Screw dieting. The 80/20 rule is much better.

By Jenny Cole - 07:34:00

When I first started working out and trying to loose weight, I was under the impression that I couldn't eat any of the junk food that I did at the time. That I had to eat healthy all of the time in order to loose weight. Boy, was I wrong. Looking back on that time when I started to really care about my health and what I was putting in my body, its safe to say that I didn't really have a clue, I'd never been taught that you could still eat the food that you wanted while working out, you just needed to cut down on how much you consumed.

Now, you're probably thinking, what even is the 80/20 rule that you mentioned in the title of this very blog post?

Well.. the 80/20 rule is all to do with balanced eating. To put it simply, the majority of the time, the 80%, you eat healthy, while the other 20% you eat can indulge in as much chocolate, cake and other  food as you'd like. You're not on a diet because you're not cutting anything out, instead just making a healthy habit.

For me personally, I try and eat healthy Monday-Friday and then over the weekend I indulge.

When I first started I counted every calorie, after working out what my daily intake should be, and it made the process a whole lot more stressful than it should've been. You want to make loosing weight fun and enjoy it, not see it as a chore as I originally did. It's not healthy to obsess into great detail about how many calories you are consuming and where those calories are coming through.

I cut everything considered 'bad' food out of my diet within a couple of days, declining chocolate which I LOVE to say the least and it sent my body into a state of shock. Instead of loosing weight, It stayed on despite working out and eating healthy simply because my body didn't know what I was doing or what to do. However, once I had the tiniest bit of chocolate, something clicked inside of me and I started loosing weight at a very healthy pace and within the recommend time period.

I thought that by consuming anything that wasn't meat, fruit or veg, everything I was doing in terms of fitness would go to waste and that I would've ruined anything that I had done since I made the commitment.

I wanted to loose weight the healthiest way possible, but what I was doing wasn't healthy until I introduced the foods I loved back into my diet in smaller portions. I was very aware before I even started working out that quick-fixes wouldn't work and I wanted to loose weight in a time span that was flexible and adaptable for me and one in which that was recommend to be the safest and healthiest way.

I didn't think about cheat days or cheat meals once when I first started. I did when the cravings began after around two weeks of being healthy and not even touching any food that I knew I wasn't supposed to indulge in because I didn't want to lose the progress I had made and how far I had already come.

I promote healthy eating as much as I can, as much as I promote indulging every now and again in the foods that aren't *healthy*.

Why you should give up on dieting-

Most people who start I diet, fail in the long haul. They're not realistic, sustainable and are not customised to an individual person, instead based on someone's idea of what a diet should include. Being based on restriction and denying yourself, punishing yourself to say the least, of your favourite foods. If you're anything like me then you don't want to being following a fad idea decided by someone sat behind a desk or being decided by the health and fitness industry.

You want to work on yourself with the intentions of sticking to healthy eating and living for the long haul not for a month or two. Listening to your body will be the biggest help you could ever find for this.

I have always loved fruit and veg, having it everyday either as a snack or most commonly with my dinner. Yes, there are fruits and veg that I don't particularly like but I stick to what I know both myself and my body likes and I always feel better afterwards.

I don't think I've ever had a McDonalds or some other form of takeaway and have felt good afterwards. I always feel a bit sluggish and worn down and a bit tired, and I now know that's because I'm not giving my the body the nutrition in which it needs.

I'm not saying you have to have a salad for every meal you ever have for the rest of your life! I'm saying that you need to make sure your plate holds everything your body needs in order to be healthy. You can still have a McDonalds, but if you have it more than once a week, cut it down to having it only on a Friday night for example, and then start cutting it down even more so as time goes on and you get more comfortable with everything that you are doing.
The best example I could provide of this would be whenever you are next at a restaurant order the healthier option and see how you feel afterwards and then compare it to what you felt like after having something that was so high in calories.

If you give up on dieting and focus on building a healthy lifestyle you will get where you want to be, a faster pace in most cases-which is the better and healthier way might I add.
Your body will adjust over time to what you put in it, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be for me to cut out things like sweets and cookies at the beginning. Once you start eating more protein, nutrients, vitamins, veggies etc. and start feeling more energized, it changes your everyday life and it makes working out less of a chore to be doing, because it isn't.

The indulgences you have are allowing yourself to still have the food that you love without feeling guilty about it because you've earned it. I don't feel bad if I decide to have a Chinese on a Friday night at the end of my week because after all we only have one life.

Why indulgences are important and key-

No one is perfect. No one. You have to accept it.

Aiming to eat 100% perfect all of the time is a ridiculous idea because only a select few of people will actually stick to that plan. You need to allow room for indulgence and the sugary tasting things in life. You need to expect that at some point you're going to need the indulgence in order to keep progressing with your workout plan and general health.

By indulging on the weekends you're less likely to binge eat away everything you've done and increasing your chances of keeping all the weight off.

Perfection makes people go off course and eat everything that comes in sight of them because they've been restricting themselves of the things they've loved for days on end. Don't aim to be perfect, aim to be the best version of yourself.

Cheat day-

Having a cheat meal/day isn't going to kill you. It helps a lot especially when you first start trying to loose weight and begin working out and you develop the cravings of the foods you love. It's approaching Easter and all of the Easter eggs have begun lining the shelves of all the local supermarkets. My family brought a couple of Easter eggs and I indulged in beginning to eat one of them, a quarter of one to be precise. I didn't feel bad about it at all because I eat healthy 80% of the time.

The media doesn't help to fight the stigma surrounding the 80/20 rule, but the best way to get past it all is remembering that social media in most cases only shows the best parts of someone's day- some being incredibly staged and planned and oh so perfect.

Don't deprive yourself, it only makes it harder and you're not dooming yourself by indulging every now and again.

Balance, balance, balance-

It took me a while to find my balance, everyone is different. Life is about balance. Work is about balance. School is about balance. Everything and anything is about balance. You need to find what works for you.

Yes, you want to be able to live a strong and healthy life and be able to eat healthy every second of every minute of every day for the rest of your life, you want to be able to actually, you know... live.
That means having that entire pizza to yourself  (come one we've all done it at least once or twice).

That is after all, what the 80/20 rule is about and what it allows you to do.

Aiming to be healthy 80% of the time gives you the room to enjoy yourself that little bit more and still be sane at the end of the day. It allows you to be adventurous and try new things and not get bored of the same old same old while aspiring to be perfect-which I've already mentioned, no one is.

Once you stop obsessing over every little detail, loosing weight actually becomes fun and enjoyable (I know for a fact that there is someone reading this thinking 'how can loosing weight be fun', that's for another blog post my friend). Enjoying life is about freedom and that's what this rule gives you.

  • Share:

You Might Also Like