What a balanced diet looks like for me

When I first took my nutrition more seriously, I felt a little misguided when health and fitness experts I admired and who said health is about balance, only shared photos of their greens and proteins — not when they indulge. And when I had a treat or ate something not “healthy” my body was craving, I felt kind of guilty when I was trying to lose weight after having kiddos. It took me a while to find the right balance of giving in to my cravings, but I know it can be done! I LOVE sweets, especially the combination of chocolate and peanut butter — dessert is hard for me to pass up, especially home made!

But I fully believe that in order to lose weight and meet your fitness goals and maintain them, you have to make room for the things you love to eat. If you’ve deprived yourself of chocolate, or alcohol, or carbs — whatever you temporarily gave up to meet your goal — what happens when you reintroduce those back into your diet? Most likely you’ll gain some of the weight back … and it can be so discouraging.

Whether or not I’m trying to lose weight or not, I try to follow an 80/20 rule, where 80 percent of what I put into my body is healthy, whole foods, tons of fresh fruits and veggies, lots of fish and healthy carbs. The 20 percent left I’m pretty flexible with — I leave room for a slice of cake, a glass of wine, In-N-Out, cheesy pasta, a cocktail, cookies, whatever I’m craving. It’s about balance.

If someone brings in donuts to work, I might have half a maple bar. Then, I’ll get back on track with a healthy lunch.

If I know I’m going to a party or get-together with unhealthy options, I’ll make sure to eat something healthy and filling beforehand. That way I don’t indulge too much.

If I have an extra coffee, I’ll make sure to drink extra water too.

If I know I’ll want something sweet later, I’ll make sure my dinner is full of veggies and lean protein.

95 percent of the time, I pack my own lunch so I’m not tempted to grab something quick and unhealthy.

If I’m out to eat, I usually choose either a dessert or a rich dinner, but not both. Unless I’m celebrating. 🙂

For alcohol, I’ll usually stick to wine, but if I want a cocktail I try searching for a “healthier” version to make at home. You can find some really delicious fresh recipes without using the sugary mixes.

A few more tips for eating 80/20:

  • Know what you want to indulge in; what’s worth it to you. For me, it’s sweets and a drink. Most of the time I could pass on fried food and chips.
  • If you’re going to indulge, don’t turn the entire day into a cheat day. Instead, get back on track with your next meal with lots of healthiness.
  • Meal planning and prepping — it keeps me on track and makes it easier for me to pick the healthier option over the one I may regret.
  • If I’m really craving something, I’ll make sure it’s not thirst first. I’ll drink some water and see if the craving passes.
  • Don’t feel guilty about it! This can be a tough one and I’m still working on it. 🙂
  • When I’m indulging, sometimes it’s out of routine, boredom or tiredness. After dinner is usually when my cravings hit hardest. So first I’ll make sure I really want it, as opposed to just feeling bored with my meals that day or tired from the day.

I hope these tips help you! And I thought this quote was so true, so I had to share.

Do you follow the 80/20 rule? How do you make a balanced diet work for you? 


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