You probably know that getting or staying fit is 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise. When telling my clients this little piece of knowledge, it tends to be a big downer because eating healthy is sometimes the hardest thing to master when trying to maintain or lose weight. Don’t lose hope though, it’s easier to begin a healthy eating routine than you think! Eating clean basically means that you are taking into your body naturally balanced meals everyday. Check out these golden rules of eating clean to help you out with that 80 percent!

Keep it simple. Living in a world full of endless flavors of ice cream and potato chips, it can be pretty difficult to stick to a simple healthy diet. Go back to the basics! Choose your protein, fats, and carbs simply yet wisely. Recipes can be confusing and so can all the “pointers” you get from fit friends/family. Allow yourself to eat the things you like yet in smaller portions and more often throughout your day. Don’t forget to eat your greens!

Smaller portions, more meals. A meal could include your snacks as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner; however, plan them out! Know when you’re going to eat before you even begin your day/week. This way, when you go to eat your meals, you’re eating less because you know that in a few short hours you’re going to eat again. Four to six small meals per day is ideal.

Track your food! It doesn’t matter if it’s on an app, notebook, or the back of your hand, you need to log your meals and water intake. I personally use the app “My Fitness Pal” to track my food, water, and exercise. There are a number of apps out there that can help you keep record of what you’re putting in your body. If you’re not ready for that kind of technology yet, then read nutrition labels and write out your meals daily in a notebook. I PROMISE this will help you eat cleaner and become more aware of what you eat.

Find a motivator. Whether it’s your spouse, friend, coworker, or even trainer, make sure you have a cheerleader as you begin a clean eating lifestyle. Someone to call you out when you’re working on your second cupcake. Also someone who will give you positive feedback as you make healthy choices when out to eat. But don’t forget to be that motivator for someone else! Chances are, we are all on a similar journey with our diet.

Don’t stop if you slip up. We are all our own worst critic. We’ve all done it. We gorge ourselves at that wedding, eat out the next day, and decide we are too far gone to get back on track. Stop doing that to yourself! One weekend of bad eating will set you back, but not as far as you think. Focus on how far you’ve come and get back in the game ASAP! When in doubt, go back to the healthy meals you ate the week before. Messing up doesn’t have to be frustrating. Look at it as a lesson learned and enjoy putting healthy foods in your body again!

Best wishes and happy eating!