By: Dr. Francesca Vazquez
Wellness cannot be an "all or nothing" decision. Our mission at Ease to Wellness is to teach you how to adopt a healthier lifestyle without letting it take over, affect your mental health or feel like a big sacrifice or punishment. We understand, initially (when creating resolutions), you might be inclined to work-out every single day, give up french fries and pasta, stop baking or vow to never take part in Netflix marathons. However, we are here to say that's not very realistic or fun! A healthy life should never feel like a restriction.
The 80-20 rule is the foundation from which we built our brand. It's the best way to bring "ease to wellness", helping you adopt healthy habits and a wellness regime that will last.
So how does it work?
The 80-20 rule is not a diet but rather, a lifestyle. It implies choosing healthier options 80% of the time while leaving 20% up for indulgence. The 80-20 rule can apply to every aspect of your life, from the food you eat, to the clothes you wear to your home environment. For example, choosing to have your house perfectly organized and clean 100% of the time doesn't leave much space for authentic mess: the mess created by having friends over for dinner, the mess created by your "at-home" projects, the mess created by having a baby crawling and grabbing everything he/she can find, or the mess created by choosing not to make the bed on Sunday and spending the day in pajamas instead. Life is not meant to look like your Instagram feed 100% of the time... nor do you want it to!
The same way we can apply the 80-20 rule to our home environment, we can apply it to our fitness routines and eating habits. Choosing to completely eliminate ice cream or baked goods for life might work for the first week or so but will soon start to feel like a restrain or sacrifice. However, ordering a decadent chocolate cake for dessert 20% of the times you eat out, will feel good and is actually a necessity when trying to live how you want to live, without letting food become a self-medicating form of relief.
If you've just started to adopt a healthier life and want more guidance on how to apply the 80-20 rule, here are 4 tips and advice:
1. Choose what works for you
We are all different. Our lifestyles, jobs, preferences vary. This means that what might work for you, may not work for the person next to you. If you do not like quinoa, don't eat it. If you loathe running, don't do it. Choose to cook the healthy foods that you love and adopt an exercise routine that makes you happy. If you haven't found it yet, don't be afraid to explore and try new things. Join that barre class, try spinning, join a runners club, switch yoga studios. Learn about the impact these workouts and foods have on your brain, body, organs. Learn about how de-cluttering influences your mental clarity. Choose what works for you and brings out the best in you, without compromising fun and messy days.
2. Start with one habit at a time
Instead of choosing to increase the amount of times you workout each week, eliminate sugar, decrease meat consumption, meditate, take up yoga, and sleep 8+ hours a night all at once, commit to one at a time. Many times, we become overwhelmed because the decisions we make are too extreme. Adopting a new routine or habit is easier said than done. However, chances are that if you focus your energy on introducing 1-2 habits at a time, your chances of succeeding will increase.
3. Toss the term "cheat days"
The word "cheat" makes it seem as if you're doing something wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating something unhealthy, sleeping 5 hours one night because of a late night out with friends, skipping your workout, or having way too many martinis. As long as it is not an everyday thing, you are allowed (in fact, you are encouraged) to live as you please. When we use terms such as "cheat day", we create a negative association and feel guilty. The 80-20 rule makes space for indulgence. Cut yourself some slack and let go of guilt by changing the narrative you are repeating to yourself on a daily basis.
4. Create a "buddy system"
When trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, having support is key. Teaming up with your bestfriend, partner or a family member might make the transition easier and more enjoyable. By collaborating with friends or family and creating a supportive network, your chances of succeeding are higher. For even greater benefits, create a journal where you are able to keep track of your progress, then discuss it with your "buddy" a few times a week.
Healthy living and making cleaner, smarter decisions (while indulging here and there) has immense psychological and physical benefits. The 80-20 rule is a doable way of life that only becomes easier and more satisfying with time. Best news is, you can apply this rule with any habit, routine, and/or change you are trying to implement in your life! It's surely the easiest way to make a transition stick, long term!
Photo Source: Passionately Raw