I notice maintaining my weight is difficult during the summer months. During the fall/winter holiday season, I hunker down and am able to curb temptation. But summer’s warm temperatures give host to many a BBQ, night out, beach party, and ice cream treat. I am tempted by cool sweets and refreshing cocktails…and despite being physically active, I put on a few pounds.
I can be really down on myself for indulging. WHO doesn’t feel bad after straying from their healthy eating routine? However, as a fitness and wellness professional, I realize that feeling “bad” about choices I have willing made only leads to increased negativity. NOT GOOD. Feelings of guilt and shame often lead us to continue to make unhealthy choices. We think, “I have already strayed from my diet, so what’s the point?” This type of “all-or-nothing” attitude is unrealistic and subconsciously sets you up to fail. Again, NOT GOOD.
I try to remember that if I wish to “eat healthy” all of the time, I need to be generous and compassionate to myself. Life happens, events happen, and being strict or compulsive with food leads to high highs and low (very low) lows. Yes, weight loss occurs when we create a calorie deficit. Sadly, exercise is not enough; watch what you eat and moderate your intake. (Easier said than done.) I find that if you wish to achieve/maintain a healthy weight and create an overall lifestyle change, employ the 80/20 principle.
80/20 gives you a little wiggle room. It allows you to stay focused and on track 80 percent of the time. It provides you with enough space – 20 percent – to enjoy a treat, celebrate, or satisfy a craving. That 20 percent helps you to maintain moderation, and prevents you from post-meal negativity.
Maybe you already practice this principle. If so, you will notice it is less stressful and easily fits into a busy schedule. If you have strayed from healthy eating, start making small changes to get your ratio closer to 80/20. Eat breakfast, drink LOTS of water, up your servings of fruits and vegetables, and start cutting back on processed foods and sugars. “Diets” do not have to be all or nothing. They do not have to be so rigid you feel stifled and unable to overcome setbacks. Be kinder to yourself. You have some control; use it to feel better and enjoy your life more fully. Being healthy is a choice, but a choice we all can make.
As I climb back aboard the proverbial Good Food Wagon, I keep my eye on the prize: healthy living that lasts a life time.