HEALTHY LIVING — Use the 85/15 rule for eating and not depriving yourself

Published 12:16 am Thursday, January 11, 2024

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I love food, I love to talk about it, cook it, smell it and, of course, eat it. And that has been a problem for me all of my adult life.

Do you sometimes feel like food is your enemy?

I yoyo dieted all my life. Up and down the scales. I had a closet with at least three sizes of clothing.

I wasn’t a gorge eater, more of a grazer. Sweets weren’t my thing, I love savory foods. Although, I am weak for a nice Italian pastry.

In an effort to finally get a handle on my uncontrolled eating, I had bariatric surgery in 2015. I lost a lot, got to my goal, relaxed and gained a lot of it back. Even with a very small stomach, grazing can get you in trouble.

So, I continue to fight the fight every single day.

I try very hard not eat food that is bad for me, occasionally I do have a normally off limit treat. As we have discussed previously in this column, don’t routinely deny yourself. That will lead to an over indulgence, and that is where the trouble starts.

Here we are in January and we have come out of the minefield of holiday eating, we are back on track, feeling better and WHAM!

Mardi Gras season hits us squarely in the stomach with an abundance of King Cake, boudin, pistolettes and crawfish boils are just around the corner.

What to do?

To begin with, stop beating yourself up over this.

Are you familiar with the 85/15 method?

Eating very healthy 85 percent of the time, lightly indulging 15 percent of the time. Lightly being the key word here.

No specific “cheat day,” that is a terrible term, right up there with the word DIET. It is setting yourself up for failure.

Stay the course with plenty of vegetables, lean beef, chicken, fish and whole fruits. Fill your plate 2/3 with green vegetables and 1/3 protein.

Salads are good, but be careful, some salads that are loaded up can actually have an entire day worth of calories. Steer clear of the high carb foods, like white potatoes, rice, breads, pastas, beer (also known as liquid bread) and whole milk.

2 percent milk and nut milk are fine for adults, growing children need that whole milk. Keep up that exercise routine that you started and add a bit when you can. A few extra steps here and there make a big difference.

Enjoy a little taste of that delicious King Cake, a very small slice eaten slowly to savor every bite will be quite satisfying.

Crawfish boils, YES!

Avoid the potatoes and corn and enjoy the mushrooms, and other vegis that can be thrown in the pot during the last minute or two of boiling.

We have discovered broccoli is amazing cooked in the crawfish boil. Brussels sprouts are another favorite.


Sure, about once a month I make chicken, andouille and tasso gumbo. I use a powdered roux mix to avoid extra fats, I add extra bell pepper, celery, onions and okra for body and we eat it without rice.

Yes, it is an adjustment, but you get all the great flavor and not all of the calories and carbs.

By all means, enjoy the tastes of the season. We are fortunate to live in an area with a variety of wonderful food choices.

Have a taste, you do not ever have to eat the whole thing.

Focus on what you can have and not on denying yourself. The most important thing that you can have is a healthy body and that will lead to living an enjoyable life.

Have fun and stay healthy, my friends.

Jody Holton writes about health for Orange Newsmedia. She can be reached at