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August 11, 2019: Clean Eating Mistakes

My weekly Get Your Stuff Together Sunday email series gives you one actionable focus for the week that will make your life a little easier.

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“Eating clean” is one of those phrases that gets used a lot when people start talking about getting healthier, but many of them are making critical mistakes when it comes to really knowing how to eat well. This week, we’re going to talk about why eating clean might not be working for you.

What the heck is clean eating, anyway?

Eating clean is just a way of saying that one is not eating junk food or prepackaged food, and, instead choosing to prepare her own food with fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients. Think of it as eating the stuff you already know is good for you. Don’t make it so hard!

A BIG problem is that there is a lot of misinformation out there, and choosing the right foods for you is not as simple as eating what somebody on the latest blog said is good for you or following rules. It can also be difficult to shake the cravings for foods that you have relied on for so long to give you joy in eating and speed in preparation, like frozen meals or sugar-filled meal bars.

Let’s get into the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to “clean up” your diet.

Mistake 1: Not fully breaking up with junk

This is one of the rare times I suggest an all-or-nothing approach to your health. The first thing that you have to do is get rid of the food that feeds into your junk food cravings. Eating this stuff makes you crave more. In order to stop craving it, you have to stop eating it. You are likely thinking that this is easier said than done, but there are strategies that can put you on the winning side of the junk food battle.

  1. Understand that it will take some time. I find that sugar cravings lessen dramatically after about three days. It may be about two weeks for some of your cravings, so be patient and pay attention to how you feel.

  2. You have to get rid of all the junk food in your house. All of it.

  3. Stop buying junk food. If you buy it, you will eat it. Don’t buy it, and don’t keep it in your home.

  4. Fill your home with healthy snacks such as kale chips, almonds, or vegetables and hummus. Find replacements for your common cravings, like sugar-free popsicles, frozen bananas or berries, crunchy vegetables and nuts.

  5. Learn to say no. You will likely be invited to a party, go out to eat, watch a game at a bar, or have some other access to junk food that will tempt you. Giving in to cravings when first giving up junk sets your progress back. After you have avoided eating junk food for a while, research shows that your cravings will disappear and you will crave healthier food. It takes time to adjust.

Mistake 2: Healthy doesn’t mean you can have all you want

After you have cured yourself of the junk food cravings, stop eating excessive amounts of healthy foods. Almost any food in excess is going to cause issues in your diet. If you are eating large amounts of spinach or kale, have at it, but if that spinach or kale is coated in olive oil or salt, you need to rethink that. Peanut butter is great, but six servings a day is not doing you any favors. Toast + cereal + granola for breakfast is not good for you just because of the fiber content.

Learn to eat the right amount of calories, fat, carbohydrates, and protein for your body and adjust as needed. In order to ensure you are eating the right amount of the right foods, you may need to track your food, put your food in separate containers, or follow a meal plan.

Eating clean can be something that will help you get to your goals, but it may be that you are not eating as clean as you think you are. Rid your life of all things junk and start choosing healthy food in the right portions.

Next Sunday, we’ll talk about tips for you to deal with the heat and ensure you don’t lose the momentum you’ve gained in reaching your health and fitness goals.

Want some expert help with reaching your health goals painlessly? Check out my programs! We’ll get everything taken care of in a way that fits into your current lifestyle so you never have to think about your health again.

Do you have a friend who could stand to G(her)ST? Feel free to forward this!

I hope you have a wonderful week,


Kelly Morgan, Ph.D.

Tsirona -

My weekly GYSTS email give you one actionable thing to do for the week that will make you life a little easier. As "they" say, "Fail to plan; plan to fail." Get these emails (and more!) delivered right to your inbox by clicking HERE.