By: Jordy Peri
You have probably watched your friends go through it, or maybe you have yourself. A new and exciting diet that has been flooding social media pops up in conversation at brunch and you think, this is the day, this is the day everything changes for me. But then a couple months down the road you find yourself in the same position as where you started – still searching for the magic exercise plan, diet, diet pill, style of eating, that will change everything for you.
It does not exist.
Okay I apologize in advance; I know that wasn’t the happy ending you wanted. But it is so true. There is no magic solution out there that you somehow aren’t aware of that will make everything about leading a healthy lifestyle easy. The true magic is consistency. Yep, that word/concept is back to haunt you, and it forever will be the ONLY way you achieve your goals and make them stick for the long haul.
So what exactly is a balanced approach?
It is the secret to life quite honestly. A “have your cake and eat it too” situation. Here is the thing, if you love chocolate, find a way to eat a tiny bit of it everyday to scratch that itch so that you don’t overdo it one or two nights a week at Dairy Queen drive thru (guilty). Once I started eating a couple pieces of chocolate everyday, I no longer felt the extreme cravings come on. I was even able to say no to an offer to have some delivered to me by my mom the other night and I turned it down. Wow. I did not “need” it or want it. If you know me at all that should actually shock you, but I digress. The point is that by including a tiny bit of sweets in my everyday, I am satisfied. So, here’s my advice to you.
Adopt the 80/20 rule.
This means that 80% of your day is filled with clean, nutritious foods, and 20% of whatever you want. To put this in perspective for you let’s looks at a 2,500 calorie diet. 20% of 2500 calories is 500 calories that can go to fun snacks and foods you enjoy, which is not a lot and can add up quick, but it does allow some flexibility to enjoy what you love. THIS. RIGHT. HERE. This method will keep you from “starting over” with every new week and falling into the trap of diets, which lets be real, they don’t work. Diets are great for short term, but following the 80/20 rule is a lifelong diet that makes you actually want to choose the right foods and still get to enjoy the sweetest ones without regret.
This 80/20 rule applies to exercise too. Find a routine that works for you. I will tell you I am the happiest, most energized for every workout, and feel an equal balance of rested and strong when I workout really hard for 4 days a week rather than half-effort 6 days of workouts. If 6 days makes you feel your best and keeps you the most consistent, then by all means do it, but it is all a balancing act. The point we want to avoid is starting to dread the gym and falling off completely for a month or even longer. FIND BALANCE. Life is a balance. Eat your veggies and protein, and eat a hersheys chocolate too. A balanced approach lives in the grey zone, and not the black or white.