The 80/20 principle is no diet — it's a lifestyle change that can lead to sustainable weight loss. Folks who have suffered on rigid, limiting diets in the past find that this new rule teaches them about balance and moderation, a concept that never exists in a fad diet. When you practice 80/20, you have the space to go out socially and enjoy a meal (or a cocktail!) with friends, but most importantly, it makes the whole clean-living thing feel doable for the long run.
The breakdown is simple: 80 percent of the time you focus on eating clean, good-for-you foods, and 20 percent of the time you have the freedom to indulge as you please. Don't be concerned about the math, but it's simple: if you eat three square meals a day, three of those meals every week are your 20 percent cheat meals; if you eat five small meals a day, then seven of those small meals are up for grabs.
If you're worried about loosening the reins, look to Hollywood for 80/20 success stories. When we spoke to Jessica Alba's trainer Yumi Lee, Yumi credited the 80/20 rule when it came to Jessica's ability to maintain her healthy weight. She explains, "You can't be 100 percent all of the time, but you can be 80 percent all of the time." Yumi recommends small, frequent meals throughout the day, aiming to make healthy choices 80 percent of the time.
Supermodel Miranda Kerr has also explained how the 80/20 rule has done wonders for her relationship with food. Without guilt or conditions placed on meal choices, Miranda says, "Food is my friend, and consistency is the key. I believe that everything in moderation is best." We could not agree more.
This post was originally published on January 2, 2014.