Confession: My diet is not perfect. This may come as a shock to some of you. I spend a significant portion of my time and energy encouraging people to eat clean, whole foods, yet every now and again I indulge in something that wouldn’t fall into that category. For pretty good reasons, I think you should too.
Most of us clean up our diets (and start exercising) in order to live a healthier lifestyle. Good nutrition and fitness are tools that when used together, help us achieve a higher plane of living. Living life fully means that we will find ourselves in front of some pretty damn delicious foods from time to time. Wouldn’t it be nice to truly enjoy them?
When we fixate on perfection, we set ourselves up for failure. No one can be perfect 100% of the time. It’s mentally exhausting and decidedly NOT fun! John Berardi, a leader in fitness nutrition, makes the argument that the difference between 90% and 100% adherence to clean eating is minimal. The mental benefits of a 10% break far outweigh the consequences of an indulgence from time to time.
So, how does this work in your life? Most of us eat 4-5 small meals a day. If you’re me, that’s pretty consistently 4 meals. That’s 28 opportunities each week to eat perfectly clean. This would give me about 3 meals to go “off plan”. What are some examples of off plan? I might have a drink with dinner, go out to eat where they probably use some less than ideal oils to cook my food, or I might even eat dessert. Oh, the horror! Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees. In the grand scheme of things, these indulgences won’t knock me off track from reaching my goals. This is as long as those other 25 meals consist of good, clean, whole foods. Some weeks, you may not even have a need for an “off meal”. The point is that you give yourself the flexibility to make those decisions.
As your coach, I am interested in your long-term development as athletes and your lifelong pursuit of optimal health. I am not interested in seeing you devote yourself to something so hard that you eventually give up and go back to your old ways. Consistency is the key to success. A treat, when used accordingly, helps keep you on track. The greatest perfection is imperfection.
See you in the gym!