In my previous post, I wrote about what I mean when I say “eat clean” and why it is a simple principle to begin with if you are looking to take that first baby step into a world of better diets. (I still hate that word, but it’s pretty accurate.)
I believe that simplicity is a crucial reason why eating clean is such a great starting point, but it’s scalability also makes it doable for individuals with different goals.
Reason #2: It is scalable.
What do you mean by “scalable?”
Scalability just means that you can adjust the degree to which you practice the dietary principle depending on your own starting point or where you’re at at the moment. A more informed person, for example, may jump right in and do a complete overhaul. Someone else who is addicted to processed food, on the other hand, may choose to begin by omitting sugar from her diet, and then cut out white bread, and then eat more whole chicken instead of nuggets. And later on, who knows? Maybe she’ll go organic and grassfed! Since eating clean is really a matter of eating cleaner, you can always decide how clean you want to eat.
Yes, with counting calories and macros, you can adjust the amount of calories and macros you take, but it’s not scalable in the same sense as eating clean is. You can’t just count some calories but not others, for instance. Neither can you decide to count your macros for one meal but not the rest. Scaling either of the above protocols in this sense would simply defeat the purpose!
Furthermore, besides scaling upwards (cleaner) you could also scale downwards (less clean, more indulgent) without being devastated. This is why eating clean really works for me. Recognizing that eating clean occurs on a scale means that I can make the decision to indulge in dessert and sweets during Christmas and New Years without feeling like a complete failure at this nutrition business. I could be eating brownies and log cake while still choosing whole foods for my main meals and that would still be cleaner than if I just chugged Coke and inhaled French fries all day. Knowing that I control how clean I want to eat and that a cheat meal isn’t the end of the world goes a long way in easing the guilt that can come with dieting. Yes, I may have a cheat day or a cheat week, but one (or 7) instances of cheating doesn’t mean I need to throw my better diet out the window. And it doesn’t have to be a full day of cheating. Even if I had mashed potatoes, nut brittle, red velvet cake, and too many slices of pizza for dinner yesterday (pretty close to real life, actually) doesn’t mean I have to feel bad about it. I’ll just have a salad with broiled chicken for lunch today. Easy peasy.
And the beauty is that I know exactly what I can do to ease myself back into a better diet when the holidays are over — because it’s simple 🙂