Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness, Wellness and Lifestyle Blog | Emtalks

Monday, 30 May 2016

I Don't Believe In Diets. The 80/20 Rule. Let's Be Frank About Clean Eating.

sweaty betty reversible leggings
Hey guys, so today I wanted to talk about something that’s been bugging me quite a lot recently, you’ll have seen me talking about it on social media but I’ve never really blogged the topic. If you’ve ever read any of my health and fitness posts, you’ll know that I’m all about the 80/20 rule. That means, enjoying yourself 20% of the time and being healthy the other 80% of the time. Too many people seem to have become obsessed with calorie counting, quick-fixes (which don’t work by the way) and never allowing themselves to have cheat days so they just binge and then put all the weight back on? Equally though, too many influential people in the industry seem to have become overly obsessed with the idea of 'clean', completely shunning people for enjoying life and telling the world to cut every-single-thing out of their diets. You all know I am 100% for eating well, I absolutely adore health and fitness and it's easily one of the biggest parts of my life. I also, adore everything green and good for you, but, I refuse to feel bad for having a cheat day! I’m going to talk to you today about the subject of balance, the importance of balance and the importance of the 80/20 rule (as far as I’m concerned). 

The 80/20 Rule: A lot of people ask me to explain the 80/20 rule to them. The 80/20 rule basically means that you can be healthy 80% of the time and then have a little cheat and enjoy something naughty the other 20% of the time. This means you don’t need to diet, because you’re not cutting anything out! I personally live by this rule, if I eat well Monday-Friday, I don't feel bad for having some sweeties and pizza on a Sunday! Life is for living after all. You can read my top health and well-being tips here

Cheat Day: I tend to be a bit more relaxed on weekends, not every weekend, but probably twice a month I’ll get a pizza and I have to eat Pringles! I was stood in the supermarket the other day and Pringles were on offer, I sat there and thought, I am not going to get fat by eating these Pringles, I work hard at the gym and life is for living, how can we enjoy life, this life that we get once if we just deprive ourselves everyday? So yeh, I did it, I broke the 80/20 rule and went and ate those Pringles. Did I feel bad? No. Did social media make me feel bad? Yes. I wasn't sat there meal prepping and planning with my tupperwear, I was stood there eating my Pringles with the biggest smile on my face. I work out so hard, I'll just push myself a little bit harder the next time. So you like pizza and you like Pringles, you’re not doomed, that’s totally okay, just don’t deprive yourself all together because then you’ll forever be craving them! Just have the things you like in moderation. Even the most elitist of athletes and body builders have cheat days. Nutrition is so important but honestly, going off track once in a while aint that bad. You can read my top tips for gym motivation and healthy eating motivation if you have gone a little too much off the track. You can always get back on the bandwagon. 

Healthy Isn't Tasteless: People seem to think that eating healthy is dull or boring. I actually feel amazing when I've been eating healthy. I think it's when people calorie count that the issue comes in. I never limit my position sizes but just make sure that what I'm eating is delicious, filling and nutritious. I try to get lots of lean protein into my meals to fill me up. Sweet potato fries and yummy chicken with lots of spinach is my go to. Do I cut pasta out? Never, I just only have brown pasta instead. Honestly, there are SO many incredible healthy options to explore.

Little Choices: I walk around supermarkets and look at the ingredients in most things, and in all honesty, I try to cook things from scratch. I totally get that people don't always have the time for this so it's about making small choices which have big results, e.g., I'll never ever put fizzy drinks into my basket. I just never drink them. I prefer to eat my calories, not drink them. I find it's the pasta and salad sauces that are unhealthy - have you seen how much sugar is inside a 'tomato sauce' for pasta? I just buy my own tomatoes and whip up my own! Same with guac. I buy fresh brown bread rather than white. Have a gin and tonic instead of a bottle of wine. There are so many little things you can do, like making my healthier chocolate peanut butter cups  or chocolate sweet potato brownies

Taking Things Too Far, When Eating Clean Becomes Dangerous: I once heard the most ridiculous thing: ‘if I eat chocolate it will be seen on my stomach the next day’ - really? I honestly think the clean eating phase that’s going around Instagram at the moment is great, I am all for getting people to nourish their bodies with delicious, yummy and nutritional foods. But, it really does go too far sometimes and I worry when I see accounts telling people to cut every single thing out and shunning people for enjoying food. Life is here to enjoy and it worries me when people are putting so much stress on people for just enjoying a bag of crisps. I do feel that some people have become completely obsessed and dangerously with the idea of 'eating clean'. I also read a health professional say: ‘people who eat junk, are junk’ on social media, words cannot express how much this offended me - if you fuel your body well most of the time and want to enjoy a pizza once in a while, you are not junk and your body will forgive you! I am all for eating well but similarly, I am all for enjoying life. Just like over-eating can be a problem, the 'clean eating' thing can become an obsession and can become dangerous - it's absolutely fine to eat clean, it's great for the body but it's not great when it becomes so obsessive that it's taking over your social life etc. 

Binging: I once tried to give up carbs (worst week of my life). Carbs are not the enemy. I do try to eat my carbs after exercising to re-fuel the muscles and I exercise at least four times a week so I can get away with eating a lot of carbs. Carbs fuel our bodies and give us much needed energy. I did find that when I gave them up for a week, I binged more than I’ve ever binged by the end of the week. My body was crying out for them and I put all the bloat and the weight back on! 

Lifestyle Not A Diet: I do not believe in diets. It frustrates me so much when I see people saying ‘I’m dieting’ ‘I can’t enjoy that because I’m on a diet’. There are so many incredible, delicious things you can eat, drink and make whilst being healthy. I would never tell someone I am on ‘a diet’. Eating healthy really is part of my every day lifestyle now, I naturally grab the healthier bars over the sugar laden ones and naturally would order a G&T over a bottle of wine but hey, if it's the weekend, I could be partial to a glass of wine or two...

I guess what I'm getting is, let's not take this thing called life too seriously. Everything in moderation, don't beat yourself up for enjoying something a little big naughty over the weekend. If you have a big weekend? Get back on it first thing Monday, take happiness in the fact that you enjoyed yourself, had something yummy and now it's time to get back on it. That's the way I look at it anyway. Balance is key. 

How do you feel about this topic? 

Photo at the top by the super Matt McCormick - sports leggings online here / sports top online here.

Lots of love, Em x

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