TomatoesI often mention how I’m eating clean or how I lose weight by eating clean, whole foods, but do you wonder what eating clean is really all about?

I started using this term about 3 years ago in 2005 in the 6WBMO weight loss forums. I came up with it as a way to say that I’m only eating clean, whole foods that are a part of the 6-Week Body Makeover, which is similar to saying that you’re POP (perfect on plan for the 6WBMO).

As you might already know, I do have a problem with refined sugar and flour and when I eat these substances I end up wanting more (one isn’t enough) and they set up continuous cycles of cravings in me. It’s no wonder since refined sugar creates the same reaction in the brain as opiates (i.e.: morphine, heroin) do, however that’s another topic.

UPDATE 2013: Note the date on this post (4/2008), five years ago. The truth I know and coach my clients to today is the fact that 90% of your challenge in achieving struggle-free permanent weight loss is your mindset. Once you get a weight loss mindset then there is no more struggle to eat clean. My clients do not think of themselves as sugar addicts and neither do I.

A weight loss mindset makes the 10% (clean eating and exercise) easy for you to DO! Grab my Free 5-day E-course to learn more.

So I started saying that I was eating clean to mean that I was sticking to whole foods sans the sugar, added sodium, chemicals, and unhealthy fats, even dairy.

Specifically, my definition of eating clean is that I’m eating:

  • Lean proteins (chicken or turkey breast, fish, egg whites … )
  • Fresh fruits that aren’t high in sugar (berries, grapefruit, bananas, apples, pears … )
  • Whole carbs (brown rice, regular [not quick oats] oatmeal, steel cut oats, sweet potatoes … )
  • Vegetables (green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms … )

I also drink clean:

  • Clean water (just plain water, although I do use a reverse osmosis treatment unit)
  • Black tea (nothing added)
  • Herbal tea

I could add fresh lemon or lime to my water if I wanted to, and this would still count towards the 100oz of water that I drink each day per the 6WBMO. I was also on a coffee kick for awhile with either the flavored coffee beans or using some Splenda to sweeten it. I haven’t had coffee for over a year though, but I really like my tea!

So, this is what I mean when I say that I’m eating clean. I’m off of the refined sugar, flour, added sodium, unhealthy fats, dairy, and I’m sticking to food that is unprocessed and doesn’t contain the added gunk. Now after I get to my goal weight I’ll add in some other items while monitoring my weight, fruits like grapes and oranges, which are high in natural sugar. I’ll see how it goes by adding in Larabars too, which are also high in natural sugar. I’ll eat those with a protein though, not alone.

As far as the refined sugar and gunk goes, does this mean that if you’re eating clean that you never get to eat anything with refined sugar or flour in it, ever again? If you are a true sugar addict the answer is yes, just like an alcoholic doesn’t drink again, but one day at a time remains sober.

For myself, I am staying in the present moment, and in this present moment while I write this, I know that the best thing for me is to keep eating clean and avoid the refined sugar and flour. It just isn’t worth it to get back into the cravings, but that’s what works for me. If you are able to eat a little of this and a little of that without binging or feeling cravings for more, then you’ve got a good thing going.

Now this is my own definition of eating clean and as far as I know there isn’t an official definition for it, but if there were I would think it would be in the body building community. I have noticed though, that over the past 6 months or so there are more people talking about eating clean and I wonder if this is because of the popularity of Tosca Reno’s book, The Eat Clean Diet.

Whether that’s the reason or not, there are many other folks who are working on their health and fitness and talking about eating clean. In fact Zandria wrote about eating clean today and shared how she really doesn’t even want the sweet stuff anymore; it simply doesn’t appeal to her.

What about you? Are you eating clean and feelin’ fine? If you used to eat a lot of processed and/or junk food, what are the differences that you notice in your level of energy (or other areas) now that you’re eating clean?