We know we should eat less processed food and more vegetables, and probably hit the gym more.
It’s a common decision to cut it all off – no carbs, no sugar, no cake, so sweets, no eating out. Because we know that being healthy means no cake, or KFC and no pizza.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. The concern is not the food, its not the sugar or the candy. There are no good foods and bad foods. There are only good eating habits and bad eating habits. All foods are good within context.
It’s not the one thing that you do that matters, its the sum of the things you do over a long enough period of time that matters. Not in the fact that not eating cake is the reason why someone is healthy – but more that the healthy person doesn’t :
- Overdo it and eat half the cake at once – everyday.
- Feel guilty about it to the point where they decide to give it up and toss it all in because all is lost – and proceeds to skip the gym for good.
- Have cake for breakfast (not the issue in general), then have pizza for lunch and a bowl of cereal for dinner (lacking nutrients all day).
It’s about how one goes about the eating of the cake and how the rest of their lifestyle ties in. Is there a balance?
You Need Only 51% Of Good To Be In A Positive Balance
The good habits (eating well, drinking water, staying active) need to be at least 51% to make positive movement. This means you can screw up 49% of the time and still make some sort of headway.
This means that having cake on occasion or that drink with the colleagues after work doesn’t have to be detrimental to your progress. However it’s most important not to look at the things you can get away with and be happy about it.
Instead try to see it as having celebrations, missteps, binges and cravings and falling off the wagon – as part of the journey and to get back up on the horse.
To have the perfect day and perfect meals – and NO urges, cravings or binges – is imaginary. The world tells you that nothing is perfect and we know ourselves as not being perfect – yet we want to hold our life source – nutrition, health to a perfect standard. It’s setting an unfairly heavy burden that sets you up to fall short inevitably.
If anything, that’s being completely unfair on yourself. It is one of the reasons why self-acceptance is a critical part of any transformative process – because you will definitely be human and have things go off plan. It’s part of the journey of life.
“All Or Nothing” Is Making It Harder Than It Needs To Be
This isn’t to say that you can slack and do what you want while putting in minimal effort. It’s more about putting in effective effort in moderate amounts. You don’t have to go to the gym 6 times a week and eat salads every day.
However you do have to be conscious of the food types and quantities you eat on a regular basis (calorie and nutrient awareness), have some physical activity at least for 150 minutes a week and drink enough water. Minimise activities that HURT your progress such as alcohol intake, smoking and just generally health avoidant behaviours.
It just has to be MORE of the good things than the bad. Don’t feel discouraged when the “bad” moments happen, simply move on from it as if it didn’t happen.
The ultra-successful people have mastered a better percentage of good – 90-95%. You don’t need to aim for such high figures because it is usually a rigid, programmed and usually restrictive way of living – and is usually for a purpose (eg competing, professional bodybuilders).
It is also completely unrealistic. Especially for everyday life.
I’d rather focus on keeping things realistic and sustainable – for the majority of us who simply want to improve our health. It’s not our job to be healthy, but improving our health can improve our relationships, job and self confidence, so it’s something definitely worth working for.
Aim for 70-80% good, start where you are and work slowly and sustainably, allow for slip ups and get back up each time.
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