Part one of a two part article – check back tomorrow.

Okay, it is time for Fitness Friday again with my Personal Trainer friend Rachel.  So, I am, ugh, not sure exactly about this but I think I might have inspired this rather brutally honest post by my pal.  Primarily because I am always deluding myself into thinking that I eat healthy and that my extra couple of pounds are a cruel trick of nature rather than my own fault. So… sorry if she is kinda forceful about it.  Entirely my bad.

Stop BS’ing Yourself!

I’ll start off by admitting that I have extremely high standards when it comes to what I consider “eating well.” To me, eating well means eating very few, if any, pre-packaged processed or refined foods. It means eating a diet consisting of nutritious whole foods—plenty of fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats, and of course, plenty of water. It means eating at regular intervals, not skipping meals, and not overindulging. In the fitness world, this is known as “clean eating”.

As a personal trainer and weight management intern at a hospital-based weight loss program, I talk to people all day about their diet and exercise choices. Most often I hear people say, “I don’t exercise at all but I eat really well” or “I exercise regularly and I eat well but I just can’t get this weight off.” How come then, if all these people are eating well, they are still so overweight?

I’m not trying to be crass, but I’ve got to call the BS flag.No BS

Take a good look at the foods you consume on a daily basis—How many ingredients does it contain? Can you pronounce all of them? What is the origin of the food/ingredients? If a food has more than a few ingredients, you can’t pronounce most of them, or you don’t know where something in the food came from, you should probably think twice before putting it in your mouth. And just because a food item has a good quality about it doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

Take, for example, a Healthy Choice turkey breast and cranberries meal.

Sounds healthy, right?

One serving size is one 10.8 oz box and contains 320 calories, 3.5g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 35mg cholesterol, 53g total carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 32g sugar, 16g protein, 530mg sodium. Most of these numbers aren’t so bad, however, 32 grams of sugar is considered the maximum amount of sugar an individual on a 2,000 calorie/day diet should consume. That’s equivalent to 8 teaspoons! And that’s just from one meal! There is also nearly one-quarter of your recommended daily value of sodium. Food manufacturers spend tons of money each year on marketing, while Mother Nature spends zero. Who do you trust more?

Eating clean doesn’t always have to be about weight loss—it’s also about improved quality of life: looking better, feeling better, and having more energy. These are just a few of the benefits.

Tomorrow I’ll give you a few tips to get your started on your clean-eating journey!

ABOUT RACHEL: Rachel Swartz-Hartje is an NASM certified personal trainer and is currently completing her degree in community health promotion.  She enjoRachel ys running, bodybuilding and torturing her clients (and friends) into submission.  She is definitely a bad-ass.  Don’t let her nice profile picture fool you. Her mantra? “Discipline is the Bridge Between Goals and Accomplishments.” Oh yeah, she also used to be in the Navy.  Don’t. Mess. With. Her.