The idea of clean eating has received a great deal of attention in the last few years. While most of it has been positive, in truth there have been some critics. The reason for the criticism is that many people find that the idea of eating clean 365 days a year is nothing short of overwhelming. If you are someone who struggles with a meal plan that is too strict, don't give up! What you need to do is take a more moderate approach. Rather than setting perfection as your goal, you are much better just trying to do well most of the time.

You can afford an indulgence every now and then if you focus on eating right 80% of the time. Instead of depriving yourself, if you have a big event coming up, go ahead and splurge. If you allow yourself to do this, you avoid beating yourself up for "cheating". Many times when we feel bad about cheating we give up the idea of eating healthy all together. Trying for perfection is setting yourself up for failure. It's easy to splurge on cookies after lunch and then feel like you have blown in for the day. So, instead of getting back in the saddle you make your favorite steak recipe with blue cheese butter for dinner, have a loaded baked potato and top it all off with chocolate cake. It is far better to allow yourself the small indulgence and then make an effort to eat healthy for the remainder of the day. For the rest of the day focus on foods that are good for you. A snack could be your favorite hummus recipe with fresh vegetables. Of course, you also need to make sure you plan a healthy dinner. In reality, you will be much healthier in the long run if you allow yourself to have some sort of indulgence daily rather than depriving yourself and then eating an entire box of cookies in one sitting.

While many of us tend to get hyper focused and intense with our weight loss goals, for most people it is best to avoid going to extremes. If you stay away from fads, focus on eating clean foods most of the time, and allow yourself an occasional indulgence, you are going a long way towards your success. Formulate a clean eating meal plan that is full of healthy foods that you enjoy and you will be much more likely to stick to your goals in the long run.