The 80/20 Diet – How to Eat Whatever You Want
If you could really pay attention to how food makes you feel, you’d never want to eat junk. But at the same time you’d learn to eat whatever you want, whenever you want.
I have stressed out in my previous articles that I practice mindful eating and I don’t feel like eating junk food anymore. It is because I have learned how various foods impact my mood, energy, spirit and digestion. Owing to which I have also been able to incorporate my favorite foods into my diet.
It’s 11pm as I am writing this post with a glass of milk next to me which is after I stuffed myself with Alfredo pasta with extra cheese, two chocolate chip cookies with peanut butter and two mangoes.
How to Eat Whatever You Want
I hate the word diet. The common trend in most of the famous diets is cutting down on food. You are not supposed to eat most of the food items, especially the ones you like the most.
I now prefer to eat as my intuition suggests or at other times by balancing out my macros. Of course, it took me a while to be able to listen to my body’s demands. That was after starting and failing at a couple of diets. I have followed strict discipline and diet routines in the past which often ended by binge eating.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about dieting?
Small chunks of dull, drab and bland food including a lot of salad. And then sticking to this plain monotonous diet even if it makes you starve for more than half of the day.
While badly craving for your favorite foods, you decide to include a ‘cheat day’ in your diet plan where you can eat anything you want on that one day of the week. But often this cheat day becomes a cheat week.
You don’t get any result and as your body gets devoid of nutrients you become mentally and emotionally exhausted which results in excessive snacking on high carb foods.
Skipping meals or eliminating food from your diet isn’t going to make you better. Don’t punish your body.
The majority of people think skipping the meals is a short-cut to weight loss or a healthy living, without realizing the other factors that come into play.
Diets can negatively impact your hormone levels.
Basal Metabolic Rate – Let’s say you were able to successfully cut a few hundred calories off your day by skipping a meal or two. How much weight do you think you can lose? Considering that your body will adapt well in few days to run on a low-calorie diet by slowing down your metabolic rate and also considering those cheat days.
As you cut down on food you devoid your body of many essential nutrients which are essential for optimal body functions.
Diet – Cut off Foods
IIFYL – If it Fits Your Lifestyle
Instead of focusing on what isn’t allowed in your diet you include nutritious foods into your diet. You focus on healthier choices that fit your lifestyle.
My breakfast was 4 whole eggs omelet with veggies. Afternoon snack was protein shake with an apple. At around 5 pm I had 7 egg whites with some greek yogurt and cucumber salad.
Proteins are hard to digest and vegetables are negative calorie foods. You burn more calories to digest them. In spite of the carb loaded dinner, my net calorie intake for the day was in line with my body’s daily requirement.
Breakfast & Lunch. Day after day, month after month. Eggs are superfoods. Everyone who knows me knows eggs are like my staple. For most people it might be boring eating the same food over and over. But it's easier to be on your track when you know what you have to eat. No confusion, no meal preps. Eggs are so versatile and easy to cook. Toss in some cheese, veggies and sauce and you got it all covered #staystrong . .
Everyone who knows me knows eggs are my staple food. For most people, it might be boring eating the same food over and over again but it’s easier to be on track when you know what you have to eat.
Eggs are superfoods. They are less in calories and high in protein. They are versatile and easy to cook. Toss in some cheese, veggies and sauces and you are done.
Varying the macros gets easier with eggs. As you remove the yolk you cut fats(calories) making more room for carb intake.
Adopt Fitness as a Lifestyle – Flexible Dieting
It is difficult to stick to a single diet. Every new diet promises easier, better, and faster results.
After you pick up a diet which looks like the least complicated one, you then have to mess up your normal routine, plan and incorporate numerous changes, avoid any kind of forbidden indulgences, and wait for a long time to see results.
But usually, all diets have restrictions which aren’t practical enough to stick with. Resisting something can be difficult but making a choice over the other has its own merits. It’s empowering.
Dieting doesn’t mean denial. Don’t obsess over what you can eat and what you can’t eat, instead concentrate on improving your food habits over the longer term.
Understand the difference between hunger and desire
Eat what you like, in controlled portions. Have freedom over your food choices and make sure you include exercises and sports in your routine.
I have a sweet tooth I eat anything that has chocolate in it. But I keep my cravings for dinner mostly and I eat it slowly.
Yes, you need to eat right (clean) but it doesn’t mean you have to steer clear off your favorite foods.
Learn how your body responds to different foods and how you can fit your favorite foods into your lifestyle. Eat your favorite foods but do not snack all day long on it.
There is no concept of ‘clean eating’. Everyone has set their respective standards, everyone has their own definitions.
Follow the same old 80/20 rule. Eat clean and healthy food 80% of the times and enjoy your guilty pleasures whenever you want.
For a sedentary individual weighing 180 lbs, daily calorie requirement is 2200 calories approx. 80% - 1760 calories of your calories should come from clean foods. 20% - 440 calories can be from your favorite foods. Yes you can have a chocolate bar every day!
Calories in vs Calories out
In due course, it’s always going to be calorie in vs calorie out when it comes to losing weight.
I do a couple of more things to keep my calories in check:
- Doing a few extra sets in the gym
- 5-10 minute of HIIT (Treadmill blast)
- Intermittent fasting : Simply skipping breakfast on a Sunday morning with BCAA
Tip- Make a list of foods that you mostly eat. Include 5 protein rich foods to it. Now write down their calories and protein content. You can download MyFitnessPal app on your mobile.
Replace portions of carbs/fats in your diet with these protein rich foods. You should strategically target to add more and more protein to each of your meal.
If you workout, plan your macros like this:
- Protein + Fats for Breakfast
- Protein + Carbs for Pre/Post workout
- Protein + moderate Carbs and Fats for Dinner
Eat whatever you want but don’t succumb to temptations. Cravings can be intense but they pass away with time.
Flexible dieters don’t just eat a bunch of crap the whole day just because they have their 20% excuse. You need to plan out your 20% carefully, whether you choose to indulge on the weekends only or enjoy a small treat every day is up to you and your lifestyle, but what is more important is the healthy 80%.
Nutrition is a system of checks and balances. Eat smart but don’t reward yourself with food. You can lose weight while eating what you love.
Recommended reading – Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat
This approach is more flexible and promotes easy and comfortable eating. You do not have to cut down your cravings unless you want extreme results.
Enjoy your food and get healthy.