Keep It Simple: How To Eat Clean Without Compromising Your Lifestyle

by Zoie Esposito

“Oh no, last night I had wings, too much beer, so much pizza and definitely did not have time to work out. OH, NO, why are there Snickers wrappers on my floor?! The miniature ones get me every damn time. F*ck! My New Year's resolution is ruined!”

Everybody, calm yourselves. Do not panic and do not abandon your health goals.

Prior to the discovery of juice cleanses and cocaine, do you think everyone was obese and unhealthy? Hint: The answer is no. My motto is to keep it simple: Eat clean, eat balanced and exercise.

WebMD even backs me up, and we all know WebMD is everything:

“Fad diets don't help you keep off the weight in the long-term. So what does work? The best diet is not a diet at all, but a way of life that includes food you enjoy, exercise and healthy habits.”


Here's how to be successful with eating clean:

1. Eating clean simply means eliminating processed foods and additives from your diet.

In our culture, I realize this can be difficult. However, with a little bit of patience, practice and research, this idea can be your best friend.

2. Complicated diets can be intimidating.

I Googled problems with diets and they all start with "low" this or something “free.” In other words, they describe an extreme of some respect.

For me, deprivation of anything will lead to binge-eating. You need to keep your cravings at bay. Furthermore, you need ensure sure you are properly nourished.

The answer? Balance. The fit girls blowing up your social media feeds most likely do not deprive themselves of too much.

Calories equal energy and you need energy to work out. If you don’t work out, you can’t Be-yoncé, so make sure you eat.

3. Exercise will not undo your splurges, so remember to not make them daily.

"The average person overestimates the amount of activity they're doing by about 30 percent and underestimates their food intake by about 30 percent," says Kathianne Sellers Williams, a registered dietitian and personal trainer.

Think about it logically: It isn’t easy to maintain any diet when you are cutting off something completely. The concept of "you want what you can’t have” definitely applies here.

Have you ever watched your coworkers eat something and then you literally start to salivate and tear up? I have and it’s horrendous. Then, I usually black out and eat three times the amount necessary.

Studies suggest it’s better to have one or two bites of the foods you love so you can satisfy your craving and move on. After all, sitting there fantasizing about that red velvet cupcake sliding down your throat is not only creepy, but also not helping you.

So, if you change your overall diet to be consistent and — here it is again — balanced, it will be much easier for you to make the changes you desire last long term. It’s just not realistic to never have sweets or carbs again.

Now, let’s talk about the Super Bowl. I drank too much, which led me to inhale wings (I rarely eat meat, unless it’s worth it), pizza (my ass' best friend, but my enemy) and these really good rice crispy treats (because I haven’t had one since I was like 15).

Come Monday morning, I felt like I was in that fight with Gronk and he had actually tackled me (although that doesn’t sound so terrible...).

Either way, I don’t know if I am just getting too old or what, but I was not ready for the abuse on my body.

I panicked and considered a juice cleanse, but it wasn't the right choice for my bank account (not to mention, the idea of consuming only juice for multiple days makes me violently angry).

So, I had a banana, blueberry, almond milk and hemp protein shake for breakfast, almonds for a snack, a salad with salmon for lunch and eggs with avocado and whole wheat toast for dinner.

I topped off my dinner with a piece of dark chocolate, finished the day with a one-hour workout and was in bed at 10:30.

So, while the previous night I ate like I was going to prison, my other meals evened the playing field so that one bad meal didn’t ruin my hard work.

I woke up the next day feeling great, and I didn’t have to deprive myself of anything. This is all possible on any budget (trust me because I really stretch my paycheck).

My grocery list usually consists of vegetables, fish, eggs, Greek yogurt, almonds, hummus, whole wheat bread and soy or almond milk. Nothing crazy.

My point is, the key to health doesn’t need to be so complex. Don’t psych yourself out because you are intimidated by strict dieting; keep it balanced.

When you can control what you eat, eat clean, but when you are out with your friends, family or just really stoned, feel free to indulge a little. Just don’t make it habit every meal.

Work hard, eat clean and celebrate!