Clean eating, especially when attempting to transition to such a lifestyle for the first time, is all about finding what works. When not eating this way, which we will simply call eating “dirty”, we call repetitive eating “being in a rut”. When eating clean, we call it “necessary for survival”. Like so much about the mentality we are trying to change with this whole process of clean eating, how we label our habits and day to day actions is a major part of our success, now and long term. Here we start with turning our ruts to good, and seeing how great it feels to have things we love that we can eat every day, multiple times a day.
When we are in a rut when eating dirty it usually involves the worst of the bad food that dominated our nutritional intake. This is predominately why being in a rut with our food is thought of as so bad. Fast food, take out in general, mid week booze filled meals, dessert, or the dreaded and terribly damaging skipping breakfast, all are habits (ruts) that are nothing but bad individually let alone with frequency. The beauty here is turning the bad into a good is simple as just picking different foods.
Anyone participating in the Challenge is at least 4 days into it if not in on their 2nd week. By now you certainly have run into a couple of issues. The one I want to deal with here is “what the hell do I eat?”.
When I am eating clean you can list the individual foods I eat on a 20 line piece of paper and have room to spare. My nutrition when eating clean, and will stay this way throughout the Challenge, involves eating :
- Egg whites
- Steak/90% lean beef
- Iceberg Lettuce
- Almond Milk
- Whey Protein
- Organic Juices (for shakes only)
I make about 3 different things when cooking for myself, and most of those recipes include scrambled eggs. If I am getting take out it’s either the 99 or Whole Foods and it’s either Steak Tips with Broccoli or Chicken and Vegetables. No deviation, and I love it. Anyone who has success living a clean lifestyle regularly, or transitioning back and forth, will tell you the same. There is nothing better than being in a rut when the rut is clean eating. Find your ruts and stick to them. If you don’t like to cook, or suck at it, then find replacements for your usual options.
Something like Kettlebell Kitchen is a great place for easy clean eating pre-made meals. KBK might be the only thing that completely changes my list above and that’s because their meals are awesome. I happen to love food ruts, good or bad, so KBK is right up my alley because not only can I maintain a rut for each meal of the day but I can literally eat the same meal. Stacey thinks I’m crazy but I am totally fine with eating the same 2-3 meals from them for all my meals each day.
Whatever your process is, the important thing is to find it. By the end of next week everyone should be into at least 2 full weeks of this way of eating. The most drastic and long lasting returns will happen if you have a period of at least 7 days, max 14, all individual dependent, where absolute strictness is adhered to. This means not a single cheat of any kind, not a sip of alcohol, not a single thing. This is the length of time it takes for most people to what I call “flip the switch”, literally changing the primary and secondary sources of energy our body functions off of. While not required to see returns of a solid level, to truly get the most out of this clean eating practice you will serve best with this total strictness at whatever point you want to start. Do it now, regardless of where you are at, and by this time next week you will already be blown away by where you are at.
The reasoning is complex science that can be broken down to simple terms. We function off of accessible and stored energy. With accessible I am referring to the carbohydrates/sugar in our blood stream which comes from what we consume on a given day. Stored energy I refer to is that which is stored as body fat, put there when excess accessible energy isn’t used. Everyone is different with how long it takes, but the idea is the inherent low carb intake that clean eating is leaves us in a deficit of accessible energy. This triggers our body, the finely tuned machine that it is, to search for new energy sources for immediately accessible energy. Eventually, and this is the 7-14 day window, your body literally switches to the aforementioned accessible and stored energy as a sort of “1a” and “1b”, using the stored when low activity during the day and the accessible during more pressing/high activity times. Once you are at this stage you are literally firing on all cylinders, using all sources of energy throughout the day which not only keeps from storing the excess as fat but also trims body fat during down time in the day.
I’m not saying it’s easy by any stretch of the imagination. I am saying it’s incredibly satisfying and worth any sense of sacrifice that comes with it. As painful as the first week or so might be, I promise you it’s much easier if you find that quality rut to fall back to.
Strength : Press
WOD : 12m AMRAP
7 Split Snatch 115/75 (alternating feet)
40 Double unders
S: 75/55, taken from hang, 80 Singles
L1 : 95/65
Rx+: GHD Situps, 135/95