Applying The 80/20 Rule to your clean eating diet may help you achieve your goals while also enjoying some flexibility!
THE 80/20 RULE FOR DIETING
Our overall lifestyle (traveling or not) is 80/20. 80% of the time we eat what we consider clean/healthy foods (lean protein, complex carbs, healthy fats, lots of veggies, etc.), and 20% of the time we may consume food that has more sugar, fat, etc than we normally would.
We never want anyone to feel deprived. You can still enjoy your favorite treats! Order dessert at a restaurant (and split it with someone else), get small portions of your favorite treats while traveling, etc. In the picture above, I had one scoop (which is more like two scoops at most places) of cookie dough and Scott had two scoops of peanut butter cookie. We didn’t think twice about getting it. We live a healthy lifestyle and have a healthy relationship with food. This doesn’t mean that when we are traveling we eat junk 24/7. This means that a majority of our meals are still healthy but we don’t worry about what we are eating the whole time.
As always, we want to caution you about comparing what others eat to what you eat. How your body will respond to certain foods is different. How often and how much you can eat will depend on your body. Just like everything else with health and fitness, this takes time and trial and error! Maybe you have that “treat meal” once a week or once a month or maybe you do eat that small portion of chocolate each day. How often you need to have it will depend on your personality and your goals. Find out what timing works for you so that you do not feel deprived (which can lead to bingeing).
Keep in mind that just like everyone has their own definition of eating clean, everyone has their own definition of moderation and balance. Some people think that eating a rice cake with peanut butter is balance. Some people think that eating three scoops of ice cream is balance. Some people think that eating a slice of pizza is balance.
“Trigger foods” will also vary for each person. I can devour an entire bag of Sour Patch Kids in one sitting but I don’t really ever crave (or even care for) bread or pasta. My easy solution? I don’t buy Sour Patch Kids and I don’t keep them in the house. I don’t care to try and “train” myself to only eat 6 Sour Patch Kids. If I want them, I will eat them outside the house where I can get a smaller portion instead of a large bag (or I will make my “Sour Patch” Grapes!).
MODERATION AND BALANCE: WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
Moderation. Balance. Those are words you probably hear or see a lot in the fitness community. Everyone is preaching moderation and balance. What do moderation and balance really mean?
According to dictionary.com:
Moderation: the quality of being moderate; restraint; avoidance of extremes or excesses; temperance.
Balance: a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc., or mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.
WHAT DO THEY MEAN TO YOU?
When someone posts a picture of their cookies – are they just eating two or three? Could you do the same or would you devour the whole bag? When they post a picture of their ice cream is it one scoop or four scoops?
Just like we have mentioned numerous times previously, you are NOT like anyone else. Just because someone eats two cookies per day and then puts the rest of the bag back in the pantry without thinking about it doesn’t mean that you have to force or even train yourself to do the same thing. It doesn’t mean that they are any better than you or more disciplined than you (or vice versa). We each have our own personalities. We need to learn how to work with our personalities instead of against them.
Some people can have a bag of candy or pretzels and only eat that “one serving” or a few at a time. Others can’t. It’s okay. Maybe you are one of those people who can just eat a few at a time but my guess is that you’ve tried over and over again to “practice moderation” or count calories, points, or macros to allow for those “treats” but still end up devouring the entire bag. Don’t beat yourself up.
The solution? Don’t keep the cookies or pretzels in your house or at your desk. Just because you don’t have junk food in your house doesn’t mean that you are too strict or don’t enjoy your life or food (These are comments that many of us get!).
There is a place and time for everything – when, where, and how much is up for YOU to decide. And if you decide that it is easier for you to completely abstain from eating or drinking certain things, there is nothing wrong with that either!
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THESE HELPFUL ARTICLES:
- 3 Simple Fitness Habits That Changed Our Life
- 3 Simple Eating Habits That Changed Our Life
- 3 Ways to Break a Weight Loss Plateau
- 5 Things I Did to Achieve My Dream Body
- 5 Things We’ve Done to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle for 9+ Years