There are a couple of questions that I get asked a lot about my eating style, including…
- How do you eat SO many veggies?
- Do you ever cheat/eat junk/splurge?
- How do you manage to eat clean so consistently?
My answer to the veggie question is pretty simple – I’ve got a ferocious appetite and if I’m hungry, watch out! Although I could choose to fill up on a bunch of foods that most people would consider ‘junk’, I’ve learned over my clean eating years that those things might taste good at the time but they leave me feeling like crap afterwards. The awesome thing about whole foods is that they taste great and leave me with a ton of energy afterwards, so I’ve learned to choose them rather than their less-attractive alternatives.
This sort of leads into the answer to the third question. My 70lb weight loss happened in my late teens, and learning how to eat clean, paired with physical exercise, got me to that result. After that, it became about maintaining my happy weight (which I consider more of a feeling than an actual number) and – surprise, surprise – I’ve done that using the same strategy. Having witnessed the results, seen and felt the way my body operates on healthy foods, that’s more than enough incentive for me to keep going.
I know that sometimes it’s tough. I don’t claim to be a perfect clean eater 100% of the time, and I know that some of those struggles I’ve been through are the same as those you might be facing now. So that’s why I’ve got 7 tips to help keep your motivation levels riding high.
1. Write down how awesome you feel after a whole foods-based meal
…. and on the flipside, how crappy you feel after eating meals full of sodium, sugar, processed or refined ingredients. It might sound silly, but the next time you’re tempted to over-indulge, read what you’ve written and then make your decision.
2. Keep some inspirational images visible
Whether it’s on your desktop wallpaper, your fridge, your bedroom or bathroom mirror – wherever you happen to visit frequently. I’m a highly visual learner – I like pictures, charts, photos, diagrams, mind maps, and all that sort of stuff (hence the reason I make a vision board each year, and part of the motivation behind my Gorgeous Guide to Goal Conquering.) On my fridge you’ll find a few pictures of athletes that inspire me and remind me that results require hard work. (Of course, it’s very important to realize that these people have been touched up for their photoshoots and don’t really look like that all the time in real life.) Also on the fridge are print-outs of my race entries, and keeping these events top of mind affects how I fuel my body. I’ve found this to be enormously effective in keeping myself on-track, and it could work for you too.
3. Get enough sleep
This is one you’ve probably heard before, but it’s SO easy to think we’re hungry when really, we’re just tired. How many times have you found yourself sitting at your desk or computer trying to crank out that last bit of work, and reaching for that bag of chips, box of crackers, bag of nuts or gummies in order to help get you through? Sometimes burning the midnight oil has to be done, but falling into a habit of mindless snacking while you do it is dangerous. If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest late at night and a snack craving seems to hit, it might just be time for bed!
4. Make your food interesting
One of my main missions with this blog is to prove that healthy tastes delicious. A few pieces of iceberg lettuce with a slice of tomato and a couple of cucumbers does not constitute a salad, and eating clean does not require endless hours in the kitchen. I love experimenting with recipes, and the prospect of coming up with an unexpected yet delicious combination of ingredients gives me a little foodie endorphin high. By trying new-to-you whole foods, you’ll avoid falling into ruts where you no longer feel excited about eating clean. Get on Pinterest, read clean eating blogs, and be inspired by all the bright colours.
5. Keep looking back at your progress
I’ve shared my weight loss story in the past and you can find a summary of it on my About page, but one of the things that kept me going through my entire journey was looking back at how far I’d come already. If weight loss is a goal of yours, hang on to some of those clothes that are too big for you, or look at a picture of you then compared to one of you now. Sometimes we don’t notice our own progress because we see ourselves every day, but other things like clothing and photos can help us to see these things more clearly. Sure, you may not be able to run a half marathon yet, but maybe you can run 5K and just the thought of it at this time last year made you start to sweat.
6. Find other clean eaters (or aspiring ones) for mutual support
This one is obvious and probably a tip you’d expected before you even read this post, but it’s popular for a reason – it works. In fact, reading blogs of foodies like you are right now is evidence that you’re already putting this into practice! By having another person in your life who is also doing their best to eat clean consistently, it gives you someone to be accountable to when your lazy self wants to just order takeout, or when you’re tempted to eat more of x, y or z (insert trigger food here). It also gives you someone to celebrate with, to exchange recipes with, and to share in the excitement when you find a fantastic new-to-you thing.
7. Experiment with swapping your favourite less-nutritious foods for healthier options so you don’t feel deprived
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’re probably familiar with some of the ingredients that I swap in and out of recipes to either lighten them up or make them more nutritious. Here are a few of my favourites, and links to recipes that use them:
- Greek yogurt or cottage cheese instead of cream, sour cream, and mayonnaise
- Whole grain flour instead of white all-purpose flour
- Crushed whole grain crackers instead of breadcrumbs
- Spaghetti squash instead of pasta
- Zucchini noodles instead of pasta
- Any dark leafy green instead of iceberg lettuce (It’s sad, but the ‘berg really doesn’t have much going for it!)
- Natural nut butter instead of nut butters with sugar and other added ingredients
- Stevia instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners
- Whole grain rice or quinoa instead of white rice and couscous
- Sweet potato, turnip, or parsnip fries instead of French fries
- Mashed root veggies instead of mashed potatoes
- Collard greens or nori sheets instead of pitas or wraps (not that wraps can’t be nutritious – greens are just lighter)
And lastly, let’s think back to that thought about proving that healthy food is delicious….
This Double Chocolate Raspberry Chia Parfait is a variation of the chia pudding parfait that I posted last week. In that post, I also introduced Vega’s #OneChange campaign, but ever since, I haven’t been able to stop with the darn chia seeds! With just 5 ingredients, this recipe makes a delicious healthy breakfast or snack while also providing an amazing nutritional punch. If you crave chocolate often, this will definitely tame that craving!
Double Chocolate Raspberry Chia Parfait
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Ingredients (2 servings)
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk or water
- 1 packet chocolate Vega One
- 1 tsp raw cacao (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
- 1 packet stevia (optional)
- 1 cup raspberries
- In a bowl, combine all ingredients except for the raspberries and optional granola. Stir to combine and set the bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes (or overnight).
- The chia seeds will absorb the almond milk and create a thick mixture. Remove the bowl from the fridge and give it a good stir.
- In glasses, mason jars, or bowls, layer the chia seed mixture with raspberries.
- Note: If you prefer to make these as on-the-go breakfasts or snacks, pack the layers into jars and seal with a lid. It will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days.
So tell me…
- What are some things that make it difficult for you to remain consistent with your nutritional goals?
- What are the things that keep you motivated to keep going?