Posted by: mommyinmotion | November 4, 2009

The 80/20 rule

I’ve been meaning to post about this for a little while now, and now seems like a really good time. Massive amounts of Halloween candy in the house means that my eating has been less than stellar lately. Sian and Fiona haven’t been eating too well, either. It was time to pull out a favorite book.

After reading The Berenstain Bears, I was able to open up a discussion with the kids about moderation, healthy eating, and the time and place for junk food. I didn’t call it the 80/20 rule with them, but I think they got the drift anyway.

If you are stressed out about preparing healthy meals every day, use what some experts call the “80/20” rule in your eating. If 80 percent of what you eat is healthy, then allow yourself to take it a little easier for the remaining 20 percent. You and your diet will survive.

I think that they really did get it, though, and it was a nice reminder for me too. We talked about the choices we can make with what we eat and drink- and the two of them kept trying to out-do each other bragging about the healthy foods they chose! (“I had juice at lunch” “I ate green beans!“)

Once story time was over, I let the kids color a little bit while I tried to pick up the house some. Sian came and showed me what he had made- he was very proud of his chart. There were several rows of boxes and the words “Healthy” and “Junk” at the top. Apparently, his plan is to put check marks in the boxes for each choice he makes, and then see if he is eating more healthy foods, or more junk foods. I think it’s a wonderful idea!

We decided to take it a step further, and make a small food journal for each of us. I haven’t been journaling lately, and I needed the reminder to begin again, especially since I am going out of town tomorrow and I know the temptation to eat poorly is going to be very strong. I don’t think Sian and Fiona need to worry over calories and fat grams right now, but I think keeping their journals for a day is going to be a good visual reminder for them that we have to be careful what we eat so we fuel our bodies with the right foods. Also, I think it will help them learn that a little bit of junk food, every now and then and in moderation, is ok.

I’m hoping to start incorporating this 80/20 concept into my everyday life a little more. Not just with diet (although I need to right now!) but with exercise, housework, and general life stressors. For example, after the kids went to bed tonight, I sank into the couch and decided to watch some TV. I felt lazy at first, my instinct was to get up and pull out the step or something! But I reminded myself that I did workout already today. I ran after work, and improved my distance by a quarter mile. That’s nothing to scoff at after four days off! The last thing I needed to do tonight was an hour of step- my legs and feet deserved a little rest. And so did I. I think as long as I can keep myself from relaxing too much, this is going to work.

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