Applying the 80-20 rule from business into a healthy eating routine has started making so much sense that not only do I preach it but will be practicing it myself so that I never forget to live it! For those who are unaware of the 80-20 rule, it is simply, the secret to an enjoyable life! Choose healthy foods 80 per cent of the time and treat yourself to the less healthy ones 20 per cent of the time. It's not clear mathematics but life is meant to be lived and not calculated. Following diets that cut out certain foods or entire food groups (like making you crave for your favourite cookies) usually are unsuccessful ones.
At some stage your favourite food will find its way back in your routine (sooner rather than later). Someone who has been on many diets before are not only physically drowned for trying to lose weight, but are also mentally very harsh on themselves. Guilt prevails for them on absolutely anything consumed outside their diet. Do you think it is justified to punish yourself if you ate a cookie a fortnight? Do you need to start a crazy cleansing diet to reverse that damage? I say NO. It's natural to want some of these comfort foods and if you deny yourself, you're only going to want it more.
Holding out your cravings only backfires and you end up eating more in the long run. So go ahead and enjoy your cookie, or whatever your less healthy favourite food happens to be. Just make sure you are choosing them 20 per cent of the time, so you are eating more healthy foods 80 per cent of the time. You can find ways to meet that cookie craving with healthier options, and then treat yourself to the real thing later. Doesn't that sound more reasonable than saying "by no means I can eat this again"? My belief is that the 80/20 principle is not a diet but it's a lifestyle change that can lead to sustainable weight loss and maintenance. It teaches us about balance and moderation (the one word being used ever since I started writing this column).
Moderation and healthy diet is a concept that never exists in a fad diet. You can never be 100 percent all the time, but you can definitely be 80 percent all the time. When you practice 80/20, you have the space to go out socially and enjoy a meal or a drink with friends, but most importantly, it makes a diet feel doable for the long run. Apart from the rule, our basics of nutrition and diet still apply to daily routine, Such as frequent meals throughout the day, quantify your meals, stay hydrated, , work-out four to five times a week, etc. So eat without guilt, let food be your friend, consistency be the key and believe that everything in moderation is best. Live the Rule! Stay Healthy!