Published January 23, 2018

Lose weight with the 80/20 rule

by Helen M. Ryan
Plate with panckes and fruit topping

Why the 80/20 rule helps weight loss

Does this look familiar?

FRIDAY NIGHT, time to par-tay! A few margaritas, a couple of beers, and some chips and salsa.

SATURDAY yay. Birthday party with pizza and cake, a drink, and some candy you borrowed from your child’s piñata stash.

SUNDAY IS HERE. It's the last day of the week so let’s celebrate. Delicious Sunday brunch, then dinner out with the family. Maybe finish off some of that candy before bed, along with a glance of wine. Might as well end the weekend with a bang.

TOMORROW'S MONDAY, and time to get back to a program of healthy eating and exercising.

Sorry to disappoint, but this is NOT the 80/20 rule.

Yeah, so if you’re doing it this way it’s not going to work. This is more like the, uhm, 60/40 rule. The 60/40 rule does not get you the body or the health that you want.

So what really is this rule?

Eating healthy 80% of the time and less healthy 20% of the time. That's what it is.

The 80/20 lifestyle is really good for maintaining a healthy weight (with some fat loss, too). It beats those ‘fad diets’ that no one but the most motivated of die-hards can stick to because it allow for balance.

How does the 80/20 rule work?

The 80/20 rule lets you eat some of the food that you really like, and it's great for people who are just starting their weight loss journey.

80% of your diet is lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and whole grains; 20% is the ‘white stuff’ (no, not cocaine): Refined carbohydrates like white pasta, white pizza dough, and cakes - even brown ones; ‘bad’ fats; and the oh-so-yummy sugars.

The 80/20 rule is more like 1.5 days of really relaxed eating, not full on binge eating.

For weight loss, the 80/20 rule isn’t always enough.

To lose weight like a badass, you might have to stick to an 85/15 or sometimes a 90/10 ratio.

If you hate math like me, then the translation is to stick to one to maybe two meals and one snack of “whatever you want within reason” during the week.

Yeah, I know. It’s no fun to keep track. But once you get to your goal weight, the 80/20 rule goes into full effect. Woo hoo!

It’s much easier to stick with eating healthy long-term when you can plan for some ‘fun’ not-so-healthy eating during the week.

My favorite tip?

OK this one is gold: If you have an event or there's something going on where you won't have control of a meal, use it as your 20%. Doing this removes bad feelings we've been programmed to feel when we eat something decadent, and usually stops a binge.

Reprogram your mind for the win.