We’ve seen viral videos on trends like the celery juice diet, nature’s cereal (aka berries & ice!!), and no-bread sandwiches with peppers or mushrooms as the bun – MADNESS. Many popular diet methods tend to have an ‘all or nothing’ mantra. They may also promote strict rules, with a list of foods that are off-limits. This can promote unhealthy relationships with food through restriction, which can often lead to feelings of guilt and shame if we break any of these rules.
Let’s stop cutting food groups!
Balance is something that I’m extremely passionate about, which is why I love the 80/20 rule – a guide that I like to follow myself and share with others too.
🤨 But what is the 80/20 rule?
1️⃣ First up, there’s no such thing as good & bad foods. What matters is the quantity & frequency in which we eat all foods, we need to consider the ratio.
2️⃣ Think MODERATION NOT DEPRIVATION – Include the foods you love (soul foods!) mindfully and in moderation (even if they are higher in calories/lower in nutrients than you’d like!), to avoid a potential binge-restrict cycle.
3️⃣ And DON’T OVERTHINK THE 80/20 RULE – The 80/20 rule isn’t about calories and it isn’t really a ‘rule’ at all, it’s merely a guideline where as long as you are eating nutrient rich foods the majority of the time, it’s a-ok to include those little indulgences that feed our soul! It’s also ok to tweak the rule and go more than or less than 80%, depending on what you’re doing across the month ⬇️
🥦 80% of the time (approx), we should focus on including more nutrient rich foods such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts & seeds, whole-grains and protein (including plants, fish and lean meat if eaten), that promote beneficial effects on our physical & mental health.
🍪 20% of the time, we CAN include ‘less nutrient dense foods’ such as biscuits, cakes, ice creams & chocolate bars which provide energy and can also benefit our mental well-being by providing a sense of enjoyment & balance.
The key is to AVOID “all or nothing” thinking. If you have a particular goal in mind, a slip-up in your balanced eating plan isn’t a problem, but your reaction could be! Instead, pull out the 80/20 card, remember that life is about BALANCE and go easy on yourself.
🤔 Do YOU follow the 80/20 rule?
Read the full article that I contributed to on Insider – 8 Foods a Dietitian Following the 80/20 Eating Rule Eats
The bottom line is, it’s OK to have a day/week that doesn’t feel as ‘balanced’ as you’d like and it’s OK to reflect on our choices too. As long as we keep mindful that we should never feel guilty about our dietary choices, and aim to create positive, instead of restrictive dietary changes then we can achieve our OWN balanced diet!
Remember that restrictions often lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, potentially increasing the likelihood of disordered eating. Share your thoughts!