80-20

7 Nov

Good morning! I apologize in advance for any glaring spelling or grammar errors in this post, as my eyes are pretty bleary after staying up way past my bedtime to watch election coverage. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long day, especially since I skipped my usual Tuesday Zumba workout and will be doubling up on workouts this evening. Send me energizing thoughts!

I had an extra special treat yesterday when Stefano came down to my office to visit during lunch! He didn’t have work yesterday because his school was being used as a polling station, so we made our way to Roti, a Mediterranean restaurant with a similar feel to Chipotle. I had packed my lunch (of  course), but he picked up a steak roti plate with cucumber and tomato salad and a side of falafel.

In my lunchbox was a spinach tuna salad, sweet potato medallions, some baby carrots, and an apple. I also snuck a few bites of Stef’s lunch.

Here he is with his ‘why are you constantly taking pictures of me while I’m eating?’-face.  Sorry, honey. Oh, to date a healthy living blogger.

The healthy living of which I speak went pretty far downhill after lunch. I ended up skipping my Zumba workout because I needed to grocery shop and get the house together for some people who were coming to watch the election. Strike one. Then, my dinner consisted of pizza, chips and salsa, hummus and pita, and bagel bites while watching the election. Strike two. THEN, guess what I ate for breakfast this morning?

Yep, leftover pizza. Strike three, Sara’s out. Please don’t revoke my healthy living badge, I promise I’m usually a good eater/exerciser! I’ve been trying not to beat myself up about it, but I could SWEAR that my stomach was looking a little pudgier this morning. Isn’t it crazy what gets into your head, even when your rational side is telling you what is actually happening?

On that subject, I want to talk about the “80-20 rule” that many  clean – eaters  abide by. Tina had a really good blog post that broke down what eating clean 80% of the time looked like. Let me first start by saying that I define eating clean as partaking in whole foods that are minimally processed or not processed at all, with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables. One of the big proponents of eating clean for me is avoiding artificial or added sugar because I have a huge sweet tooth.

There are a couple of ways to break it down: either by percentage of calories consumed or by number of meals per week or days per week. I have never had success with counting calories, despite having tried numerous times in food journals or using apps on my phone. I am just not good of keeping track of what I eat in a way that is accurate enough to estimate calorie counts.

Another way to do it is to take one or two days per week as “splurge” or “cheat” days. Now, I’m not a huge fan of the term “cheating”, as I think it implies that you’re doing something you’re not supposed to be doing and I firmly believe that indulging in treats in moderation is a doHowever, I find that if I spend a whole day eating foods that are not good for me, I tend to feel pretty crappy by the end of the day, which leads me to my favorite method of calculating 80-20.

I think breaking it down by meals per week is a much more balanced way for me to approach indulgence. Assuming one eats three meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner), seven days a week, 20% comes out to be a little over 4 meals per week for indulging. That seems absolutely reasonable to me and I have been able to do that with relative ease for awhile now. I think it’s sustainable and gives you the flexibility to account for real life. Birthday dinner for a friend? No problem. Date night with a special someone? Go for it.

With that in mind, I always want to stress that indulgence should be in moderation. Eating a whole pizza does not count as only one meal. Be smart when you splurge.

There will be weeks when I eat clean 95% of the time and there will be weeks when I eat clean 65% of the time. Especially with the holidays rolling in, it is difficult to make the healthy choice when there are so many tasty options available that may not be the best for you. I say: don’t stress – this is a special time of year and, while I think we should be aware of the food decisions we are making, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up over a few over-indulgences when we’ve got the rest of the year.

In short, be aware of what you’re eating, but let yourself enjoy the meals that give you pleasure as well. Make smart decisions about your health that will make you feel good now and in the future, but don’t beat yourself up if your spoon magically finds its way into the ice cream container.

Food is a necessity of life and its primary role is to nourish and sustain us, we should enjoy it! Societies all over the world use food as a way to gather friends, families, and strangers and that is something I don’t want to lose.

Food for Thought: Do you have a “magic ratio” for healthy eating? How do you gauge how well you’ve been eating for the week?

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “80-20”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Nix the Holiday Stress and Guilt | Wicked Healthy Washingtonian - November 8, 2012

    […] recommend checking out her blog- I love it already! But anyway, she had a recent post about the 80/20 eating healthy rule. She summarized a lot of my thoughts […]

  2. Quickie Lunch Workout « Magia e Pasta - January 30, 2013

    […] like I have to play catch-up during the week. One of my goals for this weekend is to stick to my 80-20 plan so I don’t feel ‘blah’ on Monday morning. The weekends need to have less of […]

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