80/20 and why it fails me

I used to be a huge fan of the Biggest Loser, that show where contestants compete by losing weight and making themselves healthy with the help of trainers. Lately, I can’t watch it anymore though. The network seems to have gotten its claws into it and it has rapidly turned into a race to win the game rather than remaining focused on changing lives for the better. That’s just my humble opinion of course, but when you start to watch an episode and all this scheming happens…it’s just not fun anymore. I feel like I’m watching the plus size version of Survivor. But I digress.

I think it was Jillian Michaels, a former TBL trainer, who said that you can eat healthy 80% of the time and indulge 20% of the time. If I’m not mistaken, it’s in one of her books. I totally agree with this if you are already at your target or close to it. But if you are starting at somewhere much heavier than you should be, then you should be on 100% all of the time. I know, it is really, really, really hard to do that. Not just sometimes, but all of the time. It can be a constant struggle.

For a long time, I thought 80/20 would be a smart way to go and for some people it is. I have realized that I am not one of these people. I need to get into a stronger habit of saying no and not having in mind this ‘treat’ or ‘reward’ at the end of the tunnel. That vision is like the misguided efforts of the network to make the Biggest Loser a more riveting show with weird challenges that breed negative competition. I’m looking the wrong way, searching for the end of the tunnel instead of being aware of the journey.

I’m not saying that after having been completely sugar free (to the best of my knowledge) for 15 days that I’m ready to go the rest of my life without sugar. That’s just crazy talk! However, I am prepared to continue past the end of this month and to the end of the year doing my best to avoid sugar and let my body heal from the 29 years of sweet abuse I’ve put it through. I will be more aware of sugar in the foods that I buy, since they are everywhere! Also, I have definitely decided to be a better dinner guest by not imposing a no sugar in their cooking rule. My cousin (and dietitian) had the…ahem…pleasure of my dining company the other night and did extraordinarily well, but it isn’t fair. It is a self imposed food restriction and not a food intolerance others need to respect. I will just skip on the obvious sugar laden areas.

In the meantime, I’m also looking at different coping mechanisms. I’m someone who reaches for the sweets and finds comfort in foods when I’m down. Not being able to eat them, I need to find other ways to perk myself up. I mentioned this in an earlier blog about finding ways to get the happy flowing. So far, I think my poison of choice is movies. Ooh, I love a good movie and I’m in luck because the big summer blockbusters of every genre are coming out as we speak. I went to see the Avengers today and it was spectacular! It’s not like I’m short on film availability. My husband has a massive movie collection that will keep me in onscreen plots for years to come. I think I will also try to start walking more. I used to love it and now that the weather is more cooperative, it will be much easier. Once I close in on my goals, I can re-evaluate my diet, but for now…100% is the way to go.

Half way through the month I thought would be the worst and feeling pretty darn good!

How about you? Does 80/20 work for you, or are you more like me and need 100%, at least to start with?


About msjenniferwalker

I'm a Jenn of all trades, as long as they are creative and fulfilling. I'm an actress, writer, photographer and all around social person. I love to learn, travel, meet new people and have new experiences.

Posted on May 16, 2012, in Experiences, Opinion and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. How about 98% lol I am ok for the occasion treat but after a treat it’s always harder to resist so very occasional would be the way to go for me until I get my body where i want it to be.Then I should get more budget to play with. 🙂

  2. I struggle with the “treats” too – I think it’s because for so many years there has been so much sugar in our diets that we essentially have an addiction. If I give myself a little bit every now and then, I’m just giving in to the craving and prolonging the effects of the addiction. I DO think that once I can overcome the addiction, then MAYBE I’ll be able to indulge in the occasional treat…but until then it’s just counter-productive to do so.

    As far as “coping mechanisms” and perk-me-ups go, exercise does the trick every time…especially yoga!

  3. Well sugar is tricky. I took a dive for x-mas and I was stuggeling till February to get out. I would go for all or nothing.

  4. 100% in the beginning. Maybe 98% after that. I am losing but I had to be VERY strict with myself in the beginning. Still very strict all day and very careful (but not strict) in the evening.

  5. I tried the 80/20 idea to try to cure my little-bit-of-chocolate-every-day habit, but found it impossible to keep track of in a meaningful way. One splurge day a week? I’d ruin all the good restraint of the previous six days by really really splurging. One treat a day? Not helping me cure the chocolate addiction.
    My problem is that I reward myself with food. I need to find other ways of celebrating the little successes in life. Paper published!! Maybe not a cookie or cupcake to celebrate. Maybe a …? I’m still working on it.

  6. I so love the 80/20 or rather 90/10 life. It makes my eating more acceptable in my head, I don’t feel guilty after it and then go into a downward shame spiral which is just going to make me eat more. BUT that being said it took me forever to get to a point where I could say “stop” and refrain from going over the 10 or 20%. It took a super strict 3 month cleanse to help me develop some super healthy habits before I actually got what 80/20 meant.
    So yeah I love it, but it took me a while to “get it”

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