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My 85% Rule for eating meat and ya know, loving life!

Hi, so, yeah, end of semester complications and exams are to blame for my somewhat erratic and spontaneous posting schedule. I would say sorry, but, I get annoyed at bloggers who apologize for not posting as if the world at large is waiting by their keyboards with bated breath to read my musings. I don’t have that big of an ego yet (<—-HELLO, KEYWORD!).

So last night when I celebrated my physiology class being OVER (however it turns out grade-wise, eek!) I had a couple people ask me about my deal with meat. One of them had said he tried to ‘Go veggie!’ for 10 days or so then gave it up due to lack of energy and boredom with the food. These thoughts are TOTALLY legit, and as someone still fairly n00b to this lifestyle, I experience it too. While you can totes get all the energy you need without eating meat (Hell, I have 10X more energy!), when you start out cold turkey you have a tendency to replace the meat void with unhealthy stuff that doesn’t give you the right fuel for the day.

For anyone considering reducing meat intake, the biggest advice I have is to make gradual changes.  All or nothing approaches really don’t work. I used to have this attitude and it kept me from regularly exercising for years. I would be gung ho for a week or 2, working out daily, get awesome results, and then once a busy week came up (or ya know, some other nameless obstacle or excuse) I’d give up because I couldn’t work out as often/hard. It was dumb. Now I’m much more realistic. I enjoy the weeks I can go ‘all out’, but when those hard weeks come (and they always do, kiddies), I just fit in as much as I can. It all comes out in the wash, so they say. And I am content with less because I know it’s about moving your life in a certain direction.

You should definitely flirt with vegetarianism before jumping right in. Start out by looking at what veggie friendly foods are at restaurants and seeing what you like. Then think about how you could transform foods you eat regularly to include less meat or no meat. Browse the interwebs for recipes that sound appetizing, and then try a couple of them out. Small steps like this were most effective for me. I’ve been reducing my meat consumption gradually since last Fall. And even today, I still give myself a ‘cheat meal’ every week.

There are lots of reasons behind the cheat meal. And, depending on your reasons for going veggie, you might not feel comfortable doing it. I for one never want to be so high maintenance that I have to have special needs when I eat at someone’s home. So I want to keep my meat enzymes! I’m the type of person who will eat pretty much everything to make my host happy. I hate melons, and ate pretty much a quarter of a cantaloupe a year or so ago to make my friend’s mom happy hehe. And raw tomatoes (which I USED to loathe) and a glass of some kind of dessert liquor. And I did this all with a smile on my face : ) !

Also, most diets out there include a cheat meal. Once you begin to feel deprived/restricted/(boa constricted? hehe) is when you start looking for the nearest friggin exit off the bandwagon. Like, give up chocolate cold turkey for a week and next thing you know you’re in the bathroom of a gas station pounding down 10 crunch bars. You can’t do that shit. For me, going veggie is the same way. If I see someone’s hot spicy juicy BBQ at the company picnic and it looks too good to resist…well, I’m not going to feel guilty. In the end, giving myself that BREAK will lead to many more meals where I stick to my values and goals. Otherwise, I’d be that girl in the station, only I’d be pounding down a bucket of chicken wings (with sauce in my hair and on my hands, it’d be totally carnal….)

This is the essence of what I call the 85% rule in my life. I feel that being ‘good’ 85% of the time is definitely good enough! You got to let yourself cheat to keep your sanity. I apply this to a lot of areas in my life: spending money, managing free time, eating sweets, planning my exercise schedule, dealing with really hard homework assignments, etc.  It makes my life less stressful, and I find that by getting rid of ‘all or nothing’ thinking, I actually accomplish so much more. Excercise and healthy eating have become something I want to do, instead of a chore that needs to get done. Life is hard enough without finding new things to make yourself guilty over.

What other things do you think 85% is good enough for?

Bonus Reads, on the philsophy of (1) starting new habits and (2) how this can be applied to beginning an exercise habit!

(1) http://6changes.com/post/288470275/start

(2) http://6changes.com/post/288452935/exercise

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