Ever heard of the Pareto Principle?
It’s a cause and effect theory first discovered by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1896. It states that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. Pareto stumbled onto this theory in his garden, noticing that 20% of his pea pods contained 80% of the peas.
What does this have to do with health and nutrition?
What we do when it comes to what we eat and how we move our body can definitely affect our health.
I’d like to suggest that the Pareto Principle is FLIPPED when it comes to health and nutrition.
If we eat “well” 80% of the time and indulge 20% of the time, our bodies adapt and we shouldn’t suffer too many ill effects of those indulgences. Although the 20% DOES count for a lot, the consistency of the 80% keeps us on the healthy path.
If we exercise 80% of our days and rest 20% of the time, we should be able to maintain a strong, healthy body. Taking some rest days will not diminish our strength, power, or endurance gains. In fact, research has shown that rest days actually ENHANCE our training gains.
If 80% of the time we get a decent night’s sleep, and 20% of the time we stay up late Netflix binging, our bodies will recover. Yes, it’s best to stay on a consistent sleep schedule, but life is fun and sometimes the fun doesn’t start until the kids are tucked away for the night.
You get what I’m saying?
So last weekend was Father’s Day, and the only thing my husband James wanted was homemade cinnamon rolls. Not the healthy kind I’m inclined to make (gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free). No. The delicious kind (gluten-full, sugar-full, and ooey-
Here’s a picture of the finished product. Don’t they look fabulous?
Now here’s what I really want to talk about—THE GUILT.
How many of you would indulge in this delicious treat and then beat yourself up for it the rest of the day? The reality for many people I work with is that they feel “bad” or “weak” when they partake of delicious, unhealthy treats. It doesn't need to be that way.
Here’s the thing—If you eat clean, nutritious, healthy food 80% of the time it is okay to take a bite (or 20 as I did) of something not-so-healthy and “get away with it.”
No guilt. No despair. No, you didn’t ruin your diet. You didn’t undo what you’ve been working so hard for.
You gotta live a little, right?
You just can’t eat like that all the time. Father’s Day comes once a year, so the cinnamon-y and cream cheese-y goodness is okay once a year. (We actually do cinnamon rolls Christmas morning, so that’s twice a year). Once or twice a year won't kill you. It won't even effect you much at all. It's the daily "treats" that are our downfall.
We need to plan out our indulgences so we can make sure that 80% of the time we are making good choices. Birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries can be calendared in advance. Work parties, neighborhood BBQs, and other social events usually give a bit of notice, too.
Plan for them.
Calendar your activities so you can make sure you’re eating and exercising 80% of the time. Then relax and enjoy the other 20%. It’s simple.
The flip side of the Pareto Principle—the 80/20 rule—making sure you’re healthy AND happy for a long, long time. Even if you're a health nut like me.
****Oh, and before I go, I thought you might like the homemade cinnamon roll recipe.
Yours in indulgence,