Remember the scene in Back to the Future, when Marty McFly gets all riled up because somebody called him chicken? I for one completely understand because like Marty I hate being told what to do! I do not find it motivational to be told what I can’t do, what I shouldn’t have, etc largely because like most women, rather than being inspired to change, I end up feeling guilty.
I find this to be largely true when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. The list of “Don’t’s” seems endless and to constantly be growing, and it seems nearly impossible to make good choices! For many, myself included, this makes me want to throw in the towel and say to hell with it!
But that doesn’t have to be the case! The simplest shift in your mindset can drastically change your perception about what it takes to be healthy, and thereby inspire you to want to eat healthy while also taking away feelings of guilt when you don’t!
You read correctly. Want to know my secret?
It’s the 80/20 rule.
Now I certainly don’t take credit for this rule and you may have heard of it, but I put my own unique twist on the wording. My eating lifestyle is 80% fueling my body; 20% indulging it.
The idea behind this is the mindset I have regarding our bodies in their entirety, and that mindset is MINDFULNESS. Every day presents itself with tasks, errands, work, and inevitably some super fun unexpected thing (think sickness, last-minute work report, suddenly needing 26 cupcakes for tomorrow.) The ONLY way we can get through daily life and to truly be present to ourselves and others is to FUEL our bodies. (Think of the image of a car with an empty gas tank.) We will not be able to meet the tasks of life without mindfully choosing foods that will energize and nurture us. And also to do so with a spirit of reverence for our bodies and all that they do for us!! This is the 80%.
To balance us out we have the 20%- indulging but mindfully. Sitting with a bag of chips not realizing how much you’re eating not only packs on extra calories, it takes away from the enjoyment! Think Europeans-notorious for pastas, breads, potatoes, cannolis, etc. Aside from the fact that their ingredients are fresh and unprocessed (which is material for another blog), their meal times are leisurely and not rushed. Eating is a sensual experience, which triggers enjoyment and also feelings of fulfilment. When it comes to choosing treats, what I am suggesting is that the indulging process involves two things: portion control and consciously savoring.
With the holidays approaching this mindset for eating is especially important. Life is too short and it is unfair for us to say “No” to grandma’s stuffing because it has too many carbs. It is made with love and memories! So indulge in a serving and savor it-the smell, the texture, the memories it evokes. And fill in your plate with some extra veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats for fuel-you’ll need them to get through this time of year!