One of the biggest things I am asked through emails, in person or on tumblr is what I eat and “do I eat carbs“. I would never tell someone to eliminate an entire food group and here’s why.

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I’ve eaten the same way I am now for at least seven/eight years. I usually apply the 80/20 rule as I love to eat healthy and I hate to deprive myself of delicious treats. There is nothing worse than going out for dinner with someone who says “oh, I am not eating that at the moment, I am trying to be good“. I know, and that person knows that they’re going to go home, cry into their extra large packet of potato chips and wash it down with a soda bigger than their head because they’ve deprived themselves too long and their cravings are out of control. Depriving myself has never been the way I do things. It’s such a silly way to live your life. If I want to eat something, I will eat it, but I’ll ensure that the other 80% is spot on.

Each food group has a vital nutrient that your body needs and in my opinion every food group is plain delicious. I feel like hitting my head against a brick wall for every person who tell me “they’re not eating carbs”. Carbs aren’t your problem, it’s the amount you’re consuming. I still eat pizza, biscuits, burgers—but I also eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, legumes. It’s all about balance. I believe that “unhealthy” foods should still be consumed in your overall diet – you just need to be educated a little more about what your body needs, how much your body needs, portion control and lastly, self control.

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For me, eating good food is a large part of my life. I love going out for lunch and dinners, I love cooking and I love when people cook for me. I just want “all the food”.

I like to stick to basics when it comes to shopping – fruit, vegetables, oats, bread, some rice, meat. I also love dark chocolate, cookies and those damn tasty sour worms. They’re my treat. I never make myself feel guilty for consuming sugar, but the websites out there which host a range of “raw, sugar free” recipes sometimes get to me. I often wonder if I should try to be better with my “treats” and try and cut out refined sugar, because everything I read makes it seem like if I consume just one more lolly I am going to die.

At the moment there’s so much more attention paid to healthy eating (which is fantastic), but at the same time I feel there is too many Instagram profiles forcing people into what I like to call “trend eating”. There are so many in the moment foods which social influencer’s have deemed cool right now. I can’t walk down an isle at Coles without quinoa being an ingredient in something. I had a little chuckle last week when I saw “quinoa / chia milk” and the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen “quinoa vodka“. For the record, just because there is a bandwagon, it doesn’t mean everyone or every brand needs to jump on it. I like to keep up with new items, but I tend to sick with the ones which I can’t get enough of and don’t require a small personal loan to be able to keep in my cupboard each week. For me; I love coconut milk, it’s what I drink in smoothies and what I add to my morning porridge. Other fads we’ve all seen in the past; yes I am referring to it again, sorry – cutting out carbs.

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I think that we just need to simplify eating and realise that all you need to do to be healthy is maintain a balanced, nourishing diet. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not following the current fad, eating 50,000 bananas a day or buying things from health food shops. Just make sure you’re eating a balanced diet, small portions, eat in moderation and not depriving yourself of any food groups.

Here are some things which help me out in a daily and weekly basis:

PORTION CONTROL

Not everyone agrees with portion control or calories, but for me it’s one of the best things to keep my food in check. Understanding how much a serving size of food is and how many calories or how much food energy a serving contains is really important for body weight control. I’m not saying to physically count calories in everything you’re eating, but know the basics so you know what you’re eating. Eg: For a snack, around 120-200 calories is good. So that’s basically the equivalent to a piece of fruit or so crackers with a spread. For dessert, around 80-100 calories is good as you’ve just eaten dinner. So that’s about a paddlepop or something a little healthier like a little bit of yoghurt! Knowing how much you should have of a certain food is also extremely important. For example; A healthy serving of pasta should be one fistful and this applies to proteins as well!

80/20 RULE

It’s not a diet, it’s just an eating plan. I spoke briefly about this above; depriving yourself of all treats and sweets simply isn’t sustainable. To put it plainly, all it is, is plainly, you choose to eat healthy foods 80 per cent of the time, which then allows you to indulge in your favourite treats 20 per cent of the time. I love this as there are fewer restrictions, so this way of eating makes it much easier to stick to a healthy plan, lose weight and implement long-term dietary changes.

HEALTHY MONDAY-FRIDAY; INDULGE A LITTLE ON WEEKENDS

I apply the bulk of the 80% part to the weekdays. It’s easier to eat healthily Monday to Friday. Weekends are filled with fun and social situations, so that’s where I leave my indulging to be done! That being said, just because it’s the 20% of the week doesn’t mean you can go on an all-out unhealthy binge. Still eat things in moderation and you still need to watch your portion sizes and try not to have all your treats filled with sugar and fat.

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Author: Ally Carey

Hi, I am Ally, a writer and creative at Substance. I have worked in the fashion industry for 6+ years as a model and now on Substance. Substance is a lifestyle blog about fashion, beauty, health and self-improvement; hoping to inspire you to live a life filled with Substance. For more: @AllyMayCarey

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