Doin’ It Well: How to balance eating clean with your mental health

Eating clean is fundamental to a healthy lifestyle; no matter how much exercise you do, you can not outrun a bad diet. However, “eating clean” is a slippery slope that can (in a worse case scenario) lead to developing an eating disorder. Even for many who do not have eating disorders, eating clean can be taxing on mental health. Here are some tips and tricks for eating well and keeping yourself sane

1) Meal Prep

Meal preparation is fundamental. By cooking one large meal once a week, and saving portions of it for later on, you are allowing yourself to have healthy meals without the hassle of too much preparation. It also helps with portion control, and you won’t be tempted to eat out when you have delicious meals pre made at home.

2) Give yourself a cheat day

Cheat days are often used by body builders and athletes in order to boost their metabolism – allowing your body to have a surplus in calories for one day a week can actually help you lose fat and gain muscle. In addition, you won’t feel that you are sacrificing all of your favourite foods at once, and looking forward to a cheat day will help you stick to your meal plan during the rest of the week.

3) Eat well for your body, not your clothing size

When we become obsessed with weight loss or calorie counting, we start losing track of the most important part – actually being healthy. Instead of checking the scale or measuring your waist, focus on how you are feeling. With a proper diet and regular exercise, you will start to feel how being physically healthy is immeasurably valuable to your mental health.

4) Substitute the foods you love

Instead of giving up your favorite foods (such as burgers or brownies) find recipes for healthy versions of them and prepare them yourself. You won’t feel like you are missing out, and it’ll be easier to stick to your diet when you can still eat the foods you enjoy most.

5) Eat Breakfast

This one may seem like a freebee, but eating breakfast will stop those pre lunchtime craving for unhealthy, high sugar foods. Breakfast has also been linked to lower stress, improved cognitive brain function and higher mood.  For a nutrient rich, low stress breakfast, try this recipe for Chia Seed pudding.

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