If you’ve been working hard to create healthy new nutrition habits that will support long term weight loss and maintenance then it seem counter-intuitive to suggest you should break the rules.
By following the 5 Habits, you’re creating a simple system for healthy eating that you can follow for the rest of your life. No counting calories, no gimmicks, no endless lists of pricey supplements. While you’re building these healthy habits, what you’re actually doing is building consistency.
Why Consistency is Key
The habit of consistently making smart food choices will not only fuel your body for a busy day, but you should also enjoy eating them because they taste good! Heathy eating doesn’t need to be bland! There are plenty of ways to turn plain ol’ chicken breasts or broccoli into something super satisfying.
When you find new and unique ways (which doesn’t need to mean complicated or time-consuming) to prepare healthy foods, you’ll find it way easier to eat nutritious food consistently.
Consistency will keep you moving towards your goals of weight loss, improved body composition or weight maintenance. Work hard at creating consistency and you’ll see results. It’s pretty simple but of course we often overestimate how consistent we actually are when it comes to our eating habits.
We shouldn’t expect to eat ‘perfectly’ all the time. In fact, you should break the rules sometimes! If you eat following the 5 Habits 90% of the time (which is great consistency), you can break the rules 10% of the time and still be making progress. Then you don’t need to guilt yourself when you’ve eaten that a slice of cake at the birthday party for your 90 year old grandma. You won’t have to moralize the food choice when you enjoy fresh cut fries at a favourite restaurant. And you can certainly indulge when your significant other brings out a slice of homemade cheesecake that’s to die for. Rules are meant to be broken and your eating habits are no exception!
Use this handy Adherence Chart for a week and see how you do. You can calculate the percentage of compliant meals (meals based around the 5 Habits) dividing the number of compliant meals by the total number of meals. This will give you an accurate picture of how many healthy meals you’re eating vs. how often you’re breaking the rules. Find a PDF version on the resources page that you can print off.
It’s OK to Break the Rules
Don’t get too hung up on breaking rules, just know that if you break them often enough you’ll slow or halt your make progress. If you’re breaking them all the time, you may not be eating a very healthy diet and it’s time to go back and review the 5 Habits and work on consistently using them.