Life can be tough enough at times to have too many rules. After all, life is meant to be enjoyed. Who wants to live life like a game where we must constantly keep score and with numerous guidelines to follow? I certainly don’t.
The good news for those of you who are already healthy is that there is a general rule to follow when it comes to maintaining balance, but you can relax because it’s rather easy to achieve. I call it the 80-20 rule. If you’re dealing with a serious illness or desperately trying to lose weight however, this rule won’t apply to you since you’ll most likely have to be more disciplined in order to get well or lose those excess pounds.
If you’re looking to find a better balance in your wellness routine and if you are trying to keep up with healthy living and an organic lifestyle, following a positive regimen 80% of the time should be enough. The even better news is that the 20% remaining can be a HECK of a LOT of fun! But if you’re like me, you actually enjoy making smart choices, so the 80% can actually feel good too. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a delicious piece of rich cheesecake from time to time and so can you.
People often assume that I must be rigid and very disciplined to maintain my fit physique and while I do work consistently, I follow the 80-20 rule myself. Okay, well maybe mine is more like 90-10 but my goals are a little bit more aggressive than most.
So what does this rule look like? It means that 80% of the time you choose to eat organic foods, make healthy choices, reduce sugar, drink lots of water, take your supplements, meditate, get plenty of sleep, and exercise. The remaining time, do whatever you want. Eat some dessert, have a few drinks, enjoy those nachos, be lazy, and let yourself off the hook.
Remember that life is meant to be pleasurable. This is the reason that strict diets don’t work. People can only maintain rigid guidelines for a short period of time and they eventually give up because it’s just too difficult.
You now have my permission to thoroughly enjoy yourself, especially during the holidays but only with one condition; that you be gentle with yourself when you’re in that 20% and that you stop those negative and judgmental voices. Commit to giving yourself the love and support that you would offer your best friend and lastly, when you’re in that 20%, enjoy every decadent second of it!
Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness, and Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles.
He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, the 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger, and Feel Better!
If you’re like the majority of North Americans, you most likely gain weight during the holidays. Not everybody packs on the pounds during this time but it certainly isn’t uncommon for your weight to increase or for your favorite pair of jeans to feel just a bit tighter. Many people also notice less energy and vitality during this time mainly due to overindulging.
Too much celebrating and not enough discipline can definitely take its toll. While I am ALL for having a good time, especially during the holidays, there are some things to be more conscious of in order to lessen the negative effects of the season and to feel “merry and bright.”
- Refrain – I am certainly not here to lecture and trust me, I allow myself plenty of indulgences during the holidays. But this year why not pay closer attention to how much you’re eating and more importantly, why? Often we gorge ourselves without much thought because that is just what we do this time of year. We are bombarded with awesome desserts and goodies that we don’t normally see and so we feel somehow obliged to get our fill before they’re no longer around. Prior to taking that next bite of Nanaimo bar, buttery shortbread or Christmas cake, take a breath. Ask yourself do I really want this? Am I truly craving more? If the answer is yes then by all means, ENJOY! If you answer no, put it down. It’s really simple. Most of us tend to eat out of habit and not with our intuitive senses. By becoming more conscious, you’ll find yourself eating less and in turn, feeling better.
- Re-Hydrate – Most of us will drink more alcohol during the holidays but one of the best ways to slow things down is to make a decision to sip a soda or water between alcoholic beverages. This simple rule will give your system a break, fight dehydration, and will work on cleansing some of the alcohol from your system. You will probably also become aware that you don’t desire as much alcohol as you may have in the past. Also, try drinking more slowly and take time to thoroughly enjoy each sip.
- Routine – A lot of people tend to neglect their exercise routine during the holidays. This is actually the worst time of year to do that. Our bodies desperately need physical activity to offset holiday stress and to assist our bodies in detoxing from the extra sugar and alcohol. It’s okay to workout less and socialize more but don’t skip it completely or it will be that much harder to get back into it in the new year.
- Rest – Because most of us are consuming more sugar and alcohol it’s vital that we get more rest. The holidays are meant for you to relax and take a break from routine. So although you’ll still be doing regular workouts, make sure to allow extra nap-time as well, and give yourself permission to fully rest. The stress of the holidays can cause our cortisol to rise and in turn, may cause weight gain. Naps are similar to meditation in a way that they allow our body and mind to shut off leaving us feeling more centered.
- Re-Ignite – The end of the year offers you a wonderful opportunity to go inward and contemplate your next steps. A new year always represents fresh new dreams, ideas, and goals that we would like to accomplish in the next 12 months. When we overdo our eating, drinking, and stress levels, we diminish this amazing time to look deeper and to re-ignite our spirits. After a year of running around and busyness, you owe it to yourself to use the holidays for greater good and to ensure that the year ahead is your BEST YEAR EVER!
Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Coach living in Los Angeles. http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com
He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!