Written by BrynAlyn Evorik
The number 1 reason people fail at eating a healthy diet is balance, or the lack thereof. When we start a diet we tell ourselves that we are finished with sweets forever! We are never going to look at a bowl of pasta again! We are going to eat salad twice a day and drink only water for the rest of our lives! And we do it! For about 2 weeks….then reality kicks in.
The 80/20 lifestyle looks different for everybody, but the basic principle is the same. 80% of our diet should be clean(Vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains and protein) while we allow 20% of our diet to be cheat food. Now, like I said, this is different for everyone! If you eat 3 meals a day, that equals 21 meals a week. 20% of that 21 meals is a little over 4 meals a week! If you count calories and you are on a 2,000 calorie per day diet that means 20% of those calories is 400 calories!
So you can cheat a little every day with a sweet treat or a handful of chips or you can be really good for a few days and eat a whole meal that you ordinarily would deny yourself. Allowing ourselves these indulgences keeps us on track believe it or not! When we tell ourself that we will NOT eat sweets all we crave is sweets! Same goes for salt, fat and soda! However, if we know we have these treats to look forward we satisfy our cravings guilt free because they are built into our eating plan! Our bodies start to recognize that these treats are all we need, and soon we are satisfied with a cheat meal here and there or a small bowl of ice cream. This is a good way to establish a sustainable lifestyle change instead of falling victim to another fad diet.