I am an 80/20 person through and through, and I want to help you hone your 80/20 skills!
What is the 80/20 lifestyle?
Living life the 80/20 way [to me] means I know I want to be my healthiest and happiest self, and I know that in order to live life I cannot approach that desire with an "all or nothing" mentality. Instead, I approach it with an 80/20 mentality - 80% of the time, this is how I eat, sleep, work, and exercise. The other 20% looks a little different.
80/20 in diet
80% of the time I consume easily digestible, organic, and home-cooked foods. This means the bulk of my diet comes from root veggies, grass-fed meats and dairy, eggs, and fruits.
20% of the time I sprinkle in some sourdough bread, homemade pasta, wine, salad, and dinner dates.
When I consume the 20% foods, I don't call it "treating myself", "being bad", or "cheating." I simply call it eating. There's no guilt. My body can handle this. I feed it very well most of the time, and when I choose to eat outside of those easy to digest foods, I'll be fine. I trust my body.
Slightly off topic, but still relevant - I also no longer calorie count or weigh my foods. I listen and make choices based on what my body needs. Now, I won't lie - this is a cultivated skill and one I had to learn, but it's very empowering to just know what to do.
80/20 in exercise
80% of the time I move daily, walk, and train functionally. 20% of the time, I don't move at all or do exercises that aren't my typical recommendations (like burpees) just to see what it feels like and to push myself.
I'm going to get real - when I don't move, I have to actively tell myself it's ok. I don't typically have these thoughts surrounding food. Seriously, I can eat half of a pumpkin pie in one sitting without batting an eye, but ending the day knowing I haven't moved at all is hard for me mentally.
Word use, thoughts, and guilt
If you want to begin honing your 80/20 lifestyle, start by changing up the words you use to describe food - good, bad, cheat, treat, healthy, unhealthy - these words carry a moral code and are charged with guilt. Drop it. Opt for easy to digest and harder to digest, or just call all food fuel.
When I look at food as fuel, I make decisions differently. If I am about to do a workout, I will choose a smoothie over a donut because a smoothie offers the usable energy I'll need to move. If I'm hanging on the sofa all day, donuts sound great. Most people would say the opposite, right? Eat the donut, but be sure to burn it off. But I know that if I exercise with only a donut as my fuel, my body won't have enough energy to go for it.
With movement and exericse, I avoid saying "I have to go workout." Instead I say "I get to" or "I want to."
If I skip a movement one day all together, actively telling myself it's ok to not move, and reminding myself that one day, or two, or three does not break my body has been key.
Our internal dialogue plays a bigger role than people like to admit. Pain, anxiousness, and fatigue all stem from thoughts. Change your thoughts to change your lifestyle.
This whole lifestyle is about honoring the body. I love my body, so I eat and move this way.
And if all else fails, find yourself a good therapist.