If there is one truth that can be considered universal, it is this: no one is perfect 100% of the time. This fact becomes pretty evident when we think about dieting. No matter how hard you try, there will always be a birthday party, barbecue, happy hour, or celebration of some sort that will tempt you to eat goodies that don’t exactly meet your clean eating requirements. It usually plays out like this, you cave and feel guilty, or you manage to fight temptation only to binge on something else later on. Although these slips may not be everyday occurrences, they happen often enough that we thought it was time suggest a change in thinking.
Forget dieting. Shift your thoughts away from harsh restrictions and eliminations and start thinking about the 80/20 principle. This lifestyle philosophy may be the key to sustainable weight loss. This principle teaches you how to practice balance and moderation in a way that makes it easy to eat clean for the rest of your days. And that is really the point, right? What good is a “diet” you can’t maintain over the long term?
It is a relatively simple philosophy and one that we practice here at BodyRock. It looks like this: 80 percent of the time you eat clean, healthy, nutrient dense, whole foods (like those found in the BodyRock Meal Plan) and 20 percent of the time you are free to indulge.
Indulging does not mean going entirely off the rails and eating everything in sight, but it does allow you a little freedom. You can go out with your friends and have a drink at happy hour or have a little dessert. It allows you to enjoy yourself without feeling like you are doing something “wrong.”
Don’t worry so much about the math behind it and look at it like this: if you eat 3 meals a day, 3 of those meals every week comprise your 20 percent. If you eat 5 small meals a day, 7 of those small meals are your 20 percent. That is just enough space to prevent you from feeling deprived.
Jessica Alba’s personal trainer, Yumi Lee, who credits the 80/20 rule for Alba’s ability to maintain her weight, sums it up like this: “You can’t be 100 percent all of the time, but you can be 80 percent all of the time.”
The best “diet” for you is the one you can maintain. Feeling guilt and shame over a mealtime slip up is no way to live. This philosophy isn’t about letting yourself off the hook, it is about building a balanced life you enjoy living. Being healthy is great, but so is feeling relaxed, comfortable, and in control.
Has the 80/20 rule been a game changer for you? Tell us about it!