You may have heard of the 80/20 diet before, but maybe you don’t know how it works. The principle is simple:
Allow for 80% of your meals to be healthy food, and allow for 20% to come from less healthy food.
You CAN still lose weight following this rule. I’ll give you an example:
I hit my goal weight of 160 pounds in August 2014. Then, as I was trying to maintain, I put on weight as I added kettlebells to my routine. Despite gaining, I was slimming as I changed my body composition from fat to muscle. I gained almost 15 lbs of my weight back over the course of a year, without really getting bigger. (Strength training will do that!) This past summer I started experiencing hormonal binges: two or three days a month I would eat peanut butter or chocolate chips (or this month, Nutella) until I felt sick, then just as soon as that urge came on, it would go away until the following month.
I changed my macro composition a few months ago from 30% fat, 20% protein, 50% carbohydrates to 30% fat, 30% protein and 40% carbohydrates, which allowed me to cut my calories back and not be hungry. In the last few months, I’ve had a few setbacks (still having monthly binges) and Thanksgiving, but since I eat very well most of the time, I’ve managed to offset the damage and as of this past Wednesday I’m back in my maintenance range. (Of course, my friends will tell you I’m more of a 90/20 girl, but I’m a bit of an overachiever when it comes to weight loss!)
So what makes the 80/20 diet work so well?
- You don’t have to sacrifice. It’s your birthday, and damn it, you want cake! Well, if you behave yourself and eat healthy, wholesome foods 80% of the time, there’s no reason, no reason at all that you can’t enjoy a piece of cake every now and then. Perfection isn’t needed. This is one of those times that good enough is good enough.
- It’s a lifestyle, not a diet. Your body will adjust to eating well, and eating an extra slice of pizza every now and then won’t send you into a tailspin of disordered eating. You won’t have to cook every meal at home, and will still be able to enjoy the occasional meal out.
- It’s not restrictive. You can focus less on what you can’t eat and more that you’re allowed to eat. This can prevent bingeing on foods that are “off limits” or those awkward questions from friends as to what you are or are not “allowed” to eat on your “diet”, because IT’S NOT A DIET.
- IT WORKS. I’m living proof of this working. And when you hit goal, it helps you KEEP the weight off. Again, this gal is living proof. I never feel deprived and this style of eating leaves room for “mistakes” and of course, the holidays! (I weigh less today than I did before Thanksgiving, despite eating pecan pie, pumpkin pie and two cookies for dessert, thank you very much.)
So what do you think? Will you give the 80/20 rule a shot? Let me know!