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For the majority of us, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call a diet a challenge, or hard work, or some form of self-inflicted punishment. After all, why else would you deny yourself all the things you truly enjoy? Why else would you say no to things you want?
The problem with thinking this way is that you can only put yourself through something like that for so long. And then when you are done, when you reach your goal or can no longer keep punishing yourself the way you do, what do you do? You return to all the things you ate before and go back to being frustrated.
Here’s the thing: you’re doing this all wrong. Wondering how? Read below.

A diet is a lifestyle, not a list of foods you can and can’t eat
We understand the way the word diet has evolved, and come to be about specific ways of eating through which you can and can’t lose weight; heck, we even use it that way ourselves sometimes. But assuming this encourage you to think only in terms of what you are and aren’t putting in your mouth, and dieting is about more than that, or at least it should be.

A diet is a way ofliving,and should be one which takes into account all aspects of your life; the way you eat, the way you exercise, the way you socialise, the way you sleep, the way you work, the things you enjoy and the things you don’t.

If this is true (which it is!), then a diet isn’t about demonising some foods (e.g. pizza) and worshipping others (e.g. salad), it’s about recognising the effects, benefits, and disadvantages that different foods have on you and your lifestyle. This means you can’t just label foods as good or bad, but have to think also about the effect they have on your whole being, and your whole lifestyle.

Looking at food in this way means that a cookie is not ‘bad’, but that consecutive cookies may not be as beneficial, both in the long and short term, as say, a protein and fruit filled smoothie. It means that you can eat French fries every once in awhile,and that you don’t need to feel bad about having a glass of soda.

This is why we love the 80/20 rule. 80% on, 20% ‘off diet’. The approach is focused on eating health-boosting and health-protecting foods 80% of the time, and doing whatever the heck you feel like 20% of the time. It gives you permission to beyou,and builds in the flexibility and structure that are needed for a holistically healthy lifestyle.

Would you try to 80/20 approach? Use the Lifesum app to help you get a better view of your health!

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams