Perhaps you’ve read about this mysterious thing that’s been going on, called the 80/20 diet, which has been name-dropped by celebrities such as Gisele Bundchen, Olivia Munn, and Miranda Kerr. But what is it really? We let you know.
The 80/20 diet isn’t exactly a diet, but a sort of lifestyle principle. It simply states that you can lose weight and remain healthy if you are careful about what you eat for 80 percent of the time. Or 4 out of 5 times.
What does healthy mean, exactly?
That’s the whole thing, really. Because the 80/20 diet is, in fact, a philosophy. And the best part is that you are the philosopher. This meal plan is yours to customize. Its whole point is eliminating guilt if you treat yourself sometimes. But what healthy means remains up to you and the actual diet or meal plan you are following.
The 20 part of the 80/20 diet is basically allowing yourself to fulfill your cravings so they do not bottle up and then explode in an unstoppable binge-eating (link) episode.
Some of the celebrities who follow this philosophy use their “free pass” to consume meat and bread in an otherwise no carb vegetarian diet. Or they go for 80 percent raw veganism with 20 percent cooked food.
Does the 80/20 diet forbid anything?
No. Practically anything goes. You can eat a burger or a whole cheesy pizza, as long as you keep it balanced with the healthier options from your menu.
And it just takes off the pressure of having to stick to the plan 100 percent of the time. Because perfection is not only unachievable but also a bit boring and predictable. Because maybe sometimes you want to go out with your friends and share a dessert. Or maybe you want to have a glass of red wine and a tub of ice-cream after a long, difficult day. And what you need least after a difficult day is a portion of guilt and shame because you broke the “holy promise” of your diet.
Moderation, moderation, moderation
The beauty of the 80/20 diet or philosophy is that it preaches moderation and staying away from extremes, such as orthorexia (link) or a tendency for binge-eating (link). It’s about feeling satisfied and good in your own skin.
The rule may seem vague, but you can do some flexible math on it! Three meals a day, for seven days, means 21 meals a week. Therefore, you can have about 4 “happy meals” every week. But don’t be rigid about it, because that’s the 80/20 philosophy!