As part of my ongoing healing process, I tried a lot of different treatments. With nothing working, at the time my doctors decided that maybe there was something systemically wrong. So we decided that the next step was to focus on changing my diet as a way to improve my health.
At the time of this switch, I was eating pretty healthy. I ate junk food on occasion like most people but overall my meals were all prepared at home. I made some pretty big changes to what I ate at this time. Even as strict as my “diet” was my nutritionist told me to follow the 80:20 rule.
Why follow the 80:20 rule? Because following a strict fad diet doesn’t lead to any real long term success.
Being the healthiest version of ourselves also means being the happiest version. Meaning not depriving yourself which only makes you miserable.
the 80:20 rule
The 80:20 rule refers to eating healthy 80% of the time. This means being mindful when it comes to what we eat and when we indulge ourselves.
If you are craving something, than indulge! Just knowing what you are eating and being aware of how much. One slice of (gluten-free) cake is perfect! A whole cake?? You’ll end up with a horrible tummy ache.
The 80:20 rule is just a more sustainable way of living. This way when you want to go out to a restaurant you feel ok with skipping the veggies and going for something a little more fatty. Sometimes we just need to eat the french fries, potato chips or whatever it is that we are craving.
Every time I’ve sworn off eating a type of food I immediately want to eat it!! This way I can still have my slice of cake once and awhile.
When I would go on my silent retreats they would definitely not practice the 80:20 rule!! We only had breakfast and lunch and everything was vegan and there weren’t too many gluten free options. By the end of the week I was dreaming of food during our meditations!! Like literally. I dreamt that they started serving us food in the meditation hall!! Restricting food in this way was definitely something that is not feasible for me to sustain in the long run. I was definitely glad to get home and back to my regularly schedule eating.
Meeting your health goals
So when a craving hits? Cash in your 20%. Then go back to eating healthier options and nourishing your body the other 80% of the time.
Denying ourselves what we want is a fast and easy way to start overindulging. Restricting and eliminating the foods that we love isn’t going to keep us happy. Plus it could lead to getting discouraged and giving up on your health goals.
I really like the taste of a good latte. Being mindful of the affect it has on me means that I only drink it 20% of the time. So now on the weekends I sit down with a nice cup as I relax and enjoy my day.
Following the 80:20 rule is just more realistic and attainable. It’s about eating healthy, working out, and enjoying the occasional glass of wine or plate of fries. It’s all about balance.