Practical Tips For Eating Clean

After relaxing holidays of indulging in many of our favorite sweet and heavy foods (maybe even a few alcohol drinks too), many Jiu-Jitsu students may have noticed that their belts seem to have shrunk a couple of sizes 😉
“That’s it! Come the New Year I’m tightening up my diet and eating clean!” There is a brief frenzy of kale and salads and denial…and then a gradual return to our former habits. New Year’s resolutions are infamous for their failure rate. Why are so many of these early efforts doomed to failure?
A radical change in your daily habits – even if it is in a positive direction – is stressful to us both mentally and physically. Too huge of a change can be a shock to us and make adhering to a new regimen likely to fail.
What can we do to make our new commitments to eating better stick? How can we stay on a path to eating better – which we all KNOW is better for us – without hiring a personal chef to follow us around cooking our healthy meals or the food budget to buy all free range organic vegetables?
We aren’t going to get into a discussion of which dietary philosophy to follow in this article. Keto or plant based diet? Carnivore or vegetarian? There is no consensus even among doctors of nutritional science so I’m not going to tackle that here. What we can talk about here are more practical aspects to eating better – whatever your dietary approach will be.
Preparation and planning.
There are a few reasons why we fail to stay on track with healthy eating goals and proper meal preparation and behavioral modification is key.
Here are 3 real tips that you can use to positively change your eating habits.
1 – The imperfect plan that you stick to is better than the perfect plan that you can’t stick to you. This rule takes into consideration human nature. Sure, it would be best if we completely eliminated every gram of sugar from our diets… but that is REALLY difficult to do. We are human and have cravings. There is a tendency to throw out the entire plan to eat better if we fail at being perfect – “Why try? I can’t live without my favorite food!”
Why don’t you start by trying to eliminate SOME of the worse offenders in your diet? For example instead of going to absolutely zero sugar, start with stopping drinking soda and sweetened beverages. It is easy to do and that is a significant but meaningful change we can make without shocking your system and quitting. Baby steps. Gain momentum.
2 – Plan ahead. The biggest threat to your commitment to eat better is the difficulty in getting your hands on a healthy meal when you are working, commuting, at school, on your way to Jiu-Jitsu class or coming home tired after training. Picture getting home after the evening class at your Gracie Barra school – tired and hungry – and thinking about having to prepare the ingredients and cook a healthy meal. Probably not going to happen. You may very well be tempted to stop at the drive through window at a convenient fast food restaurant… and there goes your plan.
The secret is to prepare several days of meals at once and store the meal in individual sealable plastic containers. Pop it in the microwave while you shower after training and boom! You have a healthy meal (which also helps you save money!) in a few minutes. For some practical information on how you can prepare meals ahead of time, search YouTube for videos by fitness competitors preparing their meals. If there is a secret that they have to sticking to a clean diet, this is it.
3 – Don’t keep the “bad” foods in your home where you can get at them easily. And have a healthy alternative in their place.
Now this is where many people trip up on eating clean.
We aren’t saying that we are NEVER allowed to eat cookies or ice cream again, but we also don’t want to make it easy for ourselves to get it.
Your motivation to eat clean might be shy high in the morning, but by mid afternoon or before bed when watching Netflix, feeling hungry, we don’t want to be able to just shuffle a few steps to the cupboard to get “just a few cookies”… which can turn into eating the entire bag.
If you REALLY want dessert, you need to get dressed, get out of your home and go out to the store or restaurant to get that sweet treat. OR… you can eat a handful of mixed nuts which you keep on hand to satiate your hunger pangs and dull the craving.
If it is cold outside ask yourself are you willing to go out to get that sweet? Or will you settle for the healthier and EASIER handful of mixed nuts that is available?
In this little trick you played on yourself, you have avoided a negative splurge and stayed on track.
What is YOUR best tip for eating clean?
See also on Gracie Barra : The 3 Types Of Training Partners We Need
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia