“Clean Eating” May Not Be Enough For You
Dear Body Buds,
Clean eating simply may not be enough for you, point blank.
But before we get farther, let’s define “clean eating” and who it’s for:
According to Good Housekeeping, clean eating “began with good intentions: it used to imply eating lots of whole, real foods–veggies and fruit, whole-grains, animal and plant-based protein, nuts, seeds, and oils. It also meant that what you eat should be as close to nature as possible–minimally processed, not packaged, or originating from a factory. Cooking at home and finding good ingredients were encouraged.”
Are there benefits to these efforts? ABSOLUTELY!
Will they get everyone to their goals? NOPE!
Yes, beginning to eat clean is a step in the right direction.
Woo hooo! I love when people begin focusing on these things! This is described in the Power Foods Lifestyle as “Tier 1 Eating.” Applaudable, a huge step of progress, and I LOVE IT!
It’s not truly maximizing what you can do with your body. I have a reputation of success with people who are comfortable in Tier 1 and I can move them up to the next levels of the Power Foods Lifestyle.
If you’re frustrated with your lack of progress and results for your efforts, keep reading!
Let’s talk about another concept that is often misunderstood–calories (darn things!). Here I’d like to refer to Chapter Four of my book, The Power Foods Lifestyle:
“Mainstream marketing of dieting and weight loss products would have you believe something absurd—that your body’s health and weight are completely based on the calories-in and calories-out mentality. This belief means you are thinking of your body as a checking account—that making a “deposit” of eating too many calories will result in a greater balance, or “weight gain,” while making a “withdrawal” of eating fewer calories or exercising more than normal will result in a negative balance, or “weight loss.” While on a functional level these principles may arguably be true, there are many more factors to consider. The body is far more complicated than that.
Hormones, lean body mass, resting metabolic rate, workout structure, workout intensity, workout timing, meal timing, digestive enzymes, and your genetic coding are all factors that differ from person to person. Simply reducing the number of calories you eat in a day may or may not result in weight loss.”
From this we learn that though calories are important, they are not the only important factor. Below is the hierarchy of what I like to help my clients and Body Buddies World members understand as they are journeying into higher levels of understanding and application–true lifestyle changes.
- Macronutrient Pairing: This promotes the environment of stabilized blood sugar.
- Caloric Intake: Are we in a deficit, maintenance, or excess?
- Types of foods: This is “clean eating” and we optimally would like to choose the majority of power foods.
Let’s discuss a little more about each of these three elements in health and body composition changes.
- Macronutrient Pairing: This promotes the environment of stabilized blood sugar.
Pairing protein and vegetables and spacing them in smaller, more frequent amounts of every 2.5-3 hours is a fantastic strategy to stabilize blood sugar. This effort prevents you from becoming too hungry (helps you avoid overeating). It also helps to “anchor” any carbohydrate intake that will cause fluctuation in your blood sugar.
Remember the peak range of protein: P=15-30 g
Remember the peak range of veggies: V=1-2 c.
As I dive into much greater detail in my book, there are many reasons for the awareness of your Cs (20-30 grams carbohydrates) and Fs (8-12 grams fat) and separating them into PVC and PVF meals.
One of these reasons is to ensure through your mental food budget that you are getting enough fat each day (at least two Fs). This is also to ensure you are minimizing your number of Cs (our goal is to only provide enough for the brain to function optimally and support the level of training/workout the person desires).
This takes practice and adjustment as no two people are the same. There are many strategies of the Power Foods Lifestyle in how we pair and time those meals and types, and you will accelerate your learning curve by working with me individually or in my membership site.
- Caloric intake: Are we in a deficit, maintenance, or excess?
How many calories do you eat regularly to maintain your weight? Until you know that number, you will not be successful in finding the appropriate level of intake to support healthy fat loss or bulking/re-framing the body. A good starting point is to track your food for three days in what you regularly eat (try not to change anything). Once we know that ballpark number, we can take the body any direction with the principles of the PFL.
My typical starting point with my clients are as follows:
- Fat Loss Female: 200-300 calories below maintenance
- Bulking/Reframing Female: 300-500 calories above maintenance
- Fat Loss Male: 300-500 calories below maintenance
- Bulking/Re-framing Male: 500-800 calories above maintenance
The key is to improve compliance through mindset training (listen to my podcast every day!), then observe your body’s feedback as your compliance is consistent. After 1-2 weeks of compliance, you will have enough data from your body to make adjustments to the strategy.
Coaching is so important for people who truly desire to reach their goals. And, since I’m on the topic, let’s get one thing very clear:
Body Buddies coaching is not “health coaching.” Most health coaches have no idea on earth how to address these issues. All of the “health coaches” you see on Instagram and Facebook are simply doing MLMs like Shakeology or Beach Body where they keep people accountable (anyone can do that, duh) and stick them on a generic program and product.
In my mind, that is a way of coaching Tier 1 people. Again, that is GREAT! But I take all the people who are settled at Tier 1 and sculpt them. My ideal client is someone who is already “eating clean” and working out and ready to see some results for the hard work they are putting in!
Work smarter, not harder, Body Buds! I see other “health coaches” and DIY body-composition-shifters make mistakes all the time in these ways:
- They don’t have the consistency to even gather relevant data about their body. They need mindset coaching–this usually has to do with fears of food, lack of understanding the science, inability to cope with stress, lack of focus in life, financial stressors, and every day habits. As I teach them how to train their brain, I always see compliance improve. However, not many people have the maturity to see the need for this coaching.
- If a person can succeed in compliance, they do not have the education and experience to make appropriate adjustments of the strategy. This type of person does not know how to avoid catabolism (break down of muscle tissue, resulting in weight loss but not fat loss…this leads to something called “skinny-fat”) or keep themselves relatively lean while gaining muscle (most just put on excessive body fat and that is detrimental to most women’s psyche).In my coaching, I appropriately educate the client on the overall strategy (these are called strategy sessions) so they understand realistic goals, the science of the strategy, etc. This helps me work with those who are perhaps a little more “A-type,” “obsessive,” or come from a history of disordered eating.
- Types of foods: This is “clean eating” and we optimally would like to choose the majority of Power Foods.
Here is where we get into health aspects of the types of foods you choose to eat. Yes, I want you to choose Power Foods the majority of the time. These have ample vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber to help your body’s systems work efficiently. This is real “fuel” that your body would love to have!
There are higher levels of food optimality that I get into when working one-on-one with clients. This can include the following categories:
- should dairy stay or go?
- should gluten stay or go?
- should we work on eliminating artificial sweeteners?
- how much meat should be used for the Ps?
- how many servings of red meat are we aiming for per week?
- are there food sensitivies to work around?
- are we fulfilling the three veggie categories of the PFL each day?
- should veggies be raw, or prepared?
- are there certain foods more optimal than others for the blood type?
To reiterate what I said earlier, eating clean is a GREAT step in the right direction. However, if you would like to change your body composition like many of my clients have, it’s important we look at all three important elements, not just the clean eating one.
Too many people are in emotional, physical, and psychological pain because they don’t get it, and they are caught up in the comparisons and images of perfection that the media projects. Learning the truth of how food works is worth it, Body Buds.
I help people figure their brain out first, and achieve their happy place physically–that is both inside and out. It’s a discipline thing, it’s a focus thing, it’s a mindset thing. The body will go where the mind leads it.
Love your bud,