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80/20 Rule

If you've know me or have read my blog long enough, you know I like the less healthy finer food choices in life. When I began to lose weight, I knew all the delicious "junk food" would have to go but I knew completely cutting it out of my life was setting me up for failure. I had tried in the past to cut them out completely and then would begin to crave them and over indulge. This time around, I knew better and knew that, for me, it wasn't the way to go. Instead, I told myself I would still allow those treats in my diet but I needed to allow them in moderation.

But just how much is enough? I adopted the 80/20. Most people know about the 80/20 rule but for those don't, it's a "rule" where you eat healthy 80% of the time and you can eat unhealthy 20% of the time. Sounds simple doesn't it? I have 21 meals each week so 4 meals each week can be whatever I want, right? No. It doesn't really work out to well for you if you choose to do it that way. Using that logic, you could find yourself eating a day's worth of calories for each of those meals if you go out to eat and aren't careful.

A good way to make sure you're not going over 20% is to indulge on only 20% of your calories. When losing or even maintaining your weight, it helps to know how many calories you should be eating each day. Without knowing how much you should be eating every day, you might find yourself eating too little or too much. Once you know how many calories you should be eating, you can then begin to use one of two methods to decide on how you want to divide up your calories.

20% of daily calorie allowance

Once you know how many calories you should be eating each day, you can then figure out how many fall into the 80% and how many fall into the 20%.

For example, let's say you should be eating 1400 calories per day.

1,400 (daily calorie allowance) x .8 (percent of your healthy calories) = 1,120 of your calories should be healthy calories every day.

1,400 (total calories) - 1,120 (healthy calories) = 280 indulgent calories

The remaining 280 calories can be made up of your indulgences. Maybe some of that chocolate you've been craving or a small piece of cake at your co-workers going away party. Something to satisfy that craving you've been having.

I love this method because it allows you to have a little treat each day if you choose. Of course, you may have days where you don't want that treat and that's totally fine. Good for you! This method just allows you work one in each day.

20% of our weekly calories

Another method you can try is making not allowing yourself to go over 20% of your weekly calorie allowance with your indulgence.

Sticking with the 1400 calorie per day example:

1400 (calories per day) x 7 days per week = 9,800 total calories per week

9,800 (calories per week) x .80 (percent of calories that should be healthy) = 7,840 healthy calories 

9,800 (calories per week) - 7,840 (healthy calories) = 1,960 indulgent calories

Wow! That's a lot of indulgent calories, but this could be especially helpful if you're going out to eat with friends on a Saturday night and you don't want to be quite so careful or you if you're have a party to go to. The trick with this method it make sure you don't go over your total calories for the week, which could be easy to do if you're not careful.

I personally choose the method 20% daily method. I like being able to have a small treat each day and I know I won't go over my calories. When I do choose my treats, I try to choose ones that are better for me though. I might choose snacks like Popchips, or dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. I'll go for homemade cookies or cake over processed store-bought (and homemade always tastes better).

I found that moderation was the key to my success, so hopefully it's the key to yours as well. 

Do you follow the 80/20 rule? How do you interpret the rule?


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