Experts seem to agree that if you follow good health practices 80% of the time, it’s OK to indulge or slack off the other 20%. This could be allowing yourself a treat that’s not on your diet or taking a day off from exercising once a week. (Just don’t pick something that’s outright bad for you, like eating something you’re allergic to.)
I’d like to extend that idea and suggest that when you dip into that 20%, you should consciously choose your “cheat” to feed your soul — and be sure to approach it with the right mindset.
Here’s an example of what I mean.
Say you’re regularly eating organic produce and avoiding refined foods, but you crave a hot fudge sundae. Go ahead and splurge! But don’t do it with shame, wolfing down your sundae in your car in a far corner of Friendly’s parking lot, wearing dark sunglasses so no one will see you eating it. If you’re going to splurge, do it right.
Go into the restaurant and be seated. Anticipate your treat with joy. Recall the happy memories associated with ice cream sundaes from your childhood. You do something good for your body 80-90% of the time; this you’re doing for your soul. When your sundae arrives, smile as you eat and savor every mouthful, letting it roll around on your tongue. Experience joy. Moan a little! Feel good about nourishing your inner child, not guilty for going off your strict eating plan.
Living a healthy lifestyle can be restrictive, and though it’s definitely worth it to feel good, occasionally you just may need to cut loose a tiny bit. So whether it’s staying up late on occasion to watch your favorite black & white classic on TV or eating a hot fudge sundae, make sure that if you do indulge in that 20% that you do it with maximum enjoyment and not self loathing. As long as you keep it under 20% it won’t kill you…and it may just lift your spirit.