What……I Can Cheat??
As most of you would know by now, last week I published my second book, It’s Never Too Late To Be Healthy – Reaching Peak Health In Middle Age. We have had amazing uptake on the book so far and for those that have not ordered your copy, you can order on Amazon following the link below(or simply search on Amazon), Its Never Too Late To Be Healthy.
I also wanted to thank so many of you for your comments, emails, text message and calls congratulating me on the new book as it has been a long work in progress. I am so happy to now get it out to the world so that I can in some small way help people lead happier, healthier, longer and more energetic lives.
I not only want you to cheat, it is a key success factor
When I explain as part of my workshops and podcasts that cheating is not only allowed but encouraged, I typically get some quizzical faces. Last week I talked to a group of executives across the country about this concept and I could see a sigh of relief and encouragement on everyone’s faces.
I believe the reason people like my philosophy, is that as we all know, the majority of diets don’t work. The reason they don’t work is that they have an “all or nothing mentality”. Most diets call for restriction in what we consume -100% of the time. Most of us under this type of program feel super restricted and as if we are missing out on all those “treats” we wish we could have every day. Then when we do “fall off” these restrictive diets, we feel we have “failed” and that is when over 90% of the time people quit and throw in the towel. Our program is the opposite, we want and encourage everyone to cheat!
The Anti Restriction Diet
As part of our program, we not only want you to cheat, we encourage it (although not more than 20% of the time). Think of when you were growing up and back in school. I don’t know about you but if I received grades in school that were 80% or better, I felt like a winner and felt like I had done a great job. The same holds true for our program. Be good, follow the healthy eating program 80% of the time and that equates to a feeling of winning and success. And we all know that “success breads success”. We start feeling better, looking better, our energy increases then we want to do more to keep moving in that direction.
The 80% Rule In Action
To put this rule in action, think of the day ahead. What if today, if you consumed 10 servings of food, 8 of them or roughly 80% were healthy. This would be a successful day using my philosophy and you would come away thinking you were a winner. Or put another way, what if you consumed 100% healthy foods during the week(Monday to Friday) and then “cheated” on the weekends. This would fit into the 80% rule as you would be consuming healthy foods roughly 80% of the time. Once again, a winning strategy to overall health and weight loss.
Below is an Excerpt I have copied from my book – It’s Never Too Late To Be Healthy
EATING BY THE 80/20 RULE
This is another strategy I use to commit to eating well, as it allows me to enjoy life while still improving and paying attention to my health. Obviously, the ideal from a health standpoint would be to watch every single thing I eat 24/7. Living by the 80/20 Rule means that I try to eat and be healthy 80 percent of the time. It also al- lows me to enjoy life, enjoy good food, drink, and plunge my hand into a bag of chips once in a while. For me, this typically happens on weekends.
I know this is different from what you’ve read before. My health advice is not what you’d come across in most popular health or diet blogs. Everyone is busy espousing one way or type of eating.
Social media may insist that you maintain a cult-like devotion to whatever brand of health, eating, or fitness regime is the current flavour of the month. I say, toss that idea out the window along with the package of Twinkies you no longer need.
Just be certain you know what healthy eating is so that 80 per- cent counts! I realized that a few years ago when I thought I was eating healthily 80 percent of the time. However, since I’ve embarked on this path, I’ve learned that what I thought was good food for my body was, in fact, not that good at all. What I try to focus on now are minor improvements that add up over time. For example, a couple of years ago, I gave up dairy. The year before that, I started going to bed earlier so I could have a longer night’s sleep. I didn’t do bot in the same week. Or in the same month. Over the years, I’ve made many small changes that now add up to a much healthier lifestyle.
Over time, I’ve modified my diet and moved the needle in a better direction, so now I’m consuming healthy food 80 percent of the time rather than 50 percent of the time. So yes, the 80/20 Rule allows for flexibility, but you have to be loyal and committed to that 80 percent.
Studies have shown that the standard North American diet is comprised of 60 percent ultra-processed foods and only 5 to 10 percent plants, fruits and vegetables. In fact, flipping the statistics so that the large majority of what we eat are plants, vegetables and whole foods should be the norm, and would positively impact common health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancers. The only person keeping you from changing that typical diet is you. But you shouldn’t just suddenly go to a plant-based diet or even a primarily plant-based diet in a week. Do it in stages. Over time, you’ll come to think that highly processed food tastes like cardboard.
I think a reason people fail to reach their health goals is that if they get off track, they figure they’ve blown it, so they revert to old habits. It really is okay to ‘cheat’ once in a while if you make a healthy change for the majority of the time. After all, you’re doing 80 percent better than you were before. Trust me. I’m living proof. For instance, if I say I’m going to cut out dairy as a health goal, I work pretty diligently to make that happen. But occasionally I’ll have some cheese or an egg, and I am okay with that—I’ve already cut out dairy 80 percent of the time. The ultimate point here is to forgive yourself for getting off track once in a while. Think of it this way: getting off track is actually part of the plan.
One of my goals, a few years back, was to cut down on my meat consumption and only consume meat once a week. This was part of my overall goal to ensure that 90 percent of the foods I consumed were plant-based and unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Were there weeks where I had meat or fish more than once a week? Of course! However, there were other weeks where I consumed zero meat or seafood. Prior to this commitment, I was eating meat every single day. The reality is that even if I ‘cheat’ every once in a while, I am still 80 percent better than before I committed to this change. Initially allowing myself to eliminate meat from my diet 80 percent of the time has now led to taking the meat out of my diet 100 percent of the time, and I actually cannot remember the last time I had any meat whatsoever.
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