The 80/20 Rule

18 November, 2012


There are a lot of opinions about what we should be eating and shouldn’t be eating.  But as my Body Worker pointed out to me this weekend “Kate, do you have a bum” “Yes” I replied curiously “Last time I checked”, “Well bums are like opinions, everyone’s got one” – interesting, I thought.  Still needing to be reminded at the age of 29 that there is never going to be one true way.

I love Sarah Wilson’s blog about quitting or at least eating less sugar.  This winter I did take a decent 6-week break from refined sugar, the kind you find in processed food like chocolate and cake. I got in to the habit of picking up jars at the supermarket and checking if it was less than 3 grams of sugar. I was eating a lot of “good” fats, like avocado, cheese and ghee.  This experiment definitely left me with more energy, but unfortunately wasn’t something I maintained.

Although I’m sure Sarah makes some good points about the havoc sugar causes on our bodies, after time I felt like a meanie turning down shared birthday cake and afternoon tea treat offerings.  Like I was being ‘too tough’ on myself.


2012 has also been the year that I’ve stopped drinking coffee and liquor. Two vices that I put above sugar in the ‘weigh in’ of what needs to go first.  I tell other people of these new habits and they praise my commitment.  But it’s really not that hard.  Also, I was tired of the story of “needing” a coffee every day to function, watching frighteningly at co workers who would go out three or four times a day for a store bought caffeine hit.

Cutting out booze on the other hand has bought up a lot of stuff for me and a lot of stuff for the people who enjoy hanging out with my drunk alter ego Joycee Banacheck.  Fortunately through yoga and growing up I came to see that dealing with one ego was work enough let alone two.

Although a lot of people I’ve talked to are under the impression that to teach yoga you need to be a vegetarian, of course this is silly and not the truth.  In fact in the yoga sutras it doesn’t say anything about compulsory vegetarianism, only that at the later stages of a very refined spiritual practice (living in a cave, black belt level) that being a vegetarian is probably a good idea.

picture 26

I’ve heard other charming stories of yoga teacher trainees forced to watch videos of farm animals enduring all kinds of horrors and of course the infamous rumour that by committing to the Jivamukti teacher training in NYC, one has to sign a contract to say they’ll be a vegan for 6 months.

True yoga?  Or forcing your opinion on someone else?

I think yoga is about removing the obstacles in life to reveal the innate wellbeing within and not being a fuss pot from fuss pot farm.  If you’re skipping breakfast, having coffee at morning tea, binging on the biscuit tin and having a carb over load for dinner then yes, this could be an obstacle.


These days I mostly enjoy a diet of whole foods.  That’s foods that are not processed, manufactured or designed – food as close to it’s natural arrangement as possible.  Preaching the dogma of “the 80/20 rule”, that’s 80% good natural whole food and 20% born to be bad choc top and popcorn at the movies.

Through yoga I’ve learnt to embrace self-regulation.  When you’re stressed and worried do you reach for a chocolate bar or go for a walk around the block and take some deep breaths?  Although I believe there is no right or wrong path, we need to enforce the healthy things that bring us back to well being and weaken the rubbishy ones.

Diets, detoxes, crash cleanses don’t work because they’re foreign and intimidating and outside of ourselves.  If we can implement small changes in our diets like eating a few more servings of fruit and vegetables every day, while allowing the 20% naughty I guarantee you it will be easier to assimilate healthier habits for longer periods of time.  This is the art of being kind to yourself – when strict fuss pot crusades fall away revealing trust and self love.

Om shanti

Kate xx


previous post next post