With the summer sun already out, women and men are working hard towards getting a well-toned body. Exercise plans are well underway and many are on a strict ‘health kick’ before indulging in a little taste of luxury over the Christmas break.
This time of year provides the perfect excuse to get fit and healthy – and International fitness model and health and fitness coach Wendy Townsend offers some great tips you can implement today!
Whether it’s your New Year’s resolution or you just want to feel more comfortable in that bikini, there’s so much you can do to get into shape and start feeling fantastic. The good news? It doesn’t need to involve the latest fad diet or staving yourself - there’s a much healthier way. We uncover the secrets of an international fitness model about healthy living and what you can do to boost your body (and your mind!) for summer.
1. What Exactly is Clean Eating?
With different diet crazes coming out every day, it makes it very difficult to know what’s good and what’s not. Clean eating simplifies everything by creating a process that allows you to be more mindful of what you’re putting into your body and how it’s affecting you. According to Fitness Magazine, the idea behind clean eating is to be aware of the food’s pathway between its origin and your plate. It’s not a strict diet which involves stress and harm to your body; instead it’s about eating foods that are whole – ‘real’ foods.
Ms Townsend says her definition of clean eating involves a high intake of fruit and vegetables. “Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, nuts and legumes and reduce processed foods.”
“A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything in a packet or box,” she goes on to say. “Approximately 97% of foods in packets and boxes are full of additives and preservatives that interfere with our health – body and mind. They impact our fat burning rate, our energy levels and how our body functions.”
Clean eating involves a lot of perks. Not only does it make you feel and look great, but it curbs certain conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Healthy weight management and skin and hair that glow go hand-in-hand with high intakes of fresh fruit and vegetables. “Over consumption may cause us to be vulnerable to illnesses and diseases,” explains Ms Townsend. “By eating foods that are wholesome, fresh and heathy your body, skin and soul will exude a healthy glow and you will be blessed with endless energy. If you want to feel and look good, try clean eating!”
Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables with a regular fitness regime
2. Creating a Lifestyle Eating Plan
What makes clean eating so different from other diets is that it’s not just another ‘diet’. Clean eating is a lifestyle change. “There are a million diets out there – low carb and high protein. Diets that make you stand on your head and eat parsley, drink lemon juice with cayenne pepper and blink three times,” says Ms Townsend. “The list goes on and on with diet trends that change like the weather.”
It’s not about what’s hot right now and clean eating isn’t just something that will be outdated next month. By creating a healthy lifestyle plan and being aware of what you’re putting into your body, you’re taking the most important step to a better you – all year round. “We want to create a lifestyle eating plan,” says Ms Townsend. “Something that’s sustainable and that keeps us satisfied, sane and healthy and gets the desired results – whether that be losing weight or looking and feeling great. So what do we need to do?”
“After personally trying most of these disposable diets, I have finally found what works for me,” says Ms Townsend. “All of my clients who have been clean eating have achieved amazing results too, and the secret? Eat 80% clean! This leaves you with 20% to enjoy treats occasionally. 80/20 is a realistic goal that keeps you balanced. It’s flexible and an easy way to adapt a whole new eating lifestyle.”
Here are a couple of fantastically healthy dishes
Creamy chicken quinoa and broccoli casserole
Balsamic beef and sweet potato mash
3. Tips for Clean Eating
Clean eating doesn’t have to be hard. By limiting processed foods and bumping up your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, you’re already heading in the right direction.
“Shop at your local farmers market for the freshest of foods, fresh is best!” explains Ms Townsend. “Remember to limit your intake of processed foods, ideally you want to ignore anything in a packet or box and eat everything in moderation.”
4. The 7 Day Challenge
Any lifestyle change can be a hard commitment to start with, but once you get into the swing of things clean eating is a simple way to create a better and healthier body and mind for yourself. “A 7 day challenge is a good way to get motivated to start your lifestyle change to clean eating”, suggest Ms Townsend.
“At the end of the day the priority is to start focusing on eating fresh, healthy foods,” she goes on to say. “Eat everything in moderation – not just for the 7 days, but for the rest of your life. As with changing any habit, the first couple of days are the hardest. Start by gradually reducing processed foods and increasing fresh fruit and vegetables,” she recommends. “Take it one step at a time and prepare your food plan every evening for the next day.”
“It’s always good to set weekly timeframes to keep yourself motivated and accountable. Even though your plan may be for a complete lifestyle change, this is not just a 7-day challenge and then you stop. Take it 7 days at a time – once you’ve completed your first 7 days, it’s time to set up the next 7 days”. If you’re stuck on some clean eating recipe ideas, check out the clean eating magazine ideas or take a look at a 7-day meal plan to get you started.
“Try it for 7 days and see how you feel,” recommends Ms Townsend. “You’ll have more energy, a brighter complexion and feel on top of the world.”
A couple more delicious dishes
Sesame ginger turkey meatballs
Lean beef stroganoff on zucchini ribbons
5. Safe Exercises to Assist in Losing Weight
Combining a safe exercise plan with clean eating provides you with an effective way to maintain a healthy weight. Ms Townsend offers a few suggestions that have worked well for her.
“Do a 15 minute high intensity total body workout every day,” she suggests. “For a good example of a quick workout, check out this YouTube video.” “Do cardio exercises for 15-20 minutes once a day. Some examples are swimming, walking, jogging, skipping, and elliptical, x-trainer or bike riding,” Ms Townsend recommends.
“Legs are the biggest muscle group so lots of exercises using the legs like squats, lunges and leg presses burn more calories.”
The Key Takeaway to a Healthier YOU!
“All in all, consistency is the key!” explains Ms Townsend. “Every day keep chipping away, one step at a time. Once you start feeling and seeing the results, you will be inspired to make changes in other areas of your life”.
“Your health is your wealth – create a perfect balance with exercise, nutrition and a positive mind and spirit and most of all? Go for it!”
A big thanks to Wendy for her help putting this piece together. Don't forget to check out her YouTube Channel for more great workout advice.
If you're keen to kick start your new 80/20 eating plan like Wendy, combine it with some high intensity elliptical cross trainer exercise to really reap the benefits of your new clean eating lifestyle.