As you swipe through your Instagram feed, you can’t help but notice the dozens of before and after pictures, flat stomachs, lean arms, and shapely legs. Reading the comments, every post seems to say the same thing. Even with all this social proof, as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I will NEVER preach the clean eating gospel.

Why I’m against clean eating

Spoiler! I won’t teach you how to “eat clean” but if you want to learn how to enjoy your life without falling off track,  New Year, New You could be for you! 

As you swipe through your Instagram feed, you can’t help but notice the dozens of before and after pictures, flat stomachs, lean arms, and shapely legs. Reading the comments, every post seems to say the same thing.

I was overweight and then I started eating clean. The weight fell off!

Before starting to eat clean, I could never attain a six pack.

With clean eating and exercise, I was able to drop to [insert super low number]% body fat!

Even with all this social proof, as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I will NEVER preach the clean eating gospel.

As you swipe through your Instagram feed, you can’t help but notice the dozens of before and after pictures, flat stomachs, lean arms, and shapely legs. Reading the comments, every post seems to say the same thing. Even with all this social proof, as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I will NEVER preach the clean eating gospel.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I am not encouraging everyone to go out for a Big Mac and fries. I am not saying to abandon all of your attempts to eat healthy, whole foods. But I am encouraging you not to eat clean.

Why?

Food does not have morality.

Yet, by classifying foods and ways of eating as clean, we inherently create another class of foods that are NOT clean…dirty…impure…bad. And with these words come a lot of emotion, feelings of worth, and even judgment.

How many times have you heard your friends say things like:

I was SO bad this weekend. I ate way too much.

You’ll be proud of me. I was so good. I had a salad for lunch.

Clean eating perpetuates an unhealthy relationship with foodpersonal trainer

While this might not seem like a huge deal, it’s a surefire way to create a bad relationship with food. When you believe that eating certain foods or clean eating in general makes you “good,” you set yourself up to feel equally bad when you do not behave in a certain way.

As an eating disorder survivor of over ten years, I am staunchly against any such belief. I spent too long in a prison, measuring my self worth by how much I ate, how long I ran, and how small I could make myself.

No. Just NO.

Food is neither good or bad. It’s just FOOD.

Eating a salad or a burger has NO bearing on how “good” you are.

Wine, Protein, Veggies

Instead of spending our energy on clean eating, let’s focus on eating food that fuels us, that gives us energy, and that makes us feel physically good. By focusing on these things, we begin to choose more whole fruits and vegetables, protein, and complex carbs (because let’s be real, processed crap does none of the above) while also separating ourselves from concepts that will ding our self esteem later.

My challenge to you, friend, is to start asking the right questions about what to eat. Ask questions that support your goals and help you to feel physically well. With the right questions, like those on my checklist to eating for fat loss, you can be sure to get good food on board without any extra stress. Learning to eat well without extra complications is central to how I coach women, one on one or in groups. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, let me know!

What’s one food you are eating today that supports your goals?

12 thoughts on “Why I’m against clean eating

  1. Love it! I recently wrote a post about what eating clean means to me. There are so many perspectives on it and it means different things to different people.To me its not about what you’re eating but the ingredients used to make it. I eat typically “clean” healthy foods as well as burgers, pizza, apple pie, etc!! But I make it all from scratch and use organic produce, pastured meat, raw milk, whole grains, non GMO, etc and feel great about the way I eat regardless of what it is because its all made from pure natural ingredients. Nothing processed or full or anything artificial. So many different perspectives on clean eating, I liked your article!!

    • So true! It’s such a loaded concept, and I love that you are making healthier versions of recipes you love. That’s HUGE!

  2. I never really thought about it this way, but you are so right! But of course, I find myself congratulating me for “being good” when I eat a salad, or “being bad” when I eat a burger.

  3. Oh my goodness! I love how you word everythinf its sooo true!!! LOve this girl. THanks for joining my group!
    Im going to love having you. Cause i already do haha

  4. So interesting. I never really thought about it this way. Great perspective thanks 🙂

    Nicole | The Professional Mom Project

    • Thanks Nicole! It’s so important to challenge the status quo on what’s “okay” in nutrition and exercise.

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