Summer is practically here and while you may be cleaning out your closet, could your diet use an overhaul, too?
Some nutrition experts swear by "clean eating." And while it may sound like another Hollywood diet fad, the concept is a lot simpler than you think.
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Eating clean means you enjoy foods that are free of artificial ingredients, get the best nutrients in your body naturally, all with the added bonus of losing weight, says health and wellness expert Tosca Reno, author of the best-selling "Eat-Clean Diet."
You don’t have to empty out your fridge and spend much-needed green on organic produce, Reno says. We asked her to share some of her tips to help us get started.
Write It Down
"Whether you need to lose five pounds, 50 or more, or if you just want to stop eating junk, the best thing you can do is grab a pen and some paper and write down your goals,” explains Reno. Having set goals provides focus, ensuring that your plans to have a healthier lifestyle will actually happen for long term, not just a week.
Bye, Bye Sugar
Sugar can be found in some surprising places. When shopping for food, make sure to read the ingredient labels carefully to avoid ingesting hidden sugar, Tosca says. “Not only will you supercharge your weight loss efforts, and your health, but you’ll also notice that your cravings for sweets will be greatly diminished,” says Reno.
Start Your Day With Lemon Water
Reno recommends squeezing the juice of half a lemon into a cup of warm water to start your day. “This simple drink improves digestion and immunity, helps your body shed toxins and it sets the tone for the day, which will help you stay on track with your eating clean goals,” says Reno.
Start off on the right foot
“One of the best breakfasts you can have is a bowl of all-natural, no-sugar-added oatmeal and berries with a hardboiled egg on the side,” says Reno. This simple breakfast will keep you feeling full and it won’t derail any weight loss goals you may have.
Keep it Real
When it comes to buying the freshest foods, try to choose items with the fewest ingredients listed on their labels. “If the ingredients contain hard to pronounce words that look like they come from chemistry class, just say no!” she says. When possible, opt for natural foods like green produce, grass-fed meats, wild fish and whole grains.
Eat Like a Baby to Boost Metabolism
"Have you ever noticed that babies need to eat every few hours? Well, if you want to fire up your metabolism, you should be eating this often as well,” says Reno. Skipping meals may sound like a quick way to get thinner because you’re eating less, but she says that this actually causes your body to cling on to calories. “When you eat small meals every two or three hours, your metabolism stays in full fat-burning mode. Eating this way also means you aren’t constantly starving or feeling deprived,” says Reno.
Don't Forget the 'Magic Combination'
"One of the key principles of eating clean is to pair lean protein, such as chicken breast, legumes and fish, with complex carbohydrates, including whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies at each and every meal,” explains Reno. “This magic combination leads to increased energy and fat-burning, optimal health and fewer hunger pangs.”
Listen to Your Stomach
Don’t wait until you’re in a food coma to stop eating. Once you feel content, you should be done with your meal. Also, make sure you’re drinking sufficient water throughout the day as feeling hungry could actually be thirst. “Often when people tell me they’re eating clean and not losing weight, I’ll tell them to watch their portion sizes and listen to their body,” she states. “Both are key factors to weight-loss success.”
Water, Water, and More Water
One way to jumpstart the eating clean lifestyle and shed some pounds is by trading soda and juice for cold, crisp water. “Water keeps you energized, flushes out toxins and waste, increases your metabolism and helps your body assimilate vitamins and minerals,” says Reno. She recommends drinking eight 12-ounce glasses of water per day.
Give Yourself Permission to Change
Need some motivation to eat better and feel good about yourself? “Take some quiet time to think deep down inside about what you want in your life and use that to inspire change,” says Reno. “You may want to use a photograph that reminds you of a leaner, happier you to help you get back to that place.”