The big thing in the dieting world right now is the concept of clean eating. It’s all over the internet and magazine covers, and it’s popping up in books from the latest diet gurus, who are promoting ‘clean’ eating as The way to better health and smaller waistlines.

Along with the idea of clean eating is its evil opposite-dirty eating. This term is used in a negative way to label ‘bad’ eating. Dirty eating is synonymous with junk food, fast food, processed foods, poor health and being overweight. If you don’t eat clean then you’re eating dirty and you must be sick, fat and on your way to an early grave.

I lost almost 60lbs, improved my health and have been successfully maintaining for two years now-all while being a dirty eater. Huh.

When I decided to lose weight I was scared and overwhelmed. I had never tried to lose weight before and I had no idea what I was doing. After learning the basics of how weight loss actually worked (clue-it’s about the calories), I focused on eating less food, while still eating all the foods that I liked.

During my weight loss phase I only made a few minor adjustments to what I was eating (like switching from regular soda to diet), and for the most part continued to eat a very ‘dirty’ diet. I still ate fast food several times a week, still ate processed foods that came from a box or a can, still ate sugar and hfcs. I just ate less of it.

Along with this I started adding things to my diet. When I ordered a sub from Subway I’d add spinach on top of lettuce. I began adding frozen veggies to my rice dishes. I added blueberries to my oatmeal.

I still ate all the foods that I enjoyed, but I ate less of them. I also added nutritionally sound foods, also in controlled amounts.

And I lost the weight.
And I improved all of my blood work.
And my blood pressure improved.
And I never had a moment where I wanted to give up because it was too hard or too restrictive.

I became healthier while eating dirty.

I’ve been maintaining my weight loss for two years now. I still eat ‘dirty’ and it’s going great! My latest blood work was good, blood pressure is excellent, I have no health issues and I don’t take any medications. My doctor is happy about how everything looks and she told me to keep doing what I’m doing. Yep, my doctor told me to eat dirty.

My food philosophy, which has been refined throughout my weight loss and now maintenance, is to eat all the foods that I enjoy, with a focus on moderation and balance. I eat in a way that’s sustainable for me, for the rest of my life. That’s crucial because the maintenance phase is for 20, 30, 40+ years. With the dismal success rate for long term maintenance, I’m doing this whole thing in a way that I can do long term. And that includes eating dirty!