Let’s talk about how to lose more weight by learning to eat the 80/20 way.
As any of my body transformation clients will tell you, I like to coach sustainable fat loss habits rather than strict unbreakable rules.
After all, what use is a “100% perfect” diet plan if you can only stick to it 10% of the time?
I prefer people to aim for “good enough” and be able to do this consistently. That kind of approach avoids all those damaging diet behaviours, like “falling off the wagon” and “failing”.
The aim of a successful healthy eating plan is NOT to set you up to fail! It’s far better to make smaller changes if that means you can embed the habits.
WHAT DOES 80/20 DIETING MEAN?
When I talk with clients about an 80/20 approach to healthier eating, I’m not referring to any kind of formal diet, although there has been plenty of research into this “flexible dieting” idea. (1)
What I mean is sticking to quality whole foods in their most natural state 80% of the time, and reserving the other 20% of your calorie allowance for the treats that are a deal-breaker.
These are the foods (or drinks) that will make sticking to your new diet easier.
For example, someone might start their body transformation diet with me on 1600 calories.
Using the 80/20 approach, this means I would want them to stick to a sensible fat loss diet of lean protein, lots of vegetables, whole grains, and lower calorie foods for 1280 calories (80% of their total).
The remaining 320 calories can be set aside for a treat like a couple of biscuits, a small chocolate bar, a glass of wine and a handful of crisps, a slice of pizza… whatever they want to enjoy.
HOW TO USE THE 80/20 APPROACH
You could split your calories 80/20 across the day, or even per meal. It really doesn’t matter. By bringing some flexibility into your diet you have some freedom and a sense of autonomy – which is important for dietary adherence.
A lot of people like to save this strategy for weekends, special occasions, client entertaining, and other times when that 20% would really come in useful.
Of course, on the days you don’t feel the need to use your 20%, put them back into the “diet plan” side of your calories and just eat more of your healthy fat loss foods.
My clients know how easy this is when you have access to my recipes and resources!
THE BEST FOODS FOR YOUR 80%
- Whole grains (rice, oats, cous cous etc)
- Lean proteins (lean meats, fish, seafood, tofu, legumes)
- Fruits and vegetables (as wide a variety as possible)
- Pulses, beans, legumes
- Low-fat dairy products
GUIDELINES FOR THE 20%
Don’t overdo it – remember, 20% means 20%
Make the most of it – choose foods or drink you will enjoy
Portion control – don’t eat 20% foods out of the bag or packet, portion it out
Watch the cravings – be wary of “trigger foods”
Feel OK about it – there’s no need to feel bad or guilty about your planned 20%
5 BIG BENEFITS OF THE 80/20 APPROACH
1.) It’s a sustainable approach to controlling your calorie intake
2.) It builds healthy habits like food choices and portion control
3.) It leads to better adherence over the long term of a diet
4.) You can enjoy a social life with treats and drinks
5.) Nothing is off-limits, the only rule is 80/20!
Have you struggled to stick to diets in the past?
Are you unsure of how to introduce “non-diet” foods into a fat loss plan?
Get in touch and I’ll show you how this way of eating works so well and how you can apply it in your own life.
Links To References Used In Today’s Blog: