Anyone who’s tried to stay on a strict diet knows how difficult it is not to fall off the wagon when temptations present themselves. Whether you’re enjoying movie night with your family who’s munching away on chips and candy or at a party where drinks and greasy appetizers are flowing, it can take a lot of mental strength and willpower to stay the course.
According to studies, a person following a diet that has limitations and stringent restrictions has a much lower chance of following through than diets that allow for flexibility and the occasional indulgence.
Instead of constant restriction, embrace the 80/20 rule of thumb. A diet that allows for moderate indulgences 20 percent of the time and eating healthy 80 percent of the time. This approach makes room not only in your daily routine, but for cheat meals as well, which means you can enjoy that occasional cheeseburger or slice of pizza guilt-free.
The key to successful 80/20 eating, though, is to make sure that your 20 percent isn’t a complete free-for-all. We should be mindful of what we’re putting in our mouths 100 percent of the time. While your 20 percent may be higher in calories than your usual grub it should still provide you with some nutrition. If it becomes a calorie, sugar, and fat binge that doesn’t offer any nutrition, it can easily undo the healthy eating you stick to the other 80 percent of the time.
Here is an example of an 80/20 meal plan:
You've meal prepped delicious and healthy meals for yourself, but have a craving for a Chic-Fil-A chicken sandwich. Three out of four of your meals consist of whole food ingredients which should balance out the negative impact of one less nutritious meal.
It all fits into your conscious decision to eat healthy 80% of the time, and indulge the other 20.
To be safe however, you decide to make it from home but with ingredients (brioche bun, mayo, cheese, breaded chicken breast) that you normally wouldn't use while dieting.
Because you can!
The 80/20 rule offers a sustainable approach to healthy living with a message of moderation, and the flexibility for less healthy options.
A realistic approach to weight loss.