Most of the people who start a plant-based diet will fail at maintaining it. And the reason is the all-or-nothing attitude we use to stick in.
We have this idea that in order for us to look or feel a certain way, we have to be extremely strict and perfect. We think that we have to be extreme and do everything perfectly in order to succeed and get results.
The moment we change our planned regimen even a bit, we are losing it! We consider one small mistake as an excuse to binge eating. This is the main problem with not having a balanced approach to consume good nutrition for the long run.
There is a common psychology example called “the white elephant”.
Think of it for a second, when someone asks you not to think about a white elephant, from this moment all you can think about is…. you guessed right, a white elephant. The same thing happens when you restrict yourself from eating that cookie or that one piece of chocolate, you will just crave them more. Chances are that the cake in the fridge might not even bother you if you didn’t tell yourself you couldn’t have it just before. That’s how your brain is being tricky.
When we think about going vegan, a similar thing happens. When you’ve eaten meat all your life, meat is not an issue. But once you have decided you can’t have in any more you start craving for it and eventually give up and before you even realize you’ll order a Macburger.
The concept of stop doing something we are used to is so offputting that most of us will give up without even giving it a try. Well, that’s where the 80/20 approach comes in. Besides preventing the great suffer and pain of millions of animals around the glob vegan lifestyle will make you live longer by maintaining a healthier lifestyle. But you don’t have to start with extremely restricting yourself, you can ease yourself into it so your brain won’t be obsessed with meat.
This is the Lowdown on the 80/20 approach:
You eat plant-based and whole foods 80% of the time. That’s where you get all the nutrition your body needs in order to keep being healthy. On the other 20% of the time, you are allowed to eat any kind of food (beer, meat, sweets, eggs etc.). This is s great starting point in order to become vegan. When the time goes by, the 80% should increase while the 20% decreases. you should make sure that the food you consume is organic and unprocessed as possible and doesn’t have those food colors, preservation and chemicals. Examples of great food are spinach, yam, chia seeds, and lentils. While examples of unhealthy and processed foods are french fries, microwave-ready food, and pastries.
A main guiding line here is to prepare your food in ways that will keep its integrity. That way you could take advantage of all the vitamins, minerals and life force-giving qualities plants are riched in. These in-plants ingredients will help you fight illnesses, slow down aging and oxidative stress. You can enjoy the food you love eating without guilt, that’s why you have the 20% percent. But remember that the only advantage in this would be that it helps you be less obsessive and increase your chances to maintain the good and healthy vegan lifestyle. That approach is absolutely fantastic and already help thousands of people becoming vegan for life!
However, you must not overdo it. Don’t go eating an entire chocolate cake on your own or drinking milkshakes all day long. That kind of unbalanced binge eating behavior will harm your cardiovascular and digesting health, blood sugar levels, moods, and sleeping patterns. Don’t shock your body, keep your portions checked and spread the treats consuming throughout the week.
Below is the top checklist for transitioning to a plant-based diet:
Make Healthy Stuff Available
Fill your kitchen with a variety of plant-based protein sources like whole grains, tempeh, beans, and tofu. The availability of the good stuff will make it easier for you to consume them over going outside to buy junk.
Make sure you will have extra time to prepare the food, at least at the beginning. You might not be familiar with preparing plant-based dishes and that’s totally fine. Don’t get stressed, there are a lot of amazing recipes online (you are welcome to watch my favorites here) so it won’t be a problem once you got to know it.
Know The Alternatives
Always focus on the foods you CAN have (instead of the one you want to avoid). There is a plant-based alternative to every food you’ve gotten used to, so do yourself a huge favor and don’t trick your brain into obsessive behavior. The alternatives list is endless: coconut milk-based ice cream instead of cream-based ice cream, almond butter instead of dairy butter, textured vegetable proteins instead of meat, almond milk instead of cow’s milk and many more. Keep these alternatives in mind and you won’t have any problem.success.
Find A WHY
Find your WHY. Like every important step in our life, there must be a deep reason for this transition you decided to make. This reason will keep you push through and will remind you of the purpose of your efforts. That way, you’ll have a “mental anchor” to save you on the weak points when you are about to give up and order the pizza slice next time you got back from work. So make sure to find out your REAL WHY by asking yourself why do you want to do this? Is it because you believe of animals rights? Do you care about the environment? Or maybe you’ve decided to lose weight and be healthy so you can see your kids growing up…
Keep that in your mind to shift your focus from losing to gaining. A positive mindset will subconsciously prepare you to success.
Keep It Your Way
Do it your way. People love to criticizes others who do what they are not able to. Be prepared for these “good souls” that will question why you are making things hard for yourself and will say that you are not a real vegan because of that 20%. Don’t pay any attention to them, they are not worth it. Keep with doing what you believe is right, that’s what really matters.