I follow a lot of health-related people on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter so this topic is something that I have come into contact with a few times and it leaves me a little perplexed. It’s the topic of eating clean. Let me preface this by saying I know that there are a lot of foods out there we shouldn’t eat. In fact, there are numerous times I see new products and just shake my head — nothing but crap that is marketed to us and as a nation, we continue to get fatter and fatter.
Have you seen food commercials lately? It’s like there’s this race to see who could come up with the most fattening, artery clogging foods. Two that come to mind are straight from Jack in the Box — the Big Waffle Stack and the Really Big Chicken Combos. When did a simple breakfast sandwich not become enough, where we then need to two eggs, sausage, bacon, ham and cheese stacked between two waffles? Seriously. Or how about the chicken sandwich that now comes with two patties? It’s like the more information that comes out about the obesity epidemic in America, the more ridiculous food is getting.
So I really get the idea of ‘eating clean,’ but more and more I am seeing it consume people to the point where they feel like failures the minute they eat a piece of cheese. One lovely person I have found along the way in my Weight Watchers journey is Brianna from Shine or Set. Just recently, she wrote a very powerful post called Free to Eat — and while I don’t struggle with food to this extent, I think anyone on a weight loss journey understands where she is coming from, whether it’s to that extreme or not. Reading comments left behind on the post further illustrate this issue — that in order to get healthy, one must cut out every.single. thing. in their diet. I’ve seen it by reading numerous weight loss blogs — people cutting out every last thing in their diet just to reach a number on a scale.
People, that number on a scale means NOTHING to your overall health or well-being. Yes, it’s something I struggle with frequently and it’s very confusing to rely on a number to illustrate how you should feel with yourself. Just recently, I had someone tell me I look much thinner than I did a few months ago. It’s hilarious actually, because I am almost 15 pounds heavier now then the last time they saw me. Each time I step on the scale, I go through a range of emotions. If it’s higher than the last time I stepped on it, I get pissed off. If it’s lower than the last time, I’m happy, only to be disappointed the next time I step on the scale to see it’s budged .01 of a pound in the wrong direction.
While Weight Watchers isn’t perfect when it comes to tabulating points for wholesome foods, I love that I don’t need to cut out every food group aside from vegetables and meat in order to lose weight. I’ve lost 30 pounds by eating the foods I like, modifying how much of it I eat. I don’t want to become obsessed with whether or not I can eat a Dodger Dog next time I go to a ballgame. I want to clean up my diet because I want to get more wholesome foods for nutrients and cost savings, not because the eating clean craze tells me I should.
In her post, Brianna talks about stopping her rigorous guidelines to follow IIFYM, which is short for If It Fits Your Macros. This way of eating tracks your protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber and alcohol intake. Think you’ve heard that before? Yes, it’s a similar method of tracking your food with a little program I love, Weight Watchers.
I am all for the occasional clean up — a weekend juice fast, Whole30 (find out great information from Reduced Fat Girl on this), but I’m looking to lose weight and get healthy because I watch my portions and spend time at the gym — two things that are manageable for me in the long term.