Perfection usually isn't the name of the game when it comes to your work and home life so why do so many people think they have to be flawless in their quest to lose weight and get healthier?
This "diet perfection" trap is more serious than people think. When you set the bar so high, you keep disappointing yourself and may even feel like a failure. Feeling like a failure may remind you of past failures and before you know it, you've hopped onto that weight re-gain train.
It's important to take control and combat this problem. We talk a lot about The 80/20 Rule. If 80% of the time, you're making healthy lifestyle choices, then it's okay if 20% of the time, you're making less healthful choices.
This is easier to follow than you think. Here are some ways The 80/20 Rule can help you stick to your diet so you start tasting success.
1. Be a B student. B students are more successful losing weight and keeping it off because they give themselves permission not to be perfect. In contrast, A students never let their guard down – without exception! Trying to maintain a high level of performance 100% of the time is exhausting and difficult to maintain with all the ups and downs that life can bring. Instead, go for the 80% end goal – know you can also be a winner with the silver or bronze medal!
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2. Smile at your food log. The slogan should be: If you bite it, you write it. But does that mean that 100% of the time, every bite, nibble and sip has to be perfection? No! Actually, you know you've succeeded when you're able to enjoy a moderate portion of a dessert or favorite food without feeling like you've cheated. So many times people are surprised when they see a "healthy" person enjoying a dessert or other food they label as "bad". They soon learn that following The 80/20 Rule makes healthy eating a lot more fun.
3. Be a thoughtful "Monday morning quarterback." Weekends should be a time to kick back and enjoy... not a time for feeling guilty. As you learn more about the strategies that will help you navigate restaurant eating, celebrations and even happy hours, you will learn about the simple things you can do to stay in control. If plans don't go as expected, spend Monday morning being thoughtful and problem solving rather than self-critical. A positive attitude is needed to help you re-focus for the week ahead.
4. Drop the all-or-nothing mindset. Too busy to get to the health club for your regular workout? Don't be content relaxing on the couch. Didn't have time to bring a healthy lunch to work? Don't "blow it" on a high-calorie, high-fat, fast food meal. You can stay on program by focusing on moderate activity and moderate food choices. Take a few brisk walks outside on those non-health club days or practice making lower calorie and smart healthy fast food choices when needed to show yourself that moderation does work to help you lose weight and get healthier.