Friday, May 13, 2011

UnDiet...Week 20

Hello UnDieters,
No...you didn't miss last week's post. It was, ahem, a week off. Every once in a while, you need a freebie. I will pretend it was premeditated and not a consequence of being blindsided by life. However, the break does nicely illustrate one of the key philosophies of the UnDiet.

One thing to remember when embarking on path of healthy living is that it is a marathon, not a sprint. What makes the UnDiet so special is that it is not about drastic measures. The UnDiet is about permanent change. We don't tend to be good at moderate. We like extremes. Starve yourself by following a hundred and one diet restrictions or go hog wild at a buffet because you already "broke" your diet at breakfast by eating a piece of toast.

This week, I would like to put your commitment to diet sanity to the ultimate test and introduce you to one of dietitians' favourite healthy eating "rules": the 80/20 principle.

This is a rule to live by: 80% of the time, eat beautiful, nutrient dense foods prepared fresh. That means really good food: whole grains, lean protein, tons of fruits and veggies. Muffins, luncheon meat and seasoned side dishes don't count. 20% of the time, indulge in whatever adds excitement and indulgence to your life. Whether indulgence to you is organic ice cream, mac and cheese or fried chicken, you cannot do harm with 20% indulgence when 80% of your diet is nutrient dense. If you tend to live by an all or nothing approach, this philosophy can be dangerous as a little indulgence could trigger a landslide. If this is what happens for you, take a step back to consider what is going on for you. Sometimes, it is worth talking to someone about it. Our relationships with food are complex.

For the rest of us, consider the 80/20 rule a reprieve from the bad/good mentality. Even if you have a generally healthy attitude to food, it can still be difficult to live in the grey area but it will help to reset your attitude to eating. If you need some more solid quantification, try 2 indulgence meals a week. Keep the size moderate; a buffet binge doesn't count as a single meal. Another approach to 20% indulgence could easily net you about 100-200 calories of treat a day depending on your size and activity level. For most moderately active women, keep it to 100 calories. For very active women or men, try up to 200 calories of whatever floats your boat be it triple cream brie or Cheetos.

What is your favourite indulgence? Let me know...mine? A tie between Salt Spring Island truffle chevre and black current tea truffles from Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France.

Time to get radically moderate,
Desiree
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