If you want to lose weight without giving up all your favorite foods forever, you might want to consider the 80/20 rule as an option. As you may be aware, the famous personal trainer Jillian Michaels has sworn by this eating plan for quite some time. Considering trim superstars like Jessica Alba and Miranda Kerr are also fans of the 80/20 rule, surely there must be something to it.
What is the 80/20 rule?
First, the most important thing to understand is that the 80/20 rule is not a diet — it's a lifestyle change. While that might sound intimidating, the 80/20 concept itself is pretty easy, according to The Vitamin Shoppe: You eat healthy and nutritiously for 80 percent of the time and eat for pleasure and indulgence for the other 20 percent of the time. Folks following the 80/20 rule sing the praises of the "treat foods" this eating plan allows.
"When you allow yourself small indulgences, you eliminate that sense of deprivation that can cause you to mindlessly binge on junk foods," Jillian Michaels writes on her blog.
As you can imagine, the healthy food you eat 80 percent of the time might consist of low energy-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean cuts of meat, poultry, fish, and complex carbs. As for the other 20 percent of the time, that's when it gets fun: It could involve a creamy pasta dish, a delicious cheesecake, or perhaps even that bag of chips stashed away in the back of the pantry.
In a post for Kora Organics, supermodel Miranda Kerr explains: "With this approach, there should be no foods labeled as 'bad,' and there should be no guilt associated with enjoying your favorite treats – the 80/20 rule is all about guilt-free moderation, which is a realistic long-term approach to overall wellness and happiness!"
That said, it's important to keep the term "moderation" in mind, especially during that 20 percent of the time when you're eating not-so-healthfully.
How to Do 80/20 Eating Right
The Vitamin Shoppe recommends looking at your daily calorie intake and calculating how many calories fit into 80 percent and 20 percent of them, respectively. For example, if your doctor decides 1,800 calories is the amount that you need to lose weight, this means that 1,440 of those calories should involve nutritious foods while 360 calories can include more indulgent treats.
While the daily 80/20 rule might be helpful to you if you like to treat yourself every day, it's worth noting that there are other ways to calculate your numbers. As PopSugar notes, you might find it beneficial to calculate it based on the number of meals you eat per week. So, let's say you eat five small meals each day, totaling 35 for the week. That means that seven of those small meals could be more on the indulgent side for this plan.
Just remember, everyone's calorie and meal planning needs are different, so always talk to your doctor before making big changes to your habits.
Next, learn about the tastiest superfoods that can help you live longer in the video below: