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Chill out…have an ice cream…then get back to your vegetables

It’s summer, hoorah! The sun is shining and I hope you are enjoying the holidays.

Mother Nature’s Diet incorporates Core Principle 12 – the 90/10 Rule.

In rough terms, this means ‘get it right 90% of the time, and chill out over the last 10 percent’.

This doesn’t mean ‘take a cheat day’ or ‘eat well Monday round to Friday lunchtime, then blow it all over the weekend. It means 90% of the calories you consume should work within Core Principles 1-to-11, and then you can relax over the last tenth.

I’ve been away on holiday with my family last week. One particular day, we went for a seven mile walk along cliff tops in the sunshine, we had fresh air, exercise and sunshine, and we picked and ate fresh blackberries along the way. Getting teenage kids to put their iPads down and go for a walk is always a challenge, so several hours out in nature counts as a major win in my book!

It’s been a hot sunny day, and when we finished our walk, the kids wanted an ice cream. There is a quality boutique ice cream parlour just about a mile from where we finished our walk, and it was on our way back, so we stopped by on the way.

I had an ice cream too. It’s summer, it’s a lovely day, I enjoyed my little ‘off-plan treat’ without a hint of guilt.

It got me to thinking, when I eat an ice cream or a soft warm bread roll, or some chocolate, people freak out. I get “Oh but you’re the MND guy!!” and “I thought you were Mr Perfect-Diet and never ate naughty things!?” and all that sort of thing.

But the thing is, the only good healthy diet is the healthy diet you stick to. So if for me, personally, I follow the 97/03 rule…and I “get it right, bang on” about 97% of the time, and I eat “off plan” for about 3% of the time, well if that works for me, and the end result is that I am healthy, happy with my bodyweight, bodyfat level and how I look and feel, then that is the perfect diet for me.

And if someone else follows Mother Nature’s Diet (MND) and they eat a 90/10 version, well if that is right for them, and they stick to it for the long term, and they are happy with the results, then that’s the right diet for that person. And if a third person follows MND and eats a 75/25 version, well if that gets that person the results they want, and they are happy, and the lifestyle for them is enjoyable and sustainable, then that is the right diet for that person.

I guess I would not have written this five or six years ago, maybe I preached a slightly more ‘hardcore’ line back then, but I have definitely learned over time that the best healthy diet for anyone is the healthy diet they stick to. Consistency and sustainability are key success factors in any diet. Those crazy fad diets we have all tried do not get lasting results, most of the time, because they are not sustainable in the long term.

Living on 700 calories per day eating juiced cabbage five times daily may help someone lose twenty-five-pounds-in-one-month, maybe for a couple of months, but eventually that person drops off the diet, through feeling ill, feeling deprived, feeling exhausted or maybe just plain fed up of the ghastly regime. As soon as they return to the old behaviour, the weight starts going back on again.

And so it is, the fad diet cycle.

Mother Nature’s Diet is a common-sense healthy diet and lifestyle; it’s simple, easy to follow, enjoyable and easy to stick to. I recommend the 90/10 Rule as a guideline for most people, but in reality, there is flexibility. I get emails from people saying they live a 95/05 version of MND and they love it, and I also get emails from people saying they follow MND about 80/20, or 70/30, and they are happy with the results. I get some people tell me they follow MND about 50/50, but they tell me it’s still a vast improvement on their old diet and lifestyle, they fell better for it, they’ve lost weight and they are happy.

So last week, I was ‘flexing my 3%’ for me personally. I enjoyed an ice cream in the sunshine with my kids (and my faithful dog finished the last bit of it for me) and I didn’t feel guilty for it or worry that I was breaking the rules. The rules are flexible, to get you on a healthy track.

The goal is progress, not perfection.

Enjoy your summer!

To your good health!

Karl

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