If you need to lose weight, chances are you’re not only considering exercise—but also which diet to try. But depending on your goals, the best way to lose weight might be simply to focus on a balanced diet. Eat healthy whole foods, with lots of raw fruits and veggies; get just enough protein; and avoid too many processed carbohydrates and unhealthy fats.
Nutritionists call this the “80/20” lifestyle. Essentially, an 80/20 lifestyle means focusing on eating the right amount of healthy food 80% of the time, and indulge the other 20%. So, if you normally eat three meals a day, you can “cheat” three times a week. If you follow the increasingly popular regime of eating smaller meals more frequently (say five times a day), then you can indulge about seven times a week.
Bay Area athlete and lifestyle blogger Krista Stryker, sums up the 80/20 benefits this way: “In life and nutrition, it’s all about finding a balance. Because as much as you know that proper nutrition will get you the body you want, boost your performance and allow you to live a long, healthy, active life, you also want to be able to just live. And the 80/20 principle allows you to do that.”
This doesn’t mean that you should go out of your way to gorge 20% of the time. But it does mean that you can eat out with friends and savor your favorite foods without feeling guilty and remorseful. It means you can accept a slice of birthday cake, a glass of champagne, or that yummy dessert you’ve been yearning for. An 80/20 approach can help you slim down and feel good—and stick with a healthier lifestyle.