6 Reasons Why Clean-Eating Isn’t Working For You
Clean-eating not working for you? As more folks commit to eating better—whether you call it eating clean, Paleo, real food, healthier or whatnot—it’s really common to hear, “I did Paleo but it didn’t work for me.” Here are the top 6 reasons why clean-eating isn’t working for you.
Reason #1 Clean-Eating Isn’t Working For You: You’re trying to shove your old habits into your new plan.
It’s super common to see folks apply the foods of their clean-eating plan to their old way of eating. If junk food, fast food and desserts were demons for you, trying to Paleo-ify them in your quest for healthier eating is likely to set you up for failure. That’s not to say you can’t have a treat now and then, but if you’re main objective is to figure out how much you can “get away with” on your new clean-eating plan, don’t expect to be very successful.
Reason #2 Clean-Eating Isn’t Working For You: You’re counting calories.
It’s NOT a bad idea to gauge how much you’re eating and check in with yourself, but if you’re coming from a caloric restriction mentality, you need to give your body a chance to start sending you the proper hormonal signals of satiation / satiety and hunger again. So many folks want to make Paleo or clean-eating into a numbers game which can perpetuate unhealthy relationships with food. Paleo isn’t an “eat as much as you want of whatever you want” plan, but you’re fooling yourself if you’re going to like or thrive by eating 1200 calories a day. For a general guideline of how much to eat, check out this meal template from Whole30.
Reason #3 Clean-Eating Isn’t Working For You: You’re fat-phobic.
While similar to #2, this is it’s own beast. Paleo and clean-eating are not meant to be low fat. Can we please just stop this insanity?! You physiologically need fat—as a fuel when you’re at rest, to maintain your cell membranes, to serve as hormonal precursors, to keep you feeling satiated and so much more. I used to do Weight Watchers, and I was hyperaware of how many grams of fat I ate, trying to limit it at all times. I was also hungry ALL THE TIME. Part of that was overall caloric restriction and part of it was eating 30 grams of fat per day.
Reason #4 Clean-Eating Isn’t Working For You: You did it for, like, a week.
When you’re switching from a typical Western diet rammed with sugar, processed carbs and food with low nutritional value, it’s common to experience what’s lovingly called Carb Flu. Your body needs time to switch over to burning fat when you’re at rest and it’s a process. It won’t happen overnight. If you want stable energy, improved mood and fat loss, you need to stick with it for at least a month, possibly longer.
Reason #5 Clean-Eating Isn’t Working For You: You’re using a one-size-fits-all template.
Yes, when you start out, you’ll probably need a template or outline to help you grasp what to eat—or not—but failing to consider your own needs in the long-term is a recipe for disaster.
- If you’re really active and athletic with good body composition, eating carbs is not only good but necessary.
- If you’re dealing with an autoimmune condition, avoiding nightshades like potatoes and eggs is advised.
- If you’re trying to get control over your blood sugar regulation, it’s wise to avoid “Paleo” or “clean” sources of sugar.
Reason #6 Clean-Eating Isn’t Working For You: You’re treating it as a quick fix.
“Slim down for summer!”
“Lose 5 pounds in 7 days!”
“Drop weight for that special event!”
Sound familiar? The marketers of radical diets are slimy enough, but you need to have enough savvy to realize their messages are utter nonsense. If you want lasting, long-term health, doing clean-eating as a quick fix will leave you sorely disappointed because the changes come a bit slower. See #4. Keep your expectations realistic.