For anyone who embarks on a new fitness routine or a new diet, or even starts trying to control what they put in, it’s a familiar nightmare. It could be a wedding buffet, a family get-together, a children’s birthday party, anything that may come around and knock you off course. But what if we told you that there was a way out of this whole circle of - being good all day, indulging, being guilty, and indulging more - routine? Enter the 80 – 20 principle for weight management.
This rule says that if you're good 80 percent of the time you can let go for the rest 20 percent. For ex, if you cut down on processed foods and order grilled chicken on an evening out, instead of the usual chicken pizza, then you can reward yourself by ordering that glass of wine. A dessert, however, will tilt the equation more towards 70 – 30 and anything beyond that means that you are hampering your weight loss goals. The idea is that not everyone can be perfect 100% of the time.
Some ground rules to make this principle work better for you:
Plan ahead – If you know that you have a huge weekend ahead with a lot of revelry, or a Sunday at your parents’ place where you won’t be able to resist mom’s cooking, then ensure that you are good for the week preceding the weekend. If you do let go on this particular weekend, then make sure that it was just this once and it won't happen every weekend as it puts pressure on your week.
Everyone has a weakness – If you have a big weakness towards a particular food item, (it could be something sweet or it could be beer) then let yourself have a go at those in particular. Of course that does not mean that you can eat an unlimited amount of chocolate ice cream, but it does help if you are allowed to eat your favourite goodie every once in a while.
Your commitment needs to be 100% - Though you know you may not be 100% perfect your intention needs to be strong. If you start off on the wrong footing, it's likely that you will stray well below the 80% mark. Therefore aim for eating right all the time and then if you fall off the bandwagon a little, you don’t have to beat yourself up about it.
Nutrition counts – If most of your calories are coming from healthy nutritious food you know that you are eating right. Therefore if you eat real food really well then, after awhile your dependence on the empty calories will stop. Therefore starting off by eating right 80% of the time will slowly become more and more of a habit.
When 80 becomes 60 – Be true to yourself. By giving yourself this leeway instead of beating yourself up just because you had a cookie or two, you are making your weight loss goal realistic. But when you find youself straying to 70% or 60% its time to pull up the socks.
With the 80 – 20 rule, weight loss can be a far more pleasurable and realistic experience as you have a little flexibility with your diet. Does it work? If your are honest with yourself, it really does!
Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images.
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