T Nation

What Helps You Stay Motivated to Eat Clean?


There are plenty of negative influences around us. Besides everything on TV and billboards, you see your friends eating a great burger and a beer, you may be having a shit day and feel like saying "fuck it", or perhaps you haven't had a chance to eat all day and you see something quick and unhealthy right in front of you and you really need a boost of energy.

Like the title of the thread says, what do you do to help keep yourself in check during bad moments? I am trying to learn some new techniques, so if you have any good an practical ideas please share. I am not trying to be a body builder or "get abs" - my goals are to simply eat cleaner and get rid of this excess body fat from strength training and enjoying myself too often, without having to go off of the WSFSB program. I was down to a healthy weight a year ago, between a lack of discipline and my bipolar medications I gained about 20 lbs. With that said I boosted my squat about 100 lbs since then.


Having food prepared ahead of time really helps me to stay on track.

Potatoes are easy to keep on hand (throw a dozen in the oven), as are chicken breasts. Tuna is obviously easy. Get a rice cooker and keep the rice warm all day. Keep some Wheaties on hand. I like the bagged vegetable mixes. Call me lazy but it is so easy to just open a bag and dump it into a bowl.

That's probably the only advice I can give - keep healthy food handy - you'll never have a reason to reach for the cookies again.


That's a pretty good idea. I love to cook but with my lifestyle I just dont have the time and money to make spectacular things. I'll have to stick with whatever is fast to cook but still ok to eat, like lunch meat or frozen turkey and gravy slices


Trust me, I'm a plain eater. I rarely make anything spectacular. Take a Sundays and Wednesdays, take an hour or so to prepare some food for the next couple of days. Hard boiled eggs, chicken, taters, whatever. It's doable my friend! Sometimes it's TOO boring and you may get sick of it, but if you want to be big and strong, you find a way.

Cheers :slight_smile:


Here are some techniques and perspectives that have helped me:

1) Intermittent fasting. It taught me that I can miss a meal and it is not the end of the world. It taught me what it feels like to have low blood sugar, and what it feels like to be hungry. It taught me how tasty as plate full of mixed greens, a few chicken breasts, and olive oil can taste after a 24 hour fast. If interested, start small and for short periods, and gradually increase.

2) If you have to eat out, or on the run, decide what you are going to eat first, and then go get it. Do not decide at the restaurant/store -- you'll make a bad decision.

3) Eliminate crappy foods from your diet. Start small, practice it, and then add to the list. For example, you could start with catchup. Probably not the worst thing you can eat, but not much nutritional value either. Just learn to say, "Nope, I don't eat catchup anymore." After you get used to that idea, you can expand the list to some really crappy stuff. Sugar, flour, booze, etc. Try to be flexible. Let's say you are stuck in a burger joint. Eat the meat, cheese, and ask for a fried egg on top. Not the best meal, but it beats downing the bun, a plate of fries, and a tub of catchup. Another one I do -- stuck in a pizza place with friends. Eat the cheese, meat and toppings off -- and leave the crust. Not perfect, but it is something (I've given up flour).

4) Find some "go to" foods that are easy, quick, and you like. I always keep these around: eggs, cheese, nuts, hamburger, chicken, cream (I eat a pretty high fat diet), olive oil, mixed greens.


This. Dedicating two or three days a week to cook in bulk and prepare meals for the next few days is essential for making long term progress imo. Cooking lean meats, veggies and complex carbs in large quantities will make it easy to hit whatever macros you want/need.

EDIT: One more thing. Keeping only the foods that you are supposed to/allowed to eat in the house is a big factor for me. If I don't want to eat chicken and veggies, but that's all I have, that's what I am going to eat.



Going out to eat with the wife at a sinful Peruvian joint. Fuq it, gonna fast all day and enjoy that meal like a mutha...just load up on meat and veg first

Also, count calories. I know it sucks but if you treat food like money and you budget, you really do learn to make better choices otherwise you'll be hungry all day. But yet still allow your self some goodies. I used to snub at weight watchers but its a good paradigm when used wisely to maximize your food economy.


Knowing that Skinny Strong feels and performs better than that Donut Tastes ! Also, knowing that I perform better at 46 years young that the 60% of fatt Fucktards out there now adays who are Half my Age !!!


"Knowing that Skinny Strong feels and performs better than that Donut Tastes ! Also, knowing that I perform better at 46 years young that the 60% of fatt Fucktards out there now adays who are Half my Age !!! "

I think we may have very different builds. I have never been "skinny" by today's standards with ribs showing and all that crap on TV. The lightest I have ever got myself, with a strict 2000kcal a day diet was 183lbs at 5'9". As soon as I deviated from it even slightly I went back up to 185, where I hovered until my life went to shit. A lot has happened in this past year that really transformed me in the physical and mental sense. The three good things I got out of it, despite some really fucking shitty setbacks (including going from ~190lbs to ~210bs), were
1) got my squat to surpass the 300 mark for reps
2) Learned a lot more about lifting
3) learned more about myself

Now I need to figure out how to get down to 185 without compromising my strength gaining ability. I am just entering the "intermediate" zone on all my lifts according to ExRx., so I do not know how to proceed. Normally I would just say "X calories is all I am going to eat today" and I would stick to it and I did lose weight, but I wasn't lifting as much as I am now, by a long shot... I am not planning on being a body builder, so I am not going to follow a super strict plan. Can I just apply the "Im going to eat X Calories" rule, but this time say "With more calories from protein, none from refined sugars and sweets"


And if there is chocolate, cookies, or ice cream, they will all be gone before the night ends....

I have a lot of free time to prepare meals so eating clean isn't that hard...and I think a plate of pan fried chicken breast cooked with garlic and some carrots then mixed with cabbage or leafy lettuce is actually pretty damn tasty.

Also follow the 80/20 rule and think about your macros. You aren't going to die if you eat a burger or some ice cream. Making it into a HABIT is what you really want to avoid.

Lastly, why are you cheating? Recently I had been cheating tons and the reason was simply because I set my calories way too low considering how much I am expending in a day and the amount of effort/volume I put in the gym (5x a week currently). I also tend to go overboard when hanging out with friends and eating/drinking, but this is a psychological problem to fix. So, identifying the causes and taking them head on is important since they are different issues,