Fitness Friday

My Journey To Clean Eating

Hey guys! This is the first time I have blogged in over 6 years so excuse my rustiness.


I’m Mandy Burt. I’m a mom to 3 adorable little stinkers (boy 7, boy 5 and diva 3), a wife to a marriage and family therapist, and we are living the dream in Utah with a cute little house, 2 dogs, and 6 chickens. I am an online health and fitness coach (you can find me on Facebook or Instagram @MandyMadeFit.)

I found my love for health and fitness after having my daughter almost 4 years ago. I was tipping the scales at 200+lbs (did I mention I’m only 5ft tall?) and survived life on anti-depressants, sugar and junk food. I hated me. I hated the girl in the mirror. I hated needing meds to make me happy. I am not against “happy pills” but for me, I knew that I didn’t need them, but when I hated myself and didn’t take care of my body properly I couldn’t function without them.

After having my daughter I lost 75lbs in a year. Since then I have lost a total of 83lbs while focusing more on toning and building muscle. I worked out once a week and only ate 1200 calories but it was mostly junk food. I loved 100 calorie cookie packets. I loved anything low fat so that I could eat more of it. I had ice cream daily and was feeling better with the weight loss and exercise but I ate like crap. I had lost weight but still felt down right crappy and “soft”.

About 2 years ago I was introduced to the idea of clean eating. Unfortunately, this doesn’t include cleaning the house while eating cake. It’s a simple concept. I think of it as eating the rainbow. Fruits, veggies, healthy fats, whole grains and proteins. When I started trashing the junk and eating more clean I realized 2 things.

1.       Holy crap I feel great and have a ton of energy.

2.       I can eat A LOT of food.

Portions were larger because it was food that my body would burn faster because it actually knows what to do with it. I felt a ton better because it was good food. It was food that actually fuels me and not just random junk that sounded good. I try to break it up for each day so that I know what to eat and when. Plus it helps to have a breakdown so that if we decide to go out to eat, I know what I am allowed to eat without falling off the wagon.

Here is my personal breakdown:

Breakfast: veggie, fruit, protein, grain
Snack: fruit and protein
Lunch: double serving of protein, veggies and a healthy fat
Snack: fruit
Dinner: protein and veggies

One tricky thing though, even though you might be eating healthier, you can still eat too much. Portions are super-sized everywhere you go. So as hard as it may be or as silly as it sounds, measure your food till you can eyeball it correctly. I never use a dinner plate. My eyes tell my brain I need more food and so I get more, next thing I know I feel sick from eating all the food I didn’t need. I always use a kid’s plate. That is more than enough for me and for most people too! I use portion control containers and yes, I measure things 75% of the time.

Here are the measurements I use for each food group:

  • Veggies:1 & ¼ Cups
  • Fruit: 1 & ¼ Cups
  • Protein: ¾ Cups
  • Starches/carbs/grains: ½ Cup
  • Healthy Fats (Cheese, Nuts, Avocado): ¼ Cup
  • Seeds, Dressings and Oils: 2 Tablespoons (Each)

Eating clean and following portions won’t mean that you can’t enjoy a treat here and there. You have to do what is best for you. I allow myself a cheat meal on Sunday’s. I don’t measure and definitely take dessert, sometimes a double serving. It makes me happy, and one cheat meal with dessert won’t ruin my whole weekly progress.

The biggest request that I get from a lot of moms that I talk to, is how to eat healthy with a family and to keep everyone happy. I have 3 kids but my pickiest eater is probably my husband. He isn’t a huge fan of veggies and protein for dinner without a carb. He doesn’t want me to give up those yummy foods like mac-n-cheese or casseroles. BUT, with a little extra time and thank goodness to Pinterest, I have found it is soooooo simple to eat healthy and keep the family happy. Here are a few ideas for you guys

Apple crisp: granny smith apple, oats and honey!
Spaghetti: homemade sauce (add plenty of veggies), zoodles (zucchini noodles) and noodles
Mac n cheese: quinoa with greek yogurt, spinach and mozzarella. (this is my kids favorite)
Pb n j: just put it on thinly sliced apples
Ice cream: frozen bananas with strawberries and blueberries

It’s all about simple little changes. I try to substitute a carb/starch with veggies. I try to make more from scratch so that I know what’s in it. I use vanilla greek yogurt in a lot of baking instead of oil and eggs, and plain greek yogurt in tuna salad, egg salad, and to give any other recipes a creaminess. I use honey instead of sugar as much as I can. It’s the simple changes. Nothing big, nothing super expensive, nothing impossible. I feed my family the healthy versions of what they want. Don’t worry though, they still get the junk on occasion.

I know reading this might make it all sound overwhelming but I promise you that if you take the time to eat cleaner and watch your portions that you will see a HUGE difference. You will see a difference in your cravings, your energy, and your overall health.

So try to prove me wrong. Give it one week! One week of eating clean and measuring your portions. You can do anything for a week right?

At the beginning of the week take before pictures and measurements…..make a menu, prep things if you want, and stick to that menu. Tell someone what you are doing and see if you can have a friend join you. Support makes you more accountable and you will work harder knowing that someone is watching you to see if you can really do it. When the week is over take your measurements again and after photos. IF you stick to a clean meal plan and your portions, I pinky promise you will see a change in your photos and measurements.

I want to leave you guys with a few little thoughts. If you don’t recognize an ingredient, your body won’t either. It will store it as fat. You can diet all you want but you will never reach and keep your progress without eating healthy. My favorite thing about eating healthy for me personally is the fact that with a little exercise and eating healthier, over time I have completely found a way to fight my depression without meds. Eating smart will not only make you smart, it’s the smart thing to do. You will be at a much lower risk of needing to rely on doctors and medicines to maintain your health.

So take care of you. You are worth it, you are beautiful, and strong and can do whatever you put your mind to! Let me know if you take my clean eating challenge. I will personally send you a prize if you do ❤


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