Q: How Much Junk Is Too Much? A: The 80/20 Rule

You know you shouldn’t eat fast food, soda, and candy bars at every meal, but sometimes it’s just hard to eat clean. Maybe there aren’t that many nutritious options available, or you really, really want some of Aunt Josephine’s famous fudge at Christmas. What should you do? Refuse to eat unless you can have perfect food? Shamelessly gobble tons of junk food and pretend it won’t hurt later? No. Neither approach will work for you long term. Instead, try to make your choices by the 80/20 rule. Ever heard of it? Here’s what it means.

80% of the time you eat what you know you should

20% of the time you eat what you want

To see what that will look like in real life, let’s do some simple math. Assuming you eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, that’s eating 35 times a week. 80% of 35 equals 28. The 20% you have left equals 7 foods that may not be so good for you. Not 7 big meals full of junk; 7 individual foods. Not a fast food combo complete with burger, fries, and soda. Please, let’s be realistic. We’re talking one brownie, or one serving of chips. For the calorie counters, that’s less than 300 calories for most women, and around 400 for most men each day of empty calories. You could also pick one day a week that you choose not to worry about what you eat, but behave yourself the rest of the time. Being careful about how you use your empty calories makes sure you’re not simply eating it for no reason. Choose to spend those calories on something wonderful that you love and you’ll be more satisfied.

The one condition, the most important thing that you MUST do for this to work is you have to eat very well 80% of the time. That means fresh, whole, and organic foods, preferably made by you or your family from scratch. Extra bonus points if you grow and harvest it yourself. Yes, this absolutely means you’ve got to eat your vegetables. You need nutritious, cleansing foods like apples, bananas, and almonds for snacks, and salads, grass-fed meats, and steamed veggies for meals. Real food.

Ever wonder how super fit movie stars claim to have a weakness for pizza and chocolate, but look so healthy? Do your research and you’ll find out many of them claim to live by this rule when choosing what to eat. When you build up your body with real food goodness, you can afford a few bad food choices once in a while because your body is strong enough to recover. Think about your bank account. It’s the same principle with your health. You wouldn’t expect to be able to spend however much you want whenever you want with no consequences. People who try that usually get arrested. You probably have a budget and a savings account, so if you make some mistakes or your car breaks down, you have a little nest egg to back you up. Are you building an investment with the way you treat your body, or are you on your way to paying for the nutritional crimes you’ve committed against it?




This entry was published on March 17, 2015 at 9:12 pm and is filed under Healthy eating, Indulge, Wellness. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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