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Are you treating yourself too much? Finding yourself getting food out with friends not only on the weekends, have a lot of work meetings at the bar or restaurant, or traveling a lot and eating out more? Splurging on the fun paleo (or non-paleo) treats daily? Or sitting down to a glass of wine nightly?

At Proclivity, we are ALL about treating yourself. Yet there comes a point where it can become more detrimental than helpful. So how do we know when we cross that line? How do we quit playing a mental tennis match of “do I have the treat or not?”

First off, depends on your goals. Do you want to lose weight? Or am I experiencing unfavorable health symptoms (ie, poor energy, GI issues, cravings, joint pain, etc.)? If YES to those, then you likely want to be a bit more aware, and hone in on this next tip…

This is why the 80/20 rule was invented! To help us moderate. To help get us right back to the nourishing meals that fill our nutrient cup, while still treating ourselves when it makes sense. The goal is to stick to whole food/nourishing meals 80% of the time, and then some more nostalgic meals or treats for 20% of your total intake. (If you’re trying to lose weight, or have gut or autoimmune issues, you likely need it to be closer to 90/10 or even 100/0 for a period of time).

So this week, start with looking at how many meals you have (this should include snacks), and then find what 80% off that is. For example, if you eat on average 3 meals/day, then 17 meals out of 21 total meals for the week would be your 80%. Then as you go through the week, you treating yourself up to 4 meals is a good balance. You can look ahead into the week, do you have any special events you want to save those for? Or do you want to take them as they come and then start to moderate when you hit 3? What do you know works well for YOU?

Another approach would be to have 0-2 fun meals, then have a few treats like desserts or snacks about 2-5 times – depending on how extravagant your treat is in size. I prefer this perspective. For me, I rarely crave the “treat meals” anymore, yet do enjoy a smaller treat or some refined foods (such as Three Wishes cereal, paleo treat, or Smart Sweets) on the side sprinkled in throughout the week. 

I know for some people their treat is a glass of wine or cocktail, and that’s fine too! The important part is that you start looking at your days and weeks and even months as a whole. What am I doing the majority of the time? What do I truly WANT to be eating and drinking 80-90% of the time so I can reach my goals and feel better? What makes me feel my best? What kinds of foods, drinks and habits? Go ahead, take the time to think about it.

Annnnd then, when you do have those 20% foods, understand that when you have these, you will crave more of them. Wether that be when you are done eating them in the moment, or even the next day. Knowing that your brain is wired to want more of those can help you recognize when it’s happening, and then you can redirect yourself by having a plan in place for what to go to instead, or have moderation techniques like: having them portioned out, not in the house or easy access, or to try sipping some water and electrolytes when you have that feeling.

BONUS TIP: Sometimes we want the real deal treat, I get it – you don’t want to mess with mom’s recipe. Yet I bet you there are some things worth experimenting with to increase nutritional value. So try making some of your favorite “fun meals” or “treats” Paleo (or with less sugar) and see how you like them. Use google for this to find recipes to play with.  Increasing nutrients and decreasing sugar can help minimize blood sugar spikes (which reduce further cravings afterwards, as well as help keep weight off).

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