by Dana Cavalea June 27, 2017


What? Banana Bread?


You read that correctly. How many of us start watching what we are eating, have a perfect day of eating and meal selection, engage in a great workout, then boom, your wife cooks banana bread?

Or muffins, or apple pie and you just have to have a taste as the entire house starts to take on the smell of this delight.
This is what makes eating right so difficult. Temptation. We are constantly tempted. Just when we get on track, that wedding, birthday party or night out with friends pulls us off!
So what do we do? We play the odds. We have to put them in our favor.
My friend Brandon is who gave me the banana bread story after talking about his battle with "after dinner" eating.
I am one who loves a good bagel on Saturday morning, so I have to adjust for it (or put the odds in my favor). I plan for my 20%.
How do we do it? We have to do our best to act like a Vegas bookie. Utilizing the 80/20 principle. Eat great 80% of the week and leave 20% up to chance and exploration. That is life.
You should not have to stay home and not participate in the banana bread or certain restaurants because you are a prisoner to your diet. (now if you are a competitive athlete in training, with hard deadlines and weight goals, you will have to become more sacrificial at times).
When working with my clients, it is about understanding what their tendencies are and "renegotiating" with them.
For example, if you are a post dinner eater, the real problem may be that you do not take in enough calories during your prime burn hours earlier in the day. We then start to add more fuel early in the day to see if that helps reduce the cravings.
Next, for the post dinner eater, we figure out if it is actual "hunger" or if it is just a "habit". Once that is determined we can make some more informed decisions. I usually like to start by adding more positives before consuming the negatives.
For instance, if you typically crave something sweet, rather than eating the entire loaf of banana bread or entire pie, how could we give you a small piece after you eat something like a fiber rich mango or apple (which will give you the satisfaction of eating "sweets"). I would then add even a few almonds or cashews to give you some more healthy fats. Chances are, after you eat the mango & nuts, you will either not want to bread/pie or will want dramatically less.
If we can build our fueling life around 80% positive choices (lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables), it will keep us lean and healthy. The 20% we can deal with accordingly.
Personally, I have found when I am eating great most of the time, when I make my 20% choices, my body burns through them rapidly.
But, for those clients of mine looking to take their bodies to the next level, if they are planning on eating their 20% meal/ snack/ treat, we would just add an evening session of cardio to the mix to increase metabolic rate and improve "burn rate".
This will help to reduce the "sticking" effect of the 20%.
So what is the real lesson here? It is hard to stay away from the banana bread!
Luckily, if you are following the 80% rule, you can have that small piece and not feel guilty because the positive nutrients you flood yourself with daily will overtake the negatives.
Some people choose to pack their 20% into a Saturday or Sunday giving freedom to roam on the weekends and demonstrating total discipline in line with their work week. That is totally fine. However you choose to split your week works. It just has to work for you.
As I said in a blog last week, the only time we would "cut" and become ultra strict (meaning no banana bread, starches or sugars) is in the first 6-8 weeks of a diet change when we are working to change taste buds/ eliminate cravings & create total transformation for a client.
But for those who are just looking to live in balance, the 80/20 works. Fueling is a challenge, but don't make it out to be more than it actually is.
Anyway, don't let food dominate you. Dominate your life. You are in control. Make the adjustments, get on the program.
Dana Cavalea
Dana Cavalea

Dana Cavalea is the World Champion Director of Strength and Conditioning & Performance of the New York Yankees. Currently, he is a High Performance Speaker & Consultant to Pro Athletes, Entrepreneurs, Business Executives, and Workforces on lifestyle strategies to reduce stress, improve work/life integration, and most importantly improve daily performance /outcomes. Book Dana to Speak at your Company Event or Conference Today!

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