Hello darlings, I’m back again with another Fitness Friday but this week I’m going to talk to you a bit about my health eating rather than my workout routines. I’m sure if you’re on a journey like myself, or have been on one before, you have heard some sort of line about weight loss being more about what you put into your body than what you do with it. I think the guru in all of us have probably said that old “80% diet, 20% exercise” line one way or another. With this in mind, I decided to see what more I could find out about the 80/20 rule. This idea came to me two weeks ago after I made it a whole 8 days of completely clean eating: no cheats, no overeating, just good food and good portion control.
What’s more is I’m beginning to see some more changes in myself. My February selfie challenge has really been letting me see those changes both in my face and in my body as a whole. I’m feeling better, I’m looking better, and I’m starting to gain some confidence again. There’s a long road ahead of me but at least I’m still moving in the right direction.
Now, onto this whole healthy eating thing.
As always, I am in no way a healthcare professional so my knowledge and advice comes from the material I seek out and read (which can have its own biases) and my personal experience of what has and has not worked for me. My sources are far from academic so you have to really be critical with them. Remember: health and fitness is different for everyone. That being said, I do want to share what I find with the hope it will work for others just like it is working for me.
In order to investigate the whole 80/20 rule I did a simple google search to see what came up. The first thing that I noticed is that the percentages aren’t easily agreed on throughout the literature but most seem to agree that the ratio is somewhere between 70-80 / 30 – 20 which isn’t too drastic. Personally, I can’t see me measuring out the calories cut from my diet to compare them to the calories burnt in my exercise anyway so the ratio doesn’t matter too much to me.
“The reason dieting is so much more effective than exercise is because it takes a ton of activity to create a 500 to 700 calorie deficit through working out.” – Women’s Health
I know from my last journey that busting your ass in the gym is not going to guarantee a drop in the scale. I would go to the gym 6 days a week and not see numbers drop the way I wanted them to. Of course this can be attributed to a number of reasons but for me it had a lot to do with the fact that I still wasn’t eating healthy enough. I just simply couldn’t burn off more calories than I was consuming. Food is an incredibly important part of losing weight and being healthy: if you keep shovelling crap into your body it won’t matter how many squats you do or how many miles you run, you’re still not going to feel better.
The Huffington post article talks about a meta-analysis that looks at over 700 articles showing that overall people tend to see bigger results in weight loss when eating smart rather than just exercising well, at least short term. This emphasis on short term really got me thinking about how I’ve dieted in the past and how I would stick to healthy eating for a while, shed some pounds and then get back off track again. I think it really shows how drastic diet changes help you lose weight but they don’t necessarily help you maintain your weight loss. This is where the balance of physical activity and healthy eating becomes really important. I believe making fitness and activity part of your routine makes it easier to stay on track and to make this all a lifestyle change rather than just a short term diet.
Fitness Blender’s Kelli and Daniel had a more critical view on the 80/20 role because of the way it minimizes exercise. I think it’s important to acknowledge the bias here, these two are fitness gurus who are making money off of home workout videos (yes their individual videos are free but their programs are not, and they’re still bound to be seeing money coming in from Youtube). That being said, I think they make a great point about how the 80/20 rule kind of lets you slack off of exercise if you choose to believe in it too much. Exercise is still important! I know I will never have the body I want if I don’t tighten up and tone up in addition to losing the weight.
I think the moral of this story is to have a good balance, regardless of whether it’s 80/20 or 70/30 or something else altogether. You’re not going to reach your goals by killing yourself at the gym for 2 hours a day but you’re also not going to get there by sitting on your couch eating nothing carrot sticks. Balance is key and aiming to change your lifestyle in a more permanent way is going to help you achieve your goals and stick with it. My emphasis is definitely on my meal prepping and eating better but workouts are still a part of my daily routine. By trying to integrate both into my life I’ve been seeing changes and this time I’m really hoping to make them stick. Besides, I’ve found ways to make healthy eating fun and that has made a big difference.
This brings me back to my latest accomplishment. I am someone who loves food: doesn’t really matter if it’s McDonalds or some fancy restaurant in the city, I just love eating. You’ve probably been able to figure this out from my mix of Tasty Tuesday posts over the past few months. Now, I know myself well enough to know that I will never be someone who eats kale at every meal or who cuts out fast food completely but I have now proven to myself that I have the willpower and drive to control how much of the bad stuff I put in my body. I made a plan, I stuck to it, and it has shown me that I just have to keep going. I made it 8 days without anything horrible going into my body and while that might not seem like that long to some, it was an eternity for me.
Overall, I’m still sticking with my one cheat meal a week rule because food and going out to eat is one of my joys in life and I’m not going to make myself miserable to fit into a smaller pair of jeans. Besides, I’m already beginning to fit into some of my old, smaller jeans already! It’s all about those little accomplishments!
How are things going for you? Any big accomplishments this week? I’m kind of hoping to build a bit of a community on here of people going through their own journeys so I’m looking new blogs to follow and interact with, drop me a link in the comments!