Wait, what? Did we just say that you can indulge in your favorite treats and still be able to lose weight? Well according to a whole host of chefs and celebrities that live by it, yes you can.
The 80/20 diet isn’t really a diet. It is a lifestyle plan. The rule is to eat healthy foods 80% of the time and indulge in delicacies only 20% of the time.
What is the logic here?
The principle behind this approach is the fact that depriving oneself of all treats is not sustainable in the long run. If you cheat on your diet once or twice, usually you tend to drop the diet altogether. So, if a diet allows you to cheat in a controlled way with no guilt, you are bound to be happier with your diet and follow it without giving up.
How to do the 80/20 math and what to eat?
First of all, when you say 80% healthy food + 20% treats, it does not mean ‘in a day’. This applies to a week. So plan accordingly.
For example, if you eat 3 meals + 2 snacks a day, that comes out to 21 meals + 14 snacks a week. By the 80/20 logic, you can cheat on 4 meals + 2 or 3 snacks in that entire week.
The first thing to do is to plan your diet so it is easier for you to control what you eat. Eating healthy foods does not mean over-eating because that surely adds more calories to your body. Eat smaller portions. All-natural, unprocessed foods are the key in this diet.
If possible, keep a food journal. It will make being disciplined with your diet easier.
Next, treats do not always mean a piece of cake or a sugary cupcake. You should try to incorporate healthy desserts and snacks into your diet.
Examples of healthy snacks/treats:
- Popcorn instead of a brownie
- Baked sweet potato chips instead of oily potato crisps
- Oat cookies instead of cupcakes
- Greek yogurt fruit tart instead of cake and the list goes on.
But even these should be eaten in moderation.
Find healthy and easy breakfast recipes here.
Also, aim for less than 20% because, c’mon, 4 cheat meals + 3 cheat snacks in a week can be a lot if you are making unhealthy choices with your treats.
Do you still need to workout?
Yes you do. You can’t expect healthy foods to do all the work. Pair this healthy eating plan with 45-60 minutes moderate exercise 3-5 times a week.
The 80/20 approach is supposed to be realistic and something you can follow for life. But if you can do away with the 20% then go ahead. There is nothing better than a 100% healthy diet with no cheats at all. Your body will thank you for it.