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Strategic Plan For Change: 80/20 Rule Rules!

In a recent post, I discussed how patients who consult me for things such as backache, often require changes to lifestyle a well. A good starting point is on level of food consumption. And what I recommend is making small but important changes that don’t radically alter ones’ lifestyle. Changing too many things at once is not likely to succeed.

When recommending dietary changes either to loose weight or improve health, the first step is to help people realize that the ‘Good Food’ they thought they were eating may not be good after all.

Then we discuss the issue of eating Organic Food and why this is the best overall choice. The next step, is to help people get started using only certain types organic food as not all types of organic food are desirable nor readily available.

Organic dairy products are a good place to start because they are widely available. Meats are next in line, then grains, beans, lentils, pasta etc., with fresh produce being the last. This is because quality organic produce is generally harder to find on an ongoing basis than other things and requires some research.*

So after accepting that change is in order and that a logical place to start is with food, the next thing required is a strategy for success. How do we change years of ingrained behaviors around something so central like food preferences?

As I’ve often mentioned, eating ‘Organic’ is a baseline or starting point for change but within this domain, being selective is also important not just what we choose but also being ‘Calorie Wise’ is important.

So what’s the answer? The answer is to be a bit lenient with ones self. While it’s true that changing ones eating habits requires will power and commitment, one also needs to let loose at times. Here’s where the 80/20 rule comes in. 80 percent of the time we really need to be doing all the things that are correct and 20 percent of the time we can cheat a little.

So for example, don’t eat deserts during the week but give yourself that treat on Saturday or Sunday. Which means eating only one desert not the six you didn’t have all week long, tough, but doable. By the way, the 80/20 rule does not apply to things like smoking, which is an addiction and is too harmful even 20% of the time. Only you can decide what constitutes that 20% and when you are contravening it. So be honest, cut yourself some slack and enjoy cheating a bit.

* Sourcing Affordable Organic Food: Savvy Organic Shopper’s Guide

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