A simple rule of thumb I talk about when I’m first teaching people about healthy eating is: if you can’t grow it or raise it, don’t eat it. And the less packaged food you have to open, the better. Basically what that means is, you can’t grow a pizza and you cannot raise a bagel. But you can grow fruits and veggies and you can raise animals, right?
When it comes to packaged foods, you should be able to read, pronounce and understand what all of the ingredients are. But fresh, whole foods are really what’s best for your body. Now, that being said, when it comes to healthy living, it’s not realistic for most people to live their lives like that 100% of the time, nor should you have to!
This is why I teach the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, you should be eating healthy, plant-based, whole foods and animal protein that’s free of antibiotics and added hormones. Meanwhile, 20% of the time, you can indulge and eat what you like! Just eat slow when you’re indulging and eat a little less than you normally would. This is not an excuse to go HAM on those doughnuts! This is also not permission to eat super clean Monday through Friday and then be a weekend warrior, partying it up every Saturday and Sunday, eating and drinking your weight in margaritas and charcuterie!
To give you a few examples, here’s what this lifestyle could look like:
In a day, you eat healthy, whole foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner and maybe you share a delicious dessert with a loved one at the end of the day. Or maybe you eat well and hit the gym during the week, but then on Saturday you have brunch with friends and then follow it up with a healthy, home cooked meal for dinner. Or maybe on Sunday, you eat a spinach and salsa omelet for breakfast, sesame ginger salmon with veggies for lunch but then you go out to dinner with your partner. You both have 2-3 glasses of wine and a nice dinner. This single brunch with your friends and one dinner with your loved one is NOT going to cancel out your awesome week of clean eating and exercising. Especially if it’s every other week or once a month. But an entire binge weekend very well could. Do you see the difference?
I also want to stress that eating healthy foods can be just as delicious and in the long run, if you stay consistent, you’ll prefer these foods! You should look forward to all of your meals! Healthy eating and living is a lifestyle. Not a temporary diet. Diets don’t work. Lifestyle changes do.
But the most important tip of all that I can give you is… Enjoy your life. Enjoy your workouts and the food that you’re eating. Food is nourishment, fuel and life. You should enjoy this journey! And just know that’s exactly what this process is: a journey.