So you’ve succeeded in releasing excess weight from your body? Now, to stabilize for life and not gain it back…
As many other reputable weight management programs report, there is a Plan for Life that observes the 80/20 rule. In order to maintain your healthy new weight for life, we eat “clean and lean” 80% of the time. 20% of the time we allow ourselves those indulgences we abstained from while on our weight release program.
Life Phase of Healthy Weight Management: The 80/20 Rule
According to many of the health and fitness magazines, books, and blogs, many nutrition and fitness experts are recommending the 80/20 Rule – 80% of your food choices coming from whole, nutritionally dense foods (like veggies, fruits, lean protein, some whole grains) and 20% from the things you enjoy that might not be the best for your body (like birthday cake, milkshake, a martini, a beer, buttered white bread, loaded baked potato). There is a lot of reasoning to support approaching healthy eating in this way. Here are the values of this way of living in relationship to food:
- You don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to be perfect. Psychologically you need some wiggle room in your relationship with food. If you don’t have space for allowed/planned indulgence you might be setting yourself up for an emotional crash and binge followed by further emotional crashing. Terrible cycle to fall into.
- 80/20 Plan promotes lifestyle you can live with. Though 80/20 provides wiggle room it also provides structure. Structure allows for the wonderful thing called consistency. Consistency helps us get and maintain healthy results. When you don’t feel deprived, you can actually live with this plan. Lifestyle not diet fad.
- No more crazed obsessing about weight loss, dieting and food cravings. This plan enables you to know there is room in your life to have those naughty foods and drinks. You plan for them though. You work them into your schedule and you stay on track. No more head-games. You indulge in a planned evening of Mexican food and margaritas and the next day you get back to your clean-n-lean eating way of life.
So what does 20% look like? How do you divide that time?
A good rule is to have a day of indulgence and get back to clean-n-lean for at least 3 days – preferably 5.
Try never to have two days in a row of indulgence. 1 day of indulgence every 5 days is 20% of the time.
Or you could go out for Mexican or Italian and eat fatty, carb-laden foods with Sangria or wine every Saturday night and then one other day during the week have a piece of chocolate cake.
Do NOT make your 20% a binge….Bingeing is unhealthy on many levels and is a sign something is out of balance.
If you’re inclined to do that, you have some emotional issues around food that need to be addressed with a professional counselor (I can provide referrals to some excellent colleagues of mine!)
With this plan we do have wiggle room in our eating habits and we do not have to be perfect, but that we also must remain mindful.
We can’t just claim balance without really considering what we put into our bodies. Do what works for you, but remain mindful…so you can consistently give your body the best in a way you can do for life.