Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why The 80-20 Rule Just Doesnt Cut It

Please, before assuming that I'm a paranoid, extreme dieter hellbent on never eating dessert, just hear me out.
I know that for many, the rule of eating 'healthy' 80% of the time and letting the other 20% go to less than superior food choices works great. But for me, I find that this is not the right path to take. I admit that this may be due to the fact I can be an extremist at times, however I honestly think that I have legitimate reasoning behind my thought process here.

Why the 80-20 Rule Just Doesn't Cut It:

-Your Body Doesn't Recognize When It Is Receiving A 'Cheat' Food. Sure, in your mind you realize that you only are going to eat your favorite double chocolate chunk ice cream once a week. But does your BODY? No. Just because you can justify the reasoning in your mind, doesn't mean that automatically your metabolism then thinks "Okay, let's just let this gunk of processed chemicals pass through this body like anything else. I mean, its only this once." Your body is constantly using the food you put into it as fuel. With those valuable calories and nutrients, it repairs your muscles, builds your bones, makes your hair shiny. When its fed whole foods free of processes or otherwise unhealthy elements, all the vitamins, minerals, ext can easily be absorbed and utilized. When its given something not quite up to par, it is not like it can simply store this treat somewhere and not use it because its not the best choice of nutrients. (Actually, it may store it... In the form of pesky love handles). No, it is still going to digest the matter and use its properties throughout your system. How can it do anything favorable, make anything look and feel beautiful, when its given something with no nutritional value?
-The 20% Might Start Looking Like 50%. First off, I should say that this isn't always true for some. Some people REALLY do have total control and can limit their "treats" or "cheats" to only 20%. However, I think it is fair to say that for the majority, this is honestly a very hard task. Even without realizing it, we can start to justify getting these 'occasional' treats with the 80/20 rule, and before we know it, our small, special meals start to occur every day. This ultimately leads to a diet consisting of lots of "bad" foods!
-You Shouldn't Categorize Foods To Begin With. When you begin to put certain foods into groups such as "good" and "bad', you are only setting yourself up for disaster. People want what they can't have, and the thought that a food is off limits will only make you crave it more. Plus, this sort of thinking can lead to unhealthy, distorted eating habits and patterns. Instead of grouping foods off into what is a treat and what is not, I feel it is best to know what is NUTRITIOUS for our bodies, and view foods with the mind set of "What can this do to benefit my body?" instead of "So is this going to make me fat or not?". By doing this, you realize that the foods you think of as treats really have little nutritional value, and do not do your body any favors at all (see the first reason I just discussed). I feel that this is a humbling approach, because in order for us to see food as something more than just what tastes good and what doesn't is eye opening and allows us to think of what we put into our systems as fuel rather than taste bud pleasers. 
-Why Have These "Cheats" or "Treats" When You Can Make Them At Home, and Healthy? I frequently enjoy things that may seem like a dessert, or fattening food. However, I make HEALTHY versions of my old classics (home made ice cream, pies, 'fried' chicken), cooking them in a way that gives nutritious value to them so that I in no way feel guilty, or obligated to tell myself that was a "treat"! There are SO many recipes out there for healthy versions of your favorite things. Check out blogs, Instagram, and Pinterest (my favorite!) and there is no way to not find something scrumptious that makes your tummy AND body happy! Plus, making things yourself is not only fun, but saves money! 

What are your thoughts on the 80/20 rule? 
How to you approach the topic of "cheat" or "treat" meals? 

I would love you hear your thoughts and ideas, so feel free to comment and message me!


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