Clean eating is a superb way to improve your overall state of health. So what's the secret to making it work – Rachel Williams explains ...
2014 saw the rise in clean living. Anyone from fitness gurus to gym enthusiasts would “#eatclean” their breakfast or take selfies with their green smoothies.
However, often people declare their way of clean living "unsuccessful" and soon fall off the wagon.
So let's take a look at why clean living might not be working for you.
1. Define Clean Living
Almost every health coach will have a slightly different opinion on what characterises clean living.
As a rule of thumb, we look at clearing out all the toxins in your life, yet this can incorporate anything from processed foods to a failing relationship.
Unless you are working with a personal coach to tailor your priorities, the differing points of view could prove to be too overwhelming.
2. Causes Fear
With so much media hype around things being pigeon-holed into good and bad for us or clean and dirty, there is no surprise people live in fear of what they should be doing.
This can often lead to irrational decision making, opting for something simply because it’s labelled healthy or good for you.
3. Encourages Disordered Behaviour.
Many find the mindset of something being either "allowed" or "off-limits" stressful and isolating.
Labels such as "bad" or "cheat" can lead to reasonless obsessions. Although not true for everyone, this can prove to be both physically and mentally exhausting.
4. Deprivation Leads To Binges
This is commonly reported with clean eating. People find the more they abstain from "unhealthy" foods, the more they are preoccupied with thoughts of it and cravings. Again not true for all, but this obsession can result in overeating or binges.
Cases of dysfunctional relationships with food and even eating disorders have been reported as a by-product of clean eating.
5. Can Be Unsociable
If people feel conscious about any health challenges they face or changes they are making to overcome them, they may keep them as a secret from family and friends.
Fear of being judged can cause people to avoid social interaction and situations.
Dietary restrictions that leave people feeling unable to attend dinners or parties, for fear of failing or breaking their diet, can have a negative effect on relationships and social lives.
6. One Size Doesn’t Fit All
There is always a new diet, cleanse or miracle weight loss system doing the rounds at the office and as great as buddying up or getting social support can be, doing something because it worked for someone else isn’t always the best idea.
We all have different lifestyles, preferences and requirements, what and how you apply clean principles should depend on your circumstances and goals for optimal success.
7. Doing It To Lose Weight
As I’ve already mentioned, clean living should look at all aspects of life not just food, so if you embark on the journey in pursuit of weight loss you could be setting yourself up for failure.
My motto is to get happy, get healthy, get fit and treat any physical changes as a welcomed by product.
8. You’re Not Prepared
I don’t support the perception that clean living is time consuming and complicated but I think it’s important to understand that changes will have to take place that will, at first, require planning and organisation.
If you are unprepared it can be all too easy to fall back on old habits or comforts, especially when something is new or unknown.
9. You want results yesterday
Lifestyle changes should be treated as a marathon not a sprint!
Trying to do too much too soon, not understanding why you are doing something and understanding the consequences of what you are doing are all required for success but all take time and can’t happen overnight.
If you are looking for a quick fix, clean living is almost always going to fail.
10. Striving for perfection
Whilst it is great to have drive and determination, putting too much pressure on yourself for any goal or ambition can prove to be too stressful, turn into anxiety or guilt and even result in failure.
Sometimes there will be obstacles, things won’t go as planned and you will have to allow for changes along the way, but there is a fine line between being motivated and expecting too much.
Don’t allow yourself to be put off track if something doesn’t turn out as perfectly planned.
If you are struggling to make changes or maintain a clean lifestyle in pursuit of health and wellbeing, then hopefully I’ve been able to highlight what might be going wrong for you and guide you as to how to get back on track.
You should better understand that it’s an individual learning process of finding what is right for you. Prioritising and individualisation is important for a favourable outcome and so is social support and understanding.
Finding a balance is ultimately the best route to success.