Clean eating has become a huge trend over the last few years, and while it may help some people improve their diet and start getting back to basics by cooking with 'real' fresh, unprocessed ingredients, I'm not 100% into it.
The same goes for 'cheat meals', where, for example, once a week people who are eating a 'healthy' or restricted diet have one meal, or even one day, of eating 'unhealthy' foods, or eat off track without counting their macros.
My last 'diet aid' are slimming world syns. I totally understand how slimming world can and has helped lots of people lose weight, however their use of the word 'syns' is not one I like.
In case you haven't guessed it yet, I don't like these 3 words because of the negative connotations attached to them.
Clean eating may suggest that other foods are 'dirty'.
Cheat meals suggest that you're cheating by eating intuitively and giving your body what it's craving or may need.
Syns are a very negative word and while they are spelled differently, it suggests that it is a sin to eat certain foods.
These negative connotations can all lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and eating, and has caused problems for thousands of people, where they start following something to be 'healthier' or lose weight, and it works, but sometimes in some people this develops a fear of eating and/or binging on other foods, which is never a good thing.
I advocate balance in all aspects of life, and that includes diet and nutrition. I strive to help my clients realise a balanced diet and way of eating to use for life, not just to lose weight. I believe you should eat as you mean to go on, and eat in an unrestricted way.
Clean eating is a restricted way of eating, as can be syns. It can be disordered and unmaintainable. It can lead to a fear of eating 'non-clean' or 'dirty' foods and that's why I say no. Cheat meals can lead to binge eating and that can be as negative to your relationship to food as restriction.
NO clean eating
NO cheat meals
I fully respect why it works for some people, and for many people it won't cause any problems, however it can do for others therefore I will never advocate it as in my opinion it can promote an unhealthy relationship with food.
Eating healthy unprocessed foods is great, and something I am all for, but having less nutritious foods once in a while as part of a balanced diet is also fine. Stick to the basics and have a look at the Eatwell Food Plate, NHS guidelines or recommended portion sizes if you're unsure.
You can have a read about it here:
Weight loss requires a calorie deficit either through diet or exercise, and the former will involve restricting to some extent, but if you maintain a balanced diet throughout this time, once you've reached your goal, increasing calories to maintenance won't make much of a difference and the transition won't be as difficult or scary.
Give balanced, intuitive eating a try and maintain a healthy, fear free relationship with food both whilst losing (or gaining) weight, and afterwards for life.