Business-savvy readers know that the 80:20 rule started life as an observation about productivity, i.e. 80 per cent of the output of a business is the result of a mere 20 per cent of its total inputs. Now, some enterprising foodies have applied the 80:20 rule to dieting. Here are 5 things you need to know about how it works.
1. You can have your cake and eat it, too
Because the 80:20 diet means you eat healthily 80 per cent of the time, and eat whatever you like 20 per cent of the time. The reason for this is simple: those who go on a strict diet usually pile on the pounds again when they relapse after a period of strict abstinence. With the 80:20 diet, you’re not abstaining – just indulging yourself less.
2. Statistical success
Relatively speaking, anyway. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the 80:20 diet may lead to higher chances of successful long-term dieting compared with abstaining from foods we desire – and thus have an emotional relationship with. So, since we can’t break up with what makes us feel good about ourselves, 80:20 allows for a trial separation.
3. Get a handle on what lies behind your food cravings
Cravings are correlated with tastes and emotional states. For example, dessert is the classic comfort food, being sweet and creamy. As you reduce your intake of dessert, you’ll gradually find out why you crave for it as you cultivate self-control, identify the triggers of your personal stress points, and learn how to relax to melt them away – and wean yourself off comfort food.
4. It’s not a diet, say fans
It’s a support structure for a healthier lifestyle that is sustainable in the long term. To be able to indulge yourself 20 per cent of the time, you’ll still need to live healthily 80 per cent of the time. How you plan to do this depends on your lifestyle needs. Talk to a certified fitness coach if you need professional advice. One outcome of the 80:20 rule is that you now become more conscious of what and how much you eat, relative to the amount of exercise you do. Plus, you don’t have to feel guilty about accepting dinner party invitations.
5. Write your own 80:20 success story
Use the basic structure to write down S.M.A.R.T goals and rules for yourself. The beauty of the 80:20 system is that it’s that easy to get started. Right now!