The 80/20 Rule of Eating

When we first started our weight loss journey I read a lot of magazine articles about people losing weight, hitting a plateau, and keeping the weight off.  I was interested in reading what other people had to say about losing weight.  Whether someone was trying to lose 10 pounds or 100 pounds, I wanted to know the challenges and victories they experienced along the way.  That’s when I learned the 80/20 rule of eating: Don’t beat yourself up because you eat “bad” 20% of the time when you eat right 80% of the time.

This is something I really struggle with because I don’t want to dip back into bad habits.  I do experience food guilt.  It comes out of fear of gaining the weight back and that’s obviously something I don’t want to deal with.  Saturday night dinner is a meal Willie and I tend not to really care what we’re eating.  That doesn’t mean go out and an enjoy a big plate of fried food, but we eat differently than what we would during the week. Sometimes it’s hard for me to deal with that.

I don’t eat bad on these days.  Most days it’s just a plate of veggies because I don’t eat a lot of meat.  Lately  my weakness has been Middle Eastern food.  I’m such a sucker for Pita bread, hummus, baba ganoush and falafels.  Yes, I know still pretty healthy but it’s just out of our regualr eating realm. (This is where having this blog makes it a little difficult because this is displaying moments of weakness for me, but I promised to share the experience with everyone who reads the blog.)

Willie has spent many a times telling me it’s ok and that I shouldn’t worry about it.  And that’s very true.  Of course, it’s a psychological thing and the mind can be a terrible thing sometimes.  My biggest issue with my food guilt is I don’t ever want to feel like food is a reward for anything anymore.  Thinking about eating our Saturday night meal sometimes seems like a “you earned this” and that shouldn’t be the case.  I use to be an emotional eater.  I would eat when I was happy, sad, confused, angry, stressed…had the best day of my life (reward) or the worse day (comfort).  I don’t want it to be like that.

But I know I also can’t deprive myself of the things I want because that could led to bigger food issues.  Struggling with food is something I will deal with for the rest of the life.  I abused food in the past and that will always be apart of me.  I must remember that eating “bad” one day a week won’t kill me or make me gain back all the weight.  It’s eating habits like eating that every day at every meal and not being active that got me overweight in the first place.

When I’m eating right 80% of the time I can’t beat myself up that 20% of the time that I’m not eating clean! But we all must remember that you can’t out exercise a bad diet. Eating right is a lifestyle change and even after losing the weight there are obviously things that I still struggle with, but that’s just part of the journey!