My first blog should obviously endorse my theory of the “80-20” lifestyle. While my theory isn’t designed for optimal* health, it’s designed with practicality and the “every-day dieter” in mind. Further, the “80-20” is aimed at reducing the ever-so-popular yo-yo dieting us Americans seem to fall for at least once a year. Early January, anyone? No wonder everyone hates the holidays!
The 80-20 allows flexibility and variety, while encouraging nutrient-dense (and thus lower calorie and lower fat) foods. This theory proposes that 80%+ of your days/meals (that’s 24 days a month or 72 out of 90 meals a month) be spot-on with nutrition. This means that your “healthy” meals should include a proper balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat while including at least 4 of the 6 major food groups (those being ‘grains’, ‘vegetables’, ‘fruits’, ‘oils’, ‘milk’, ‘meat and beans’). Yes, people, there are 6 food groups. Please also note that “discretionary calories” are not included in the MyPyramid any longer, as these food items are not essential to optimal health. They may, however, be essential for optimal sanity…leading us to that beloved ’20’ portion of the program.
Here’s the relief! As proposed above, 20% (or less) of your days/meals (6 days a month or 18 of 90 meals a month) allow for a less structured intake regimen. While this 20% (or less) allows some flexibility and “freedom”, for lack of a better term…let’s please remember: everything in moderation! This 20% (or less) is intended to curb cravings, prevent “diet” sabotage (no one is perfect!), and keep your metabolism in high-gear, while enabling you to enjoy social situations without feeling deprived.
To expand further, the intention of the ’20’ portion of the program is to encourage self-control and self-moderation over time. We all know that consuming high-fat, calorie-dense foods decreases the rate at which we lose weight and increases our chances of developing high choleserol, high blood pressure, etc. The hope is that over time, your need/desire/want to go completely over-board during your ’20’ days/meals will be lessened, and you will learn to want less. Hence my emphasis on ’20’ (OR LESS).
While this is my first time publicly advertising the ’80-20′, many of my friends and family are well-aware of this theory of mine as I practice it myself. While weight-loss is not my main concern (though, dropping 10 lbs would be fabulous!), I feel that living the ’80-20′ enables me to stay focused and positive about proper nutrition as a lifestyle, while allowing me to enjoy life’s simple pleasures…such as toffee and ice cream (yes, the real deal!). Until next time, go practice your ’80’ — I know you’ve got the ’20’ down pat!