I’ve found that the ratio of 80% is the most ideal for me. When roughly 70%-80% of my food intake is whole food / paleo / ketogenic style, I feel great and have a lot of energy. And most importantly, I can have junk food nibbles without feeling guilty about it because I’ve allowed myself 20% leeway.
Of course, if I don’t eat any junk food (unlikely!) then that 20% doesn’t matter at all, but it’s vital for me to have that buffer to avoid feelings of guilt or failure if I slip from my high chair of good intention and have an ice cream or chocolate bar because I feel like it.
Figuring this balance out came after years of trying to adjust my eating to be healthier and more sustainable, but I only managed to figure it out once I started exercising regularly. Once my muscles started to grow, I could better hear their opinions on what they did – and did not – need.
In the past I found myself trying to go 100% on different eating styles and I eventually realised that it was becoming ridiculous because my weight was bouncing up and down from the guilt relapses. You know the ones – the ‘I started my diet but then the cravings got too much so then I ate a load of junk food and now feel like crap and am beating myself up for failing so I’m going to console myself by eating even MORE crap.’ And continue and repeat.
So I decided to be gentler and stop mentally whipping myself for simply being fallible and human. First, I cut out the food that would make the biggest difference to my taste buds – oil & fried foods. This always allows my taste to reset. AND it allows my body to feel clean and able for my workouts.
Then I introduced more whole foods that I like – fruits, broccoli, mixed grain rice, avocado – and told myself that I could eat as much of that as I liked. That felt comfortable, has been yielding results and now it’s simply a matter of very slowly replacing a little of the carbs with slightly more vegetables.
Fortunately I do love these foods and am able to eat the same things quite regularly, which makes it easier. But I find that it also works for me to aim to eat quite healthily and simply when I’m on my own, so that I can eat whatever I like when I’m out with friends.
I say this, but find that eating too far off my regular eating style now often gives me a stomach ache. Which is not ideal, but from my body’s point of view it’s quite happy to reject foods that my mouth thinks are tasty but don’t have much nutrition value.
Also, I found that eating healthier brought my food bills right down. Not immediately, but once I started hitting about 50% whole foods, my body simply needed less food and I was able to eat about half as much as before, but be more satisfied.
So overall, that’s kindof all awesome. But only because I’ve done it slowly. Anytime I’ve tried to do it fast, it’s been a very disheartening, frustrating and just downright depressing failure. It really had a negative impact on me mentally, which I didn’t like.
Now that I’m able to accept this balance and aim for roughly 80%, I find myself feeling better and stronger as I increase my crossfit sessions – my body is getting the protein and fat that it needs to burn, and isn’t having to spend its time dealing with the oil / wheat / crap that it used to.
But even if I do eat crap, which I absolutely do, I don’t beat myself up about it, because heck, it’s life and nobody’s perfect.
I just make sure I show up to crossfit the next day regardless of what I’ve eaten the day before. No excuses, just show up and survive. And during that workout I always wish I hadn’t eaten that crap, but I push through and finish anyways!
I also noticed that my excess body fat is drifting off, though my weight on the scales stays roughly the same, with a very slow decrease. And that’s my experience so far.
I’m sure you’ll see the photos on instagram and be able to judge whether this gentle diet-blending + fitness idea is a concept that might work for you.
Ketogenic-Paleo-whole foods works for me, but that’s what my muscles find the most satisfying. I do well with rice and potatoes and a lot of salmon, but that’s not the case for everyone. Most important is finding what works for our own body.
Personally I suspect it’s first about finding what whole foods we like best and crave the most, and then eating more of them until our body starts pointing us towards the next step. Let us know in the comments if you have encouraging tips or experiences to share with others!
I’m off to eat my meal now… 1/4 WATERMELON!!! I love it…
Fabulously eccentric TV host, curvaceous model and founder of Hong Kong ’s first luxury corset brand, Pearls & Arsenic. I love sharing my passion for all things elegant and live with my Dearest Beloved and a fluffy Angora rabbit named Lord Pemberly III, who is a ridiculous snob. Find me on IG @RavenTao or FB : Raven Tao
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