The 80/20 rule

I recently read an article on diet.com about the 80/20 rule of healthy eating; the idea that if one eats healthy 80% of the time, indulging 20% of the time will not sacrifice weight loss results. I found it interesting that planning to make an unhealthy choice can actually help you lose weight. While I am more in the maintenance phase of healthy eating, I still thought the principles could apply in my life.

I tend to be a control freak, and hold myself accountable at all times. The problem with this all or nothing mindset is that when I decided to indulge, I felt guilty or disappointed in my resolve. In the last couple months I have been experimenting with this more realistic approach to healthy eating and have become significantly more content and happier with my food choices.

Ways to incorporate the 80/20 rule into your life:

Understand your eating habits: Do you want to have a small snack in the evenings or do you tend to eat out on the weekends? Planning ahead for treats can keep you accountable and helps ensure you don’t slip into a 60/40 lifestyle.

I save my indulgences for the weekends. I usually will see Perry (who is perpetually in weight gain mode) and we often eat at a restaurant or get milkshakes.

-Decide what’s worth it: Are you a bread and pasta lover or dessert person? Do you look forward to a mixed drink or do you love milkshakes? Knowing that you should only chose one treat, makes you more aware of what’s really worth it to you.

I am a dessert person all the way. Warm bread and greasy fries are great, but I’d choose anything chocolate over a not-so healthy main course.

-Make healthy food exciting: Find new recipes from your favorite blogs or try something new (quinoa, kale, lentils, green smoothies, etc). Don’t solely rely on your treats to bring fun into your diet.

When I get busy I tend to eat the same thing everyday (oatmeal, salad, soup-repeat). This combination is effective but leaves me bored and wanting more, even if I am full.

-Add cocoa powder to just about anything and call it dessert! Flavors like cinnamon, vanilla, and chocolate can add a lot to more variety to your regular healthy choices.

Maybe its just me, but if I add cocoa powder to my yogurt, smoothies, nut butter, oatmeal, protein pancakes(…the list goes on and on), I enjoy eating it more! Something about the chocolate flavor turns plain greek yogurt into something decadent without adding any sugar.

Any other tips for enjoying healthy eating or treats in moderation? Are you a weekend or night snacker? What is your favorite food indulgence? 

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One comment on “The 80/20 rule

  1. Sometimes I really need to think about why I’m eating. It sounds silly, but I tend to eat when I’m bored… so taking a step back and thinking, “am I really hungry?” helps me a lot. Great post!!

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