One of the Facebook groups I belong to is a running one.There are over 13000 members and people post for all sorts of reasons, to report good races, to get motivation to get out there, for general support. One of the common themes is about losing weight, a common reason for why people want to start running. Whenever the topic comes up, you can guarantee one thing, there’ll be a few people who think the answer is one thing only – eating clean!
Now, first of all, they never explain what that means. It most definitely does not mean that you are irradiating everything to remove any possibility of biological contanimation – which it could do The most common definition seems to be this (from Fitness Magazine) – “clean eating is about eating whole foods, or “real” foods — those that are un- or minimally processed, refined, and handled, making them as close to their natural form as possible.” But this has become a mantra that is being said without any understanding of the question!
One poster this week talked about looking to lose weight and that she needed to belong to Slimmer’s World to help her. Immediately came the call to ‘eat clean’ but a moment perusal of the food suggested would confirm that seems to be a philosophy the company follows. No, it was dismissed as a fad diet and all you needed to do is eat clean. There was no recognition that the peer pressure or support of belonging to a group – even if commercial – provides incentives for people to manage their incentive.
The other assumption is that if only one eats clean, then one would lose weight. I can guarantee that if I did nothing but eat fast food I could eat weight – I just have to eat a lot less calories than I’m using. I wouldn’t necessarily be the healthiest, but I’d be losing weight. And the opposite would also happen, I can eat as clean as I like,but if my portions were huge then I’d be putting weight on. It’s not just about the food you eat, it’s about how much.
Taking up a exercise will not, on its own, lead to weight loss. Eating clean will not, on its own, lead to weight loss. You need to eat less calories than you use in exercise, and have the right balance of food types to be the healthiest you can be. Luckily, I’ve always loved cooking and creating meals from scratch, so I’ve also tended to ‘eat clean’. But now, I just eat slightly less of it.