (feeling sick and tired and) looking like this:

wpid 2012 07 24 11.16.36 1 258x300 Six steps to clean eating.

 

& I vaguely recall deciding to change my habits & eventually ending up (FEELING WORLDS BETTER and) like this:

wpid 199074 10150250536494466 666074465 9003308 1786122 n Six steps to clean eating.

 

As a result I give you an acronym (good gosh I love me some acronyms) created after the fact—but with hindsight what I now see I did.

What I still do today although now mainly for my family.

 

Six M.I.Z.F.I.T. Steps to Clean Eating**.

 

Mini-meals. For me spreading calories through out the day just works!   None of my meals are bigger than any other ( I do often eat more at breakfast out of hunger. Intuitively.)  Beyond the fact I think this helps me stay lean—-it definitely helps my blood sugar levels stay even, I have far more energy, & Im overall less bitchy more cheerful.

Intuitive eating.  I know we’ve talked a lot about this here as of late–but it bears repeating.  Start this one today. Slowly. Listen to what your body is saying. Pay attention to how you feel after eating certain foods.  JOURNAL.  For me this isnt journaling *caloric intake* but feelings.  What worked for me in the beginning was *not* CHANGING any of my foods but logging my body’s reaction to them.  Everything from satiety to sensations.

Zero HARD & FAST RULES.    Again, this is just what has always work for me. Im a rebel. Make a rule that I can not have or do something & it is immediately the ONLY THING I THINK ABOUT.  NO MORE MUSTURBATION.  Period.  (crap. wait. did I just make that a rule?! you know what I mean….)

Fiber, Fiber, Fiber. At this point I think we all know why (need more info? still unclear? desire a list of fibery foodstuffs? please to let me know in the comments.)—be sure you both KNOW and are acting on it. ‘Nuff said.

Invest in YOU.  Ive chosen to spend money on quality foods & less money on (quality) clothing.  I love me some sushi grade tuna. Im happy with clothing from Goodwill-type places.  For some this may be investing in a personal trainer or gym membership. I have many non-wealthy friends who invested in cooking lessons in their homes so they could learn a handful of easy healthy meals.  Remember, even if some of these seem not to be about eating (trainer) they’re 100% about helping you live more fully IN your body. A crucial step to mindful eating.

Tried & trues. Always have a few meals which you know you enjoy, are healthy, & are easily prepared in your arsenal.  I tend to have T & T’s prepared and waiting in the fridge for days Im too tired to cook. Others prefer to always have ingredients on hand.  Whatever *you* decide these T & T’s help set us up for food-success.  Sure down the proverbial road we may become so in tune with our body’s wants & needs NOTHING could keep us from healthy food preparation—-but until then it always helps to set ourselves up for success.

 

And that’s it.

What I did starting out and what I do today.***

Now you.

What one tip would you tell our myriad emailers who ask:

What can do, starting today, to clean up/change my eating habits?

 
 

 

 
*unless you want it to be in which case grab a snack, pull up a chair and come sit a while…

**INDEED 100% intuitive eating is our ultimate goal.  As a stepping stone to hearing what our bodies are saying to us Im a believer in ‘clean eating by choice.’

***yada yada yada DIZCLAIMER HERE. This is what worked for me.  please to find what works best for you through old fashioned trial & error.

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Comments

  1. says

    Your list is great! For slow-pokes like me, it might help to work into it one meal at a time. I started with cleaning up my between meal snacks, then I added in healthy breakfast, and then lunch and so on. Before I knew it, I’d cleaned it all up! (Now I just have to spot clean from time to time. Or weekly.)

  2. says

    ::cue Twilight Zone music::

    We are on the same page today…

    The tried and trues are still crucial for me – being able to go on autopilot when it comes to certain meals makes things so much easier. Great tips!

  3. says

    I’m still kind of shocked by that pic of you???? You’ve come along way baby! ;)

    I fully agree with the whole list. Investing in YOU is so important. I care more about what I put in my mouth (and family’s) than frivolous extras.

  4. says

    This is the first time I’m hearing of “Intuitive Eating” and it makes a lot of sense. I’m going to give it a try this week and see how I go. Thanks a lot!

  5. says

    best acronym to boot! i love the invest and the listen to your body. Took me a long time (still working on it) to listen to what my body needs and what it works best with. Food journaling for feelings also helped. Never counted calories, just how my body reacted. YES

  6. says

    Always appreciate what works for others. Things work for me over the years on and off but I’m still waiting to find a lifetime system. I grew up not having good hunger/full cues. It’s always been very easy for me to overeat (I will eat until I throw up because I just rarely feel full, I just have to pay attention to what I ate) or it’s easy to go the whole day without eating. Eventually if I do the no eating I get dizzy or cranky, but I don’t feel this need to consume food. At any rate, enough about me! Thanks again for the rules.

  7. says

    This acronym, of course, rocks just like you!!! I would say just starting out, purge the cabinets. Honestly if it isn’t in my house I won’t eat it but if it is then that is all I can think of! Your husband and kids don’t “need” that bag of chips…get rid of it!

  8. Natalia says

    For me I have to factor in the emotional connection. I have to find other ways than eating to nurture,take care of myself, celebrate, etc!

  9. Wanda says

    I agree with the INVEST in you tip.
    I know when I finally decided I was worth it pretty much everything fell into place.

    When I put everything before my needs I was really angry.

  10. says

    Finding the right combination of make makes us healthy without too much of what makes us crazy, is key. Paying attention to whether or not you’re hungry is a great first step.

  11. says

    I LOVE how you use your name for an acronym. :) You are so imaginative Miz, which of course is what I admire about you. :) These are awesome tips!

  12. says

    Eating healthier is a bit more expensive – but totally worth it. The benefits far outweight the price anyday.

  13. says

    I’ve never thought that I could “do” intuitive eating because of my disordered relationship with food. However, based upon your explanation – I am ALREADY doing a lot of it. There are foods that I don’t eat because I don’t **feel** good after I eat them. It isn’t about calories or anything like that – I didn’t know that I could call this intuitive eating!!!!

  14. says

    Ummmmmm, LOVE “Musturbation”! ;-)

    I am very like you – I do a lot of what you wrote although I call mine mindful eating rather than intuitive.

    The BIGGEST thing for me – the NO word. You don’t have to eat just because everyone else is eating & you don’t have to celebrate every friggin “celebration” which for many is just a reason to eat. I also bring my own food if I feel it is necessary & honestly, I have heard others say this is rude BUT everyone is used to it now & I just tell people my tummny can only handle certain foods! :-) To me, this NO & CHOOSING to make the right choices for you is HUGE.

    I also portion control – big one for me. I know my calories as well or close to it. I have a body that really puts on wieght easy AND I have always had to work HARD – more cardio than most, more intense training, eat clean just to be the way I want. If you have a tough body type – got to understand that.

    Also, like you, I do what feels right for me…. eat & time wise.

    Some don’t like mini meals – they actually work against them – if that is you, fine….

    Me – mini meals work for me cause I like to eat & always know food is coming! :-) The key is to know what you are eating & not over do at each mini meal!

  15. says

    YES to all you said. I think another one is to think long / have patience (eerily similar to long distance running). Results don’t happen overnight and too often we get discouraged if we don’t see the results we want to immediately. The first few weeks may not see much change (if any change at all) and cause SO many to lose hope and go right back to their old ways.
    Another great post, Miz. Happy Monday!!

  16. mimi says

    Clean eating, no junk, treat myself better than to put trash in my bocy. It worked for me.

  17. says

    I love these tips! Journaling and paying attention to how you feel when you eat is key for me too. I’ve had my issues with emotional eating and food sensitivities so the moment I started pinpointing my triggers and also how my body reacts to food, it definitely helped me create a plan that works for me.

    Love the acronym! :)

  18. says

    Very good list!
    I am not really an intuitive eater, but something that really helped me was to stop beating myself up for eating. Food is not worth giving yourself mental and emotional abuse over. It’s just food. We decide to give the power or not.

  19. says

    Consistency. And I just blogged last week about my tips for getting started. Swapping things in your diet like whole grains/whole wheat pastas/brown rice, lower far content in meat, skim milks and low fat cheeses, more fruits and veggies.

  20. says

    Clea-ea-ea-ea-ean, clean, clean, clean
    Clea-ea-ea-ea-ean, clean, clean, clean
    When I want to
    Feel less stinky
    I eat good food
    And not a Twinkie.
    Whenever I want health, all I have to do is eat
    Clea-ea-ea-ea-ean, clean, clean, clean.

    • cheryl says

      I love a twinkie now and then. After swimming two miles in the ocean yesterday I craved ruffle potato chips. Did I eat them? Yes I did…and felt great about it!

  21. says

    Love these tips — especially having no hard and fast rules and investing in yourself!! I would add to take it slowly, changing one thing at a time…it takes time to make these kinds of changes and you just have to be patient!

  22. Frannie says

    Say thank you. When I firmly say no thank you to foods I do not choose to eat people hear me.
    When I say no or nah they keep asking!

  23. says

    Plan for the “unplannable.” Always be prepared with what might come your way schedule wise. Think ahead and bring healthy snacks. Read the menu before going out to dinner. Yada yada…

  24. says

    Great list! For me, I really learned “intuitive eating” after my cleanse. I had to drink SO MUCH WATER that I realized many times I would eat something when I was just thirsty! I have been grabbing the water [and mixing it with a splash of juice + fizzy water + lime to give it a little more OOMF] when I’m not sure if I’m just hungry or thirsty! If I’m still hungry, I eat!

  25. says

    Amen to ALL of the above, my friend. I LOVE your approach to healthy eating — it’s no BS, no crazy rules, no nothing. Just simple, real, intuitive. Ever since I started to truly connect with my eating habits, really listening to the body cues I was getting, it’s made ALL the difference in the world. Truly.

  26. says

    GREAT POST!
    Lately I have been asked a TON about how I got past binge eating…trying to put it into words for an interview right now…it’s hard to put 6 years of life lessons into a couple of paragraphs.

  27. says

    Yes, you do have uncanny timing. I’ve been thinking about and trying to clean up my eating and it’s hard!! I do well with the first part of the day but then things start to fall apart later, I think because the days starts getting crazy in the afternoon/evening. I need to find better defenses for myself during those hours. I very much appreciate I and Z!!

  28. says

    I’d add
    C-clean out your cupboards NOW! Getting rid of temptation and trigger foods means that you won’t be faced with the same potential poor food choice over and over and over.
    If it’s not in your fridge/pantry/shopping cart, you can’t eat it!

    Great post and very timely for me, as I’m giving up on protein bars (a hard rule for the time being; maybe soft later?) today!

  29. says

    Love this! Being sick and tired of being sick and tired! So true! Now I am addicted to feeling good, and thus my lifestyle supports that! So many people however don’t realize that what they are putting up with on a daily basis is NOT OPTIMAL WELLNESS: i.e. allergies, low sex drive, lethargy, insomnia etc. Good post!

  30. says

    Great list.

    The one way to get started that worked for me – is Farmer’s Market. It’s a great way to get fresh, organic seasonal foods. The prices tend to match the supermarket – but I know more about the food I’m buying.

    Start my food shopping at the Farmer’s Market, then fill in the blanks at the grocery store.

    Also for me? Just say goodbye to fast food restaurants and drive-through eating.

    These are the two best ways I learned to eat cleaner.

  31. says

    GREAT GREAT POST (as always). I loved that you shared your before and after picture. And I think INVEST is important. Investing in healthy good food and a lifestyle is a choice, and a tough one too. So sometimes other things have to be sacrificed, like a new outfit or a pedi, but health is worth it!

  32. says

    I am slowly getting there! The hardest part for me is when the evening comes around. I feel like snacking, and I always want something sweet or salty. Even though I’m not hungry. I think I need diversionary tactics here to keep me from nomming down a whole jar of peanut butter at night!

  33. says

    Your timing about this could not be more perfect for me right now. I’m really good at keeping my eats clean, but the intuitive eating hit me hard! That is something I need to work on if I want to normalize my eating habits!
    Another thing that helps me is to make dinner plans throughout the week, so that I don’t get that after 5 PM laziness attitude towards making a healthy dinner.

  34. says

    The planning ahead, oh the planning ahead. What a difference that does make!
    And for me- deciding that I am worth letting go of worrying about and trying so hard to take care of those I love. It is not bad or unthoughtful to let them take care of themselves. Then, wow how much time and energy are left for me! So I guess I’m saying GET A LITTLE SELFISH STARTING TODAY! It’s good for you and all those you love, I promise!

  35. cheryl says

    Don’t think too hard about it…if you are working hard at your job/career and working out, your body will tell you what it wants and when it wants it. No brainer.

  36. says

    GREAT TIPS!!!!

    Protein and fiber are excellent and so filling–which makes it easier to eat well and be satisfied.

    So many people tell me that they will start the “diet on Monday” and then binge all weekend long in preparation. That is definitely setting yourself up for failure and misery. Just make small changes every day and soon it will become a healthy lifestyle change that is sustainable!

  37. says

    Well, we know I am working on me time. Check.
    I am all about mini-meals! Then I don’t walk away bloated from overstuffing and I don’t walk around starving.
    And love intuitive eating but only works once you put down the junk food for about a week. Detox from the sugar, first.

  38. says

    This is an excellent post. per usual…. Truly couldn’t read it at a better time. I’m notorious for “eh that can wait for tomorrow” tomorrow never comes when you start talking like that.

  39. says

    I just started doing the mini-meal thing a little over a month ago. Talk about ending mood swings – I didn’t even realize I was always grumpy, until I wasn’t LOL.

  40. Elizabeth says

    my tip is to think: “is this [thing that I'm going to put in my mouth] going to help my body out?”

  41. says

    LOVE this Miz and the timing is perfect. I’ve been a bit worried about my lack of focus lately and told myself that I’d start D-I-E-T-I-N-G this week and naturally immediately I contemplated buying a whole heap of junk food to have a last supper before I got on track!

    Argh!
    Deb

  42. says

    Oh Miz….we could all learn so much from you. About fitness, healthy eating, great parenting and amazing balance in your life. You are my inspiration on many levels!!!!!

  43. says

    When you find yourself ready to eat crap… remind yourself we live in an amazing time when robots land on Mars, so we can do better than eat twinkles and oreos. So instead eat a banana, apple or anything that is close to it’s nature state.

  44. says

    So glad you included “z”- everytime I try to be perfect, I end up taking giant steps backwards. If I focus on getting X number of good things in each day, I don’t stress about the extra bites of not-so-clean foods that sneak in. And ditto what Angela said, you’ve come a long way- I didn’t know you had such an amazing transformation!

  45. says

    Tried & True’s… we need to come up with some of those to fend off those days when we pick up the phone and order delivery pizza, bread-sticks and fried ravioli for dinner.

    Working hard at spreading out the eating and getting in consistent water too, seems to be helping keep the attitude sharper.

  46. says

    The best thing I ever did to change my eating habits was giving up junk foods. I just ignored anything that came in a box,pack or whatever. It really makes a difference.

  47. says

    I couldn’t agree with you more on intuitive eating! In my experience (and humble/sometimes not-so-humble) opinion, it is the absolute KEY to finding pure happiness. I love your acronym. I think everyone can take what they need from it and apply it to their lives. <3 xoxo, you beautiful soul

  48. Andre Hoople says

    I hope you don’t get annoyed with this question, but will I lose weight with this?

  49. says

    Amen TROOF. Intuitive eating and eating clean are all about balance, not about rules. SO many people get caught up in the notion that there’s a “right” way and a “wrong” way to eat, but the truth is, you have to find what works for YOU. xoxo! as always, love the humor you bring to these topics. mwah.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I heard a very appealing ad yesterday for the ultimate easy diet. It was targeted as a men's weight…based on pill popping. The announcer declared that they were so certain that this plan would work that "the first month was free." Uh, oh. Look out for the cost of month 2!There was a time when I would have been all over this diet. Why? Because it is "easy." And who doesn't want an "easy diet?" Which brings me to this question: Is there any such thing as an EASY DIET?Before answering that question we must first understand what we mean when we say we want an "easy diet." I believe that there are 2 primary concerns here:1) a diet plan that is easy to follow2) a diet that requires little effortIn other words, you have learned from past experiences that losing weight is an unpleasant task. You know that you need to do something about the weight problem, if not for health reasons then certainly for the sake of vanity. And PLEASE, life has enough hassles!The answer to the "easy diet" question is "Yes." There are in fact easy diets. Certainly the one I mentioned at the beginning of this article would qualify. If you are in the market for an easy diet there are plentiful diets, but in my mind, and based on my "been there, done that" experiences, they all lead down the same path.At the end of that path there is neither rainbow nor pot of gold. There is the immediate satisfaction of losing some weight but probably nothing close to what was advertised. But just as soon as you get off the "easy diet" the weight comes back with a vengeance. You actually end up weighing more than you did before you started the "easy diet." And that hassle that you were looking to avoid, well, guess what? You got it anyway.In reality, the only truly "easy diet" is the one that helps you lose the weight you need to lose and then keeps it off resulting in a healthier more vibrant you.Such an easy diet involves: healthy food, healthy food preparation, food that tastes good with minimum preparation time, food that is low in calories, and food that is low and right in fat content. Also important is a diet that fits your lifestyle, can go where you go, and enables you to enjoy the company of friends without denying yourself some of the fun pleasures that go with eating out.Most "easy diets" are not good for you. Exercise is important whether you like it or not. A healthy lifestyle is essential and a diet that claims that you don't have to change anything is useless.Do you have children? What advice do you give them about eating? I recall when my sons were little saying to them, "Eat your vegetables. They're good for you." "Don't chew your food so fast. Slow down!" And we tried to keep them away from sweets as much as possible. I recall telling my kids, "Get off the video games and get outside and get some fresh air and exercise!"When it comes to our kids most of us are pretty knowledgeable when it comes to handing out nutrition advice. But we are less concerned about our own eating habits. Point is, you and I already know the basics of what it takes to lose weight, how to keep it off, and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.Nike had a great slogan. "Just do it!" Do you really want to lose weight, keep it off, and get healthy? Then "just do it." I'll bet that you already know what you need to do.Will it be easy? No. But it is the best thing for you. [...]