dessertIt’s common knowledge that depriving yourself of all the treats, sweets and pleasures in life is not only unsustainable but can actually make you miserable.  Constantly counting calories and restricting yourself, based on an idea of perfect health, is just not realistic and can lead you to focus on all the things you shouldn’t be doing instead of finding a more positive balance.  However, incorporating special indulgences (yes, such as cake!) and allowing some freedom into a more natural lifestyle can inspire a truly happier, healthier you.

The essence of holistic health can be found the 80/20 rule – meaning committing to making conscious, healthy choices 80% of the time and leaving 20% for flexibility.  It is a universal rule and should apply to every aspect of your lifestyle (not only nutrition) otherwise you are missing the bigger picture.  Nobody’s perfect and although it’s a fabulous goal to lean towards the 100%, the 80 is what provides us with the harmony to stay sane and enjoy life.  And it’s easier than you may think to incorporate into everyday life.


Here are 5 great tips to help get you started living the 80/20:

  1.  With Food.  Approaching what, where and how you eat, with the rule in mind, will help you be more realistic about the choices you are making.  If you like sweets, indulge in them!  Just not too often.  If you like to eat out, please do so!  Just not everyday.   If it’s homemade bread you love, then savor a slice with a little butter!  Just not at every meal.  Using the rule with food can simplify your healthy eating regimen and go a long way to help ease the guilt associated with indulging in the sweets and treats.

  2. With Exercise.  Commit your intention to exercising most of the time – everyday, if you can.  Where the rule comes in is when you want to take a day off.  You are only human, so let’s face it you will want a day off from time to time.  Take it.  Seriously.  It’s essential to allow yourself that 20%, without the guilt. 

  3. With Your Time.  Your time is precious and time management is a huge factor in staying conscious of your intentions.  Dedicate 80% of your day to your most important priorities, focusing on the ones that will help move you forward, in the direction of your goals.  If it’s easier, break the day up into morning, afternoon and evening and apply the rule to each section of the day.  It may seem like an annoying task at first but if you put some effort into this area it will help improve your life tremendously.

  4. With Your Mind.   Your thoughts determine how you feel and can actually become your reality.  Why not apply the 80/20 rule to that voice inside your head too?  Practice making your mind a positive place, the majority of the time.   Try this:  each time you notice 1 negative thought, try to replace it with 4 positive ones.  That’s it.  Simple.  Not only does this feel refreshing and calming in the moment but it also has a longer-term effect of boosting mood, confidence and outlook.

  5. With Your Life.  The truth is, perfection is unattainable and chasing it only leads you away from your goals, intentions and focus.  Instead, be conscious of what matters to you and rest into that, spending the majority of your time on what you value most.  The 20%, then, is for staying flexible and allowing the other variables and unknowns in life, to unfold.  Think of it as a tool, to view all the aspects of your life through and watch the huge improvement it will have on your overall health!