Welcome to day 7!
Good nutrition is different for everyone.
Apart from there being differences in actual belief around the specifics of what is good nutrition, there are also differences in how far various people are willing to go to achieve good health.
– Some people absolutely love chasing optimal health and are willing to do just about anything to achieve it – even if it means meticulously counting calories, growing their own food from scratch, never eating a gram of added sugar again, and spending countless hours in the gym.
– Others, on the other hand, want to do as little as possible to just be a little bit healthier than they are now – for them being healthy is seen as an inconvenience or annoyance and they are looking for the shortcuts and minimum effective doses.
Most likely you, like us, are somewhere in between these two extremes.
You are willing to put in the time and effort to live a fitter and healthier life as long as it’s simple, reasonable, and easy to do. You may even enjoy it living a fit and healthy life, but there are other things in life that you enjoy as well (such as yummy food or celebrating with friends and family).
It’s up to you, as an individual, to decide how big a part of your life you want a healthy lifestyle to be. But since Sleekgeek is about living a healthier and fitter life, we expect you to at least make eating healthy foods more of a priority than not.
This is why we like The 90/10 Rule.
We believe in hard, but realistic effort, that looks something like:
– 90% of the time, you stick to nutrient-dense minimally processed foods (such as in The Sleekgeek Foods List).
– 10% of the time, you give yourself a bit of flexibility to enjoy some of your favourite foods OR adapt to less than ideal food situations (take special note of this last bit).
This kind of approach still requires a significant amount of commitment and effort, however, it’s generally more realistic and sustainable for most people than aiming to be 100% compliant and “all-or-nothing” with their nutrition.
It’s easy to get bogged down into specifics, such as how many days, or meals, or calories is 90% or 10% of the time? To be honest, it’s hard to say.
This is something that will take some trial and error to figure out for yourself based on your goals and how quickly you find yourself progressing (or not progressing) towards them.
Taking a 90/10 approach is more about intention and lifestyle design than doing mathematical calculations before each meal to figure out what 90% or 10% looks like.
Let me give you an example scenario: Let’s say you end up at a friend’s house having dinner and they are making something that you don’t consider to be particularly healthy.
You don’t have much choice other than to eat it, and joining them for that meal may well be healthier (for your social life, relationship, and overall well-being) than any “damage” it might cause.
My suggestion is to enjoy the meal, eat mindfully, watch your portions, and then do less or no other willing indulgence for that following week or period.
Life is messy and never goes perfectly according to plan. Rather than say “screw it” and throw all caution to the wind, control what you can control (such as portion size, drinking calorie-free beverage like water, declining second helpings or dessert), enjoy the meal, and then adjust your ongoing strategy for other meals and days accordingly.
Of course, if you find yourself in this predicament more often than not or you are finding that your progress is not lining up with your goals then you may need to either revise your expectations or find ways to plan ahead and take better control over these less than ideal situations.
OK, here’s another example scenario: Let’s say that your nutrition has been pretty spot on lately and you’re making a decent amount of progress, then you can probably get away with a small indulgence of something from time to time.
Keep in mind that the idea is NOT to reward yourself or to have a cheat meal that undoes your hard earned progress. It’s about acknowledging and accepting the tradeoffs.
Just like how it’s possible to overeat and gain weight on healthy foods, there is also place for a moderate amount of luxurious food in a healthy diet – but with that power comes the responsibility of not overdoing it.
So, there is no specific task for you today.
But, I do want you to think about how you can use The 90/10 Rule and the knowledge that you don’t have to eat “perfectly” to be more consistent.
See you tomorrow, cheers!