The 80/20 Rule

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. – Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma

I love wine. Red wine, in particular. I love how it smells, how it tastes, how the nuances of a glass change with each sip.

I also love cake. Like, a lot. It’s my favourite food. The way to my heart is not romance, or flowers, or sweet nothings. It’s a freakin’ chocolate cake from my favourite bakery. Maybe brought to me with that glass of red, the Times crossword, and a pen. Bliss.

I also love it when I feel strong, and healthy, and full of energy… that isn’t fuelled by sugar, or muddled by too much alcohol. My training is easier, I feel better, I sleep better, and my stomach and digestive system are much happier with me.

But, I’m also realistic. I know I can’t avoid that sweet tooth, or my love of wine all the time. It’s not tenable for me.

So, that’s why I practice the 80/20 rule. I eat my good-for-me foods 80 percent of the time, and my sometimes foods about 20 percent of the time. And that’s not 80 percent of your day on good food, and the 20 percent not… it’s your overall diet.

Here’s the thing. I believe health, fitness, and wellness needs to include space for pleasure. I firmly believe many people wouldn’t stick to a diet and exercise plan without the chance to enjoy their sometimes foods.

Admittedly, over a long, cold winter, it’s definitely easier to stick to the warm, hearty comfort foods. And Old Fashioneds in front of fireplaces every night could be a very easy decision… instead of going to that yoga class.

But, as long as your daily go-to is not a giant slice of chocolate cake, washed down with a glass of red, and you’re eating a balanced diet (including mostly plants), I think you’re going to be just fine if you break the healthy eating rules every now and again.

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