New Year, new you is all the rage each year as the ball drops. Millions of people make the commitment to start living a healthier lifestyle. The top five resolutions to date: Stay Fit and Healthy, Lose Weight, Save Money, Enjoy Life, and Spend more time with Family. The first two are typically geared towards eating the “right foods” and working out. The problem is many fall short of their goal within the first month and never get back on track.

Now the first question is, how can one achieve and maintain what they truly desire? First step is to set a realistic goal, which we talked about earlier. The second step is becoming educated on how to approach the goal you’ve set out to achieve.

A few years ago, I started my CrossFit journey and heard a lot about nutrition. Each of my coaches would tell me that training started with a clean diet and how I needed to use food as my fuel. Coming from a true southern background with mashed potatoes and cornbread at each meal, I didn’t know a lot about clean eating.  I thought to myself, “I’m no good at diets, I cannot be on a diet and do CrossFit.” However, I wanted to try. So, it began, my journey to eat clean and fuel my body in a way that allows it to perform.

What is healthy eating? What are the right foods to eat? Are foods really good or bad? Type in “healthy eating” in google and be prepared to be overwhelmed with an abundance of articles and studies which will pull you in a million different directions. When someone is first trying to find the direction, they want to pursue it’s hard to decide which is “right” for you. Know that not everyone is made the same and not everyone can eat the same exact things and get the same results. I remember sitting down trying to decide how I would do this thing called “Paleo”. Everything I read made me think I needed to throw out everything in my pantry. Well, needless to say, that wasn’t easy. I had a lot of foods that I spent money on. My dilemma was to eat or not to eat. I chose to eat it all at one time, gorge myself on the foods I was no longer able to have and start fresh. That was a disaster. I felt horrible and had zero food left. Clean eating doesn’t mean you need to go crazy, grab a trash bag and throw out the entire kitchen. If you’re first starting out, take it one day at a time. Buy a few staples that will help you transition and phase out the other foods gradually. Going cold turkey into a new style of eating can seem like a great idea, but it usually ends with a midnight run to the store for pizza, cookies, and our friends Ben and Jerry.  From experience, eliminating slowly while adding a new item is the best approach.  Clean eating is removing foods that are filled with harmful chemicals, artificial sweeteners, or processed foods that contain wheat, soy, and other allergen, inflammatory foods.

Healthy eating, clean eating, and following a paleo approach at The Health Factory is, “YOUR pursuit of wholeness”.  What make you feel whole and allows you to move free of aches, pain, and inflammation? To start, you want natural items. Foods with ingredients you can pronounce and understand. General rule is to choose foods with 3-6 ingredients and a shore shelf life. Shop the parameter of the grocery store. 

The best staples for a successful change:

  • Meat on hand (organic chicken, grass-fed beef, salmon, eggs)
  • Grass-Fed Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Local Honey
  • Organic Vegetables
  • Fresh Fruits (berries, apples, avoid high sugar fruits)
  • Nut Supply (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans)
  • Almond Butter
  • Dark Chocolate Bar (60% and above dark chocolate)

Find one item that you can remove such as sodas, processed snacks, or gluten. Just make sure you add something in its place. If you remove soda, replace it with water flavored with fruit and stevia to start. Remove processed snacks and replace with fresh vegetables or fruit. Again, start small. Look at recipe blogs and try simple recipes first and tackle more complicated recipes later.  Clean eating can start in any manner, the goal is to always more forward to a path that will leave you feeling energized and powerful.

I want to stress that healthy eating isn’t eliminating all the foods you’ve grown to love like pizza and hamburgers. It’s shopping for ingredients that can be blended together and will make your food taste great while not breaking down your body. Food can be seen either as a way to fight disease or a cause for disease.  

Many people often say, let me wait until the beginning of the year or let’s wait until the holidays are over.  When done correctly, you’ll never need the excuse of waiting for something to be over. You’ll be able to maintain the standard for a lifetime without longing for certain foods.  It’s taken me a few years with a few fails, but I’ve finally achieved being able to maintain and my clean eating while living a food fulfilling life. Ask anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you I love talking about food. My life has been changed by fueling my body with proper nutrients for my body. It has allowed me to make it through workouts, sleep better, decrease stress, and reset my hormonal issues. If I had started sooner or just trusted the foods that made me feel great, I would’ve saved my body a lot of aches, pains, and struggles through hormones. Start today, start small, and make a change to a better way of living. Don’t be scared, ask questions, and know it’s one day at a time.

-Coach Caitlin