“If you can eat well 80% of the time, you can have whatever you want 20% of the time.” When working with my clients I prefer to use the phrase
“the majority of the time” rather than “80% of the time.” Here’s why:
Just like with our weight, or similar to when counting calories, we set ourselves up for disappointment when we use numbers as a measure of success or a way to reach our goals. How many times have you weighed yourself and been disappointed because you weighed three measly pounds more than your “goal weight?” Or how many times have you gotten to the end of the day sticking within your “calorie range” only to go home and over do it on the tub of ice cream and the rest of the bag of chips in the cupboard?
Research shows that once people convince themselves that they have already “ruined” their “diet” they are much more likely to continue making unhealthy choices for the remainder of the day, week, year, or lifetime depending on “big” they perceive themselves to have “blown” it. You can compare this as the All or Nothing mentality.
The term majority does not lock anyone into a set number that will ultimately lead dissapointent and failure. Some days or weeks 60% of your meals could be made up for real, whole and natural foods. Other times, the majority may end up being closer to 90%.. The point is, as long as you are eating well (meaning fruits, vegetables, 100% whole grains, lean meats, and all the other real, whole, natural food) the rest of it doesn’t matter so much. The more often you can make your meals and snacks full of 100% real, whole, and natural food, the more the things that aren’t so real, whole, and natural don’t matter.
Take a look at my dinner from two nights ago vs. last night. The first night, I was happy to have a large salad
and a small serving of lasagne. The next night, I didn’t want salad, and I wanted wine and two plates of lasagne. And it doesn’t matter at all. Two nights ago, my dinner was 90% real, whole, and natural food. Last night, my dinner was 70% real, whole, and natural…if you consider that wine is made from grapes… I’m kidding.
The best way to make sure the majority of your meals are made up of the good stuff is to put fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low fat dairy into everything you can. The lasagna we made was stuffed with tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, lean ground turkey, and low fat mozzarella and cottage cheese.
Moral of the story: don’t take your food too seriously. Try to eat well the majority of the time. Enjoy it. And don’t think about it too much. The psychological effects of eating can often be much greater than the physical effects of food.