First and foremost, I believe in the power of real food. Hence the blog name ;)
I believe whole-heartedly in the 80/20 rule. The concept that you eat healthy 80% of the time and unhealthy the other 20% of the time. But I have my own Courtney-fied take on it. The real food 80/20, if you will.
As a woman growing up with the pressures of maintaining the “ideal body” I, like most women, have felt pressure to keep my weight in check. Some of this I will blame on societal pressures and a lot of it I will blame on the pure fact that I like my body to be a certain shape. When I was younger and attempting to diet, I was never successful with it, as most people aren’t, and I found myself wanting whatever food I couldn’t have. The diets always backfired because I would hit a breaking point after a few days and just clear out the pantry, essentially gorging on everything I had restricted myself from. There was a beauty in this though because it helped me realize something very valuable. If I allowed myself to have anything, suddenly there weren’t these “forbidden foods” hanging over me and I was able to eat like a normal person. Something beautiful happened, I started naturally gravitating towards healthier foods because they made me feel good.
Now, unfortunately we live in a day and age where a lot of our “food” simply put isn’t food anymore. We also have to worry about added growth hormones, pesticides, genetic material (GMOs) and antibiotics in our food. The middle supermarket aisles are bombarded with food-like products that are scientifically engineered with just the right amount of fat, artificial additives & sugar to excite your taste buds and make an addict out of you so you keep coming back for more. I don’t consider these food-like products actually edible, so for me, they are off the table. 80/20 or not I have decided I do not want to put fake food in my body. This is also why I eat organic food.
So when I say I have no forbidden foods, I am talking in the context of real foods here. If I want a cookie, I either make one at home or I buy one that is made from wholesome ingredients that I recognize as real food. I don’t deny myself of anything really, I simply make sure whatever it is I want is made with real food sans all the added junk. I'll eat pizza, I just won't order it from Domino's or Pizza Hut. I either make it at home or order from a place I know uses real food ingredients.
I don't deny myself from eating out with friends either. While I do eat a 100% organic diet at home, I allow myself flexibility to eat non-organic on occasion when out with friends because having a healthy social life is equally as important. Here's where the 80/20 really comes into play. If I ate my weight in chips & guac the night before, I will eat a salad the next day for lunch. It's a balancing act. I also don't count calories, but I am generally aware of how much food I am putting in my body.
I have found that balancing your diet like a bank account is the best approach. If you’re eating pasta, add veggies. If you eat horribly one day, eat healthier the next two days. Balance it out.
Essentially it really comes down to two sentences. I don't believe in diets. I believe in real food.