By: Gabriella Nowicki
Health: a word normally associated with eating fruits and veggies, combined with working out day and night. No carbs, no candy, no relaxation. Being “healthy” and “fit” is associated with diets, working out like crazy, and living a strict life. This could not be farther from the truth.
I am a nutrition/dietetics major and my mom is a fitness instructor, so while growing up I had always been intrigued by health and all its benefits. Granted, I have a major sweet tooth, and as I grew older and learned more about health, I discovered that the majority of people believe health to be a challenge and another job—but it does not have to be!
Introducing the 80/20 rule. It is a magical rule that allows for flexible eating…a realistic “diet”…a healthy “diet.” The 80/20 rule is based off moderation (my own mantra is “everything in moderation”), something that many of us forget when trying to become healthier. Basically, the rule states that 80 percent of your diet should be healthy—whole foods, fruits, vegetables, and protein. The other 20 percent includes your “guilty pleasures;” a.k.a. chocolate, cake, cheese, pasta, alcohol…the list goes on.
Anyway, this percent of your diet is what is considered “discretionary calories.” These are the calories that you can afford to eat because you will burn them off based on your regular metabolism. For example, if you intake 2,000 calories a day, 1,600 of those calories should be good, healthy foods and the other 400 calories are for your fat foods. I think that’s a pretty good deal; 400 calories is two Hershey chocolate bars!
Another thing to factor in is extra calories burned from working out. If you do a hard workout for 30 minutes, five times a week, your metabolism will rise and so will your need for more energy from calories. Now, this does not mean you can eat more Hershey chocolate bars but instead, more healthy food—which can taste amazing.
Working out can also be fun…most people find it to be a chore. Try Zumba with a group of friends to try out your dancing skills or kickboxing to get out all that built up anger.
My endgame for this is for you to understand that losing weight, toning up, “getting swoll,” or just being healthier is not always a drag. It is not supposed to be an awful experience but a journey to becoming a better you. You do not have to give up things you love. Eat that McDonalds (once a month), drink that beer (once a week), and eat a block of chocolate (once a day). Sleep for 12 hours, take naps, and watch TV; just stand up and stretch every once in a while. Eat pasta, but make it whole wheat, and drink your coffee black with a tablespoon of sugar. One cheat day per week is good! You won’t drive yourself crazy and are less likely to binge. Enjoy yourself! If you go through a tough breakup or fail a test, then eat some damn ice cream (the whole carton is not recommended)!
This “diet” is the most realistic and most beneficial. It will last. So, eat things in moderation, follow the 80/20 rule, get results, so you can be a healthier and happy you. Amen.