Clean Eating 80/20

I put a lot of pressure on myself to eat healthy. For the most part, I do a pretty good job and probably do not give myself enough credit. But there are times when I have a slip up, or several slip ups, and the guilt sinks in. Hard. I’m going to say harder than it would for most. So I’ve been thinking about how to make a change…for good.

This all sprung about in my head ever since our trip to Baltimore. With any vacation, eating healthy is difficult being you lack a kitchen and pretty much have to eat every meal out. Yet, vacations don’t scare me in that aspect because we’re always walking so much. But ever since we got back from Baltimore, it seems to be one eating out event after another. Going to lunch with friends, wanting to try a new restaurant as a couple, ordering out with family, buying lunch/dinner out because we’ve been too busy working on the house to cook…etc. It all adds up, nutritionally and financially, and puts a lot of stress on me.

Now, I love eating healthy. I crave the healthy stuff. But do I like indulgences? Absolutely. But as stated earlier, I feel guilty each time I break away from my clean eating habits. So what I’ve decided to do is live by an 80/20 policy. 80% of the time I will stick to my clean eating principles, which I’ll detail below. The other 20% of the time allows for the eating out, the froyo with a million toppings, the lunch at the new restaurant, the slice of pizza when I didn’t have time to make dinner.

At first I said to Pete, “I think I’ll try this for 20 days.” The next day, it was something along the lines of, “I’ll give this a shot for a week.” But as I thought about it more, my response became, “This is how I need want to live my life.” I truly feel honored and blessed to have such amazing friends and family. But the amount of times I think about declining an invite or event because I’m scared of the eating out guilt is actually sad. I need to embrace my life, live my life, but do it in a healthy way. I’m a lucky gal to be able to enjoy food, wine, company, laughter, and the blessings I have…and it’s time to put the guilt behind me.

With all that being said, my 80% will follow these guidelines:

Clean Eating Principles

  • Purchased foods have a short ingredient list
  • Ingredients are all able to be pronounced and identifiable
  • No high-fructose corn syrup
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Stick with all whole grains
  • Buying/eating organic whenever possible
  • Eat healthy fats (avocado, nut butter, etc) daily
  • Drink more water (something I’m working on)
  • Eat 5-6 smaller meals per day (this is definitely going to take work, as I only eat 3-4 times a day now)
  • Buying produce from local farms as much as possible

I know there are many definitions out there for what clean eating is, but this is what works for me and what I strive for. Pete and I went back and forth about the 80/20 and considered 75/25, but I feel this 80/20 is more of a challenge and a goal that is worth working for. But that 20 represents LIFE. Things happen. We can’t always eat perfect and I’ve put the pressure on myself for far too long to do just that. I feel that by living by a philosophy so simple, that a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. While it may seem like not such a big deal, I have a long history of a disordered mind when it comes to food. And this is one giant step away from that. Wish me luck in this lifestyle change!

Do you follow the principles of eating clean?

What percentages would you put on your clean eating versus indulgences?


One thought on “Clean Eating 80/20

  1. I try to stick to 80/20 also. Often I eat well more than 80% of the time, but giving myself that option for when I do want to indulge is helpful. It isn’t realistic to be 100% perfect all the time, but for overachievers like us, it helps to have a set of rules to feel proud of sticking to but that also build in the option for a treat. Its a solid plan, and one that I hope you enjoy!

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