I can’t quite believe that we celebrated our first three full months of The 80:20 Club at the start of this month! It's amazing just how quickly that time has flown in.
I've mentioned before that starting the Club was possibly one of the scariest things that I have ever done. I worried about the IT, the messaging, about getting members – would people be interested? Most of all, though, I worried about the content – the quality and the quantity. There can be such a fine line between providing information and creating overwhelm – and with The 80:20 being all about balance, that would be the last thing I’d want for my members!
I had to apply some of my own advice, practice what I preach and (my clients will recognise these words well) pull up my big-girl pants and just give it a go. And, here we are, almost half-way through our fourth month of nutritious meal plans and health-supporting challenges. The group banter is fantastic and, to quote one of the members, “this club rocks!!”
They say that if you buy a red car, you’ll start seeing red cars everywhere and, recently, I’ve seen an increasing number of nutrition experts talking about the 80:20 principle and its place in healthy eating and lifestyle choices. It's great to see this approach being advocated more.
For me, it’s about not being too restrictive with our food choices. It’s not about “dieting”, rather it’s a healthier way of eating for most of the time. I’d hate to think of anyone who works with me getting caught in the cycle of counting calories, adding points, accumulating “syns”, or feeling that they need to trade their exercise for food.
Food should be about nourishing yourself, providing support for each of your body’s vital systems, that they can work optimally so you can live your fullest life. It’s a more mindful way of eating, less about attaching “good” and “bad” labels to you food and, instead, tuning into how our food makes us feel.
Different approaches to nutrition and health will work for different people and we all have an opinion about what healthy eating means – clean, keto, vegan, intermittent fasting, dairy free, paleo, and the list goes on. There is no absolute right or wrong. The choices simply reflect our individual needs and preferences. What works for you may not work for your partner, or your friend and, what works for you today, may not serve you as well in five years’ time.
Yet, the fundamentals of a healthy diet are constant, irrespective of your personal choice of dietary model. The building blocks of any nutritionally balanced eating plan will include a ratio of protein, healthy fats, and fibre through less refined, or low GI carbohydrates, and lots of vegetables, preferably across as wide a variety as possible. That’s what we work with in The80:20 Club and how I work with most of my clients – getting the basics right, and, yes, that does also include removing the overly refined and processed foods, and reducing our overall sugar intake.
Healthy eating is a 100% a lifestyle choice, it's adopting a habit that's designed to last. It's totally unlike embarking on the fad diets which, whether for fat loss or any other goal, tend not to work because they are overly restrictive. The fad diet asks you to change too much, and typically over a very short space of time. You don’t have the opportunity to create new long-term habits or tastes and your body isn’t given sufficient time to adjust. For those reasons, and more, the results are less likely to be sustainable.
That’s one reason why I believe in the 80:20 approach. None of my members will ever feel deprived of the foods they like. If they want a square of chocolate, or a slice of cake, that’s fine. My only ask is that they enjoy it. As with any piece of food that you eat, it should serve you. If it’s not feeding your health though nutrition, know why you’re eating it - how is it feeding your soul, or making you happy?
The scoop of ice-cream on a family day out should never signal the end of a period of healthy eating, or feel like a failure. It’s simply part of an overall healthier, more balanced approach to your food. It's the conscious knowledge that, overall, you're eating in a way that is consistent with better health. Whether you think of it as counting nutrients rather than calories or just learning to tune into your body's signals and trusting your judgement, it's an empowering place to be!
Find out more about The 80:20 Club here.