What is health and wellness?
Going to the gym 7 days a week is not healthy.
Sitting on your butt all day, everyday is not healthy.
Starving or depriving yourself is not healthy.
Eating too much processed foods and sugar is not healthy.
Health and wellness, as well as happiness and success in life, is all about finding balance.
I come across the ‘all-or-nothing’ type all the time, heck, I used to be one. However, living with that kind of a mindset long term, is not healthy.
For some reason people have this skewed view of fitness. Some people think that if they can’t commit to working out 5 days a week and eating only ‘clean foods’ that they won’t ‘fit in’ to the fitness world. Even worse, they think that if they can’t 100% commit to the ‘fit lifestyle’ that they won’t be successful. Therefore people either fully commit, or don’t change anything at all because it seems like too much work.
However, in order to attain optimal health and wellness that is sustainable, the best option is to find balance.
Working out 5 or more days a week and being super strict with your diet might be something you can keep up for a while. But sooner or later you will either burn out, physically or mentally, or you will find yourself at a family BBQ in a food coma because you finally cracked. Without giving your mind and body adequate rest from intense activity you will never fully recover. Additionally, depriving yourself of your favourite foods means you are more likely to crack when faced with too many options, and eat everything in sight.
The best way to avoid large binges and burn out is to find balance through the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule is very simple; make healthy choices 80% of the time, but give yourself the freedom to enjoy yourself 20% of the time. To give you some perspective, let’s say you eat 3 meals a day, for 7 days a week, in one year that is equal to 1095 meals. Therefore, if you are following the 80/20 rule, that would mean that 219 of those meals could be less than perfect and you would still have eaten healthy 80% of the time.
Of course you should do your best to eat healthy when you can. But don’t deprive yourself of your Grandma’s homemade pie at a family dinner just because it doesn’t fit into your “diet plan.”
First of all, is that honestly realistic for you? Second, do you seriously never want to taste your Grandma’s sweet baking again?
I doubt it. Above all, the more you tell yourself no, the higher your chances are of a diet relapse that leads to you stuffing your face with food. However, by following the 80/20 rule and giving yourself the option to have that piece of pie on special occasions, you will be less likely to over do it when you are faced with the opportunity. Furthermore, you will feel happier knowing that you are not living your life deprived and as a slave to your diet.
Finding what balance means to you for optimal health and wellness
Everyone’s balanced lifestyle will be a little different, the point is to find what works best for you. Find a lifestyle that keeps you healthy and stress-free whilst allowing you to enjoy the little things in life, like birthday cake and holidays.
Balance is about eating healthy foods the majority of the time, drinking more water than wine, and never putting any foods completely off limits. It is about finding the place where you don’t have to over think your diet, and where the dessert table doesn’t cause you stress. See my post outlining my Simple Nutrition Rules for three easy to follow guidelines to eat healthy, no matter what.
Balance is about finding an exercise routine that keeps you healthy, moving, and working towards your goals. But that doesn’t make you to feel guilty when you skip the gym, or require you to miss out on life because you need to get that workout in. For my tips to get results from any workout, and any lifestyle see here.
Balance is about feeling good and taking care of your body, while taking into account your overall well-being and enjoyment of life.
Get rid of the guilt of not being perfect, missing a workout, or eating a piece of pie.
Ditch the mindset of “I’ve already missed one workout this week, what’s the difference if I miss the rest of the week?”
Give up that all or nothing mindset!
The only way to see and maintain results and your health, is to make smart choices and work hard. However, realize the importance of allowing yourself the flexibility to get off track, but having the confidence and will power to get right back on.