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Is eating clean causing weight gain?

Clean eating may be making you fat.


Wait.. what??


Yeah, I said it.


There are typically two scenarios in which this occurs and we're going to use two individuals to illustrate them.


First, we have our good friend Clean Cleatus.


Cleatus has a bunch of weight to lose and he never really got into the whole calorie counting thing.


It all seemed way too tedious for Cleatus.


So he reached out to a good friend who seemingly knew what to do.


His friend, Chad, was always at the gym doing curls in the squat rack and had impressive biceps so Cleatus reached out for advice.


Chad said, "Bro.. it's literally the easiest thing ever.. just eat clean."


So Cleatus started researching what it means to "eat clean" and despite finding various definitions, he finally felt confident enough to embark on his weight loss journey.


Only.. something strange happened.


Cleatus was gaining weight.


Despite his best efforts of eating clean and doing bicep curls in the squat rack like Chad, his waist kept growing.


Cleatus was beyond frustrated.


He went home one day and started googling obsessively...


"Is olive oil clean?"


"Are avocados clean?"


"Are nuts clean?"


None of it made sense to Cleatus.


All of his go-to food sources were considered "clean."


So what was happening?


Poor Cleatus never took the time to understand his caloric needs.


Poor Cleatus was never told that even "clean" foods can be calorie dense.


The salad that Cleatus would make every day was well over 1,000 calories.


The nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, almond butter, grass-fed butter, etc...


Are all calorie dense.


Cleatus felt betrayed.


He went to Chad and called him a douche canoe.


You see Chad was on the chicken, broccoli, and misery diet.


He learned it from his ex-girlfriend, Clean Clarissa.


Which brings us to the second way that eating clean may be causing you to gain fat.


Clean Clarissa was a go-getter.


She had big, ambitious goals.


Clean Clarissa didn't just want to be fit.. she wanted to be lean.


She followed some IG influencers and saw them posting their tilapia and asparagus and thought that may be the answer.


Clarissa only ate the CLEANEST foods.


She wouldn't dare touch a high calorie nut or even dark chocolate.


It had to be lean protein and veggies.


Maybe a piece of fruit on occasion if she wanted "dessert."


Clean Clarissa was on a mission.


She even told her boyfriend at the time, Chad, that he better keep up with the progress she was making or else she would break up with him.


And she told him to stop skipping leg day.


Chad got hurt so they broke up.


Anyway, Clean Clarissa kept pushing the gas pedal on her lean protein and veggies while dropping weight and training 6 days per week.


However, she kept hitting plateaus.


And then she would push harder but nothing would move.


She started to worry that she must be hormonally broken but all her bloodwork was fine.


Clarissa felt like maybe she's not doing enough so she added extra cardio and HIIT sessions.


Until one day... she snapped.


A poorly placed bag of chips in the break room at work was all it took.


The next 24 hours, Clean Clarissa got reaaaaal dirty.


And when she woke up from her affair with all of her "off limit" foods, the scale was up 5 lbs.


Well.. this just confirmed Clarissa's assumption...


If she doesn't eat perfectly clean.. she'll gain weight.


So she swore to try harder and do better.


Only.. it kept happening.


With each attempt at eating cleaner, better, more perfect...


She would binge harder.


And eventually, poor Clarissa had gained a bunch of weight.


Now.. what can we learn from our friends Cleatus and Clarissa?


Number 1... calories matter.


Quantity and quality are equally important because they impact each other.


Number 2... restricting never works. Ever.


The more you deprive your body, the more your body will fight back. And your body will always win in the end.


It's ok to focus on mostly quality foods but stop chronically under eating and having a bunch of foods that are off limits.


Any and all foods can be included in a proper nutrition plan.


When you're fueling adequately enough it's amazing how you stop craving instant energy and poor quality foods.


Number 3... you can't follow a plan that doesn't allow you to live your life. If your diet is causing stress, impairing your social life, and making you feel like an outcast in your own home.. find a new diet.


Simple rule of thumb.. if you're not willing to do it forever.. don't do it.


Number 4... never do curls in the squat rack ;)


Now, there's nothing wrong with prioritizing high quality foods.


However, we need to make sure you're eating enough to support your metabolic needs.


Once your body feels safe (aka not under constant stress from under eating), then you'll see how much easier it is to lose fat.


My clients are often amazed by this simple fact.


We also need to make sure you're incorporating foods you enjoy. No one wants to live on chicken and broccoli or tilapia and asparagus.


There should be plenty of room for restaurant meals, date nights, ice cream, chocolate, or whatever it is that you love.


And you want something you can be consistent with for the long haul.


It's always fun to see how much better my clients feel when they start eating in a way that works with their nature vs fighting against it.


If you want to try this out, join 5-week nutrition and fitness challenge to boost your confidence! Dive into macronutrients, mindset, and recovery essentials with gym-based workouts.


It starts EVERY Sunday and is self paced through my app.


Through our comprehensive approach, you'll learn the ins and outs of nutrition, mastering the art of eating to fuel your body and achieve the results you desire. From macronutrient breakdowns to mindset shifts, we've got you covered every step of the way.




If only Cleatus and Clarissa had reached out to me.. I could've saved them years of hardship.


Don't be like Cleatus and Clarissa.


Be better.


Be like my clients who took the life changing step forward to inquire about my coaching.


If you have questions or want more information, all you need to do is comment below.

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