In my last blog post “Simple Steps To Eat Smarter” I briefly talked about the 80/20 rule which is making smart food choices 80% of the time and loosening up the reins for the other 20%, so here are some ways to make 80/20 rule work for you:
Jot Down What You Eat
When you are first getting started with the 80/20 rule, it can be really helpful to track your food. Otherwise, you might think you are only splurging occasionally when you are really making not-so-great choices half of the time. By keeping tabs on your food decisions and reviewing them at the end of the day will help you keep your food intake on track so you can hit the 80/20 balance every day.
Take It One Meal at A Time
If you go out to dinner and want to enjoy a decadent dessert, send away the breadbasket and keep your entrée light to balance out the indulgence. If you are craving pasta, pair a small portion with broth-based soup and a big side of veggies (like a salad). Another way to think of the 80/20 rule is to make most of your meals 80 percent produce and lean protein, with 20 percent of everything else.
Keep It Clean After a Day of Excess
If you have a full day of over-the-top food choices (it happens), keep things lean and clean for the next several days. The 80/20 approach is all about being realistic. Nobody is perfect 100% of the time! So, if you go a little crazy one day, don’t panic and definitely don’t “wait until Monday” or the start of the next month to get back on track. Instead, consider that day your “20%,” and take the rest of the week to make really smart choices as often as possible.
Amp Up Your Exercise
This is another way to balance out excess food intake. Aim to get at least 10,000 steps per day (take a brisk walk on your lunch hour or after dinner around your neighborhood with your dog or while the kids ride their bikes). By adding additional short bouts of exercise will keep your metabolism moving and will help you feel great at the same time. If you go a little overboard on treats one day, step up your workout by picking up the pace when you walk, and try to hit around 15,000 steps.
Pack Smart Snacks
This tip is especially great when you are out for the day or traveling with the family and out of your normal food routine. If you are dining out for most of your meals, you are probably eating richer, more calorie-heavy foods than you would make at home. Healthy snacking between meals is a smart way to downsize your appetite and reduce your food intake at breakfast, lunch, and dinner (you can pack granola bars, protein bars, trail mix, nuts, fruits, cut up veggies, snack sized boxes of raisins).
Take The 80/20 Approach with The Types of Foods You Eat
It’s not just about calorie intake. Choosing natural, whole foods the majority of the time and giving yourself a little leeway, the rest of the time makes a healthy lifestyle more realistic. So, if you are trying to eat clean but can’t quite give up your morning non-dairy flavored coffee creamer or occasional popsicle, don’t beat yourself up! An all-or-nothing attitude could lead you to throw in the towel altogether!
However, you decide to incorporate the 80/20 rule into your healthy lifestyle, don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t beat yourself up if you have a day of overindulgence. Just pick yourself up and get back on track as soon as you can. You got this and until next time, be happy, healthy, and beautiful!