The 80/20 Diet – Eat Healthy and Have Your Cake, Too!

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Published: March 28, 2022

It’s a simple idea. You can eat healthy 80% of the time, but you can also have freedom on other days- 20% of your time. It’s a great compromise. If you crave sweets, you can have them! This diet is not that’s strict, and its very individual. You can adjust it to your liking, so most people consider it to be more of a mindset than a regular diet. You will have more freedom with your meals, however, you will have to keep track of your progress at all times. The process and the way it will affect your weight can vary from person to person.  DubaiPT will show you its pros and cons, along with what you can and can’t eat, plus a shopping list that will help you stay on your journey.

Can the 80/20 diet really help you lose weight?

The 80/20 diet, which emphasizes a healthy, balanced diet with a few splurges or cheat days, may help you lose a few pounds if you try cutting down on fattening foods and watching how much you eat. The more calories you burn, the more weight you can lose. However, to lose weight, a diet isn’t enough to achieve your weight loss goals. Exercise 30 minutes a day, a couple of days of the week, to help your body burn more calories than you consume. By exercising and following our weight loss diets plan, you will for sure live a healthier life- and lose weight too!

The 80/20 Diet can help you lose weight
Staying on a diet in order to lose weight doesn’t have to be as strict as you might have thought

Find out what you can and what you can’t eat

The 80/20 diet technically allows you to eat anything you like. As long as your healthy foods are 80% of your meals, and the rest are snacks and cravings- you should be good. The 80% nutrition plan is only effective if you consume a variety of foods that are nutrient-rich. Eat whole grains, for example. Fiber, vitamins, minerals, and some protein are all found in whole grains, which provide carbohydrates for energy. You will often find them in this athlete meal plan DubaiPT offers, as exercising requires a lot of energy.

Whole foods like fruits and vegetables contain key nutrients. Moreover, they’re naturally low in calories and provide dietary fiber. When it comes to meat and protein. Try to keep it as lean as possible. Try to avoid trans fats- they are not good for your health.

What should you avoid then?

On an 80/20 diet, there is no food you can’t eat, although you should consume only 20% of unhealthy foods. The key is eating carbs and sugar in moderation. It’s the same with saturated fats. It’s okay to eat a little pasta or white bread, just don’t eat the whole loaf. You should also limit processed foods to a minimum.

Benefits of staying on the 80/20 Diet

Dieting is not easy, but it definitely comes with some pros. The 80/20 diet is easy to do. It’s not very restrictive, and you won’t be starving all the time. You can eat all the meals you usually would if you keep the proportion going. Only 20% of your meal are sweets, candy, and snacks.

With this diet, you really don’t have to avoid any kind of food. Everything is okay to eat and enjoy, just not all the time. You also don’t have to count. Your meals, calories, daily intake-non of it. You can forget about food diaries, and be more relaxed in your day-to-day routine.

Cheesecake with berries
While maintaining the 80/20 Diet, you can even eat a piece or two of your favorite cake

Because you consume nutritious foods 80 percent of the time, you learn about healthy habits. This diet really promotes moderation and healthy cooking. However, besides 80% of healthy consumption, you will be able to indulge in a cake on birthdays, or snacks while enjoying a movie.

There are no foods that are forbidden or restricted in this diet, so anyone can follow it. If you are a vegan or have allergies this diet can work for you. Eating this way allows you to keep a positive attitude about food and enjoy your meals.

The 80/20 Diet has its cons

People might think that this diet is too easy. They can easily fall into the misconception that they can eat whatever whenever. Overindulging or overeating is not allowed by the 80/20 rule. Moderation is still important on your relaxed days. All that has changed is that you are less rigid with your food choices. After dinner, you might enjoy a cupcake or ice coffee with whipped cream. However, if you take them together, or eat 3 or 4 cupcakes, you won’t be losing weight any time soon. Sticking to an eating plan requires stricter rules. Otherwise, this diet isn’t for you.

Feet on a scale
If you eat too much and don’t practice moderation, you won’t see any drop in your weight loss

In the beginning, the 80/20 diet will most likely help you lose weight if you currently eat high-fat, high-calorie foods every day. Afterward, in most cases, you will have to choose lower-calorie foods. This will lead to eating fewer calories and losing weight overall. It’s unlikely you’ll see a calorie deficit large enough to cause weight loss if your current diet is relatively healthy. You might want to stick to your current diet. If you want to lose weight, you might need to adjust your caloric intake and energy balance.

Shopping for groceries made easy

Many people avoid dieting as they dread the thought of shopping lists, what to buy and what not to buy. You don’t have to buy or avoid any particular foods when following this diet. This is why so many people love it. However, while shopping, be sure to choose healthy, whole foods and have a few indulgences. Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list, and other foods may suit you better.

  • vegetables: kale, leafy greens, potatoes, carrots, zucchini
  • fruit: all kinds of citruses and barriers, melons and bananas
  • whole grains: popcorn, oats, quinoa, or rice are great for the 80/20 diet
  • protein: chicken and beef, but also nuts, soy, and eggs
  • dairy: fat-free milk, yogurt, or nut milks

If you want a tailor-made meal plan, in order to have more efficient shopping, you should definitely check out the healthy meal plans Dubai nutritionists can prepare for you.

Popcorns in a plastic bowl
Popcorn is a great low-calorie snack that you can enjoy without feeling guilty

Ways to prepare food for the 80/20 diet

Now that you got everything from the list, you should figure out a healthy way to prepare it. When consuming vegetables, you can add them to salads, eat them as a side dish, or even as an entree. Color is a good indicator of nutrient content. The flavors will mostly come from steaming, sautéing, roasting, or grilling them. However, you should watch your intake of fats and salts when cooking. When preparing foods like bread, always go for whole grains. Keep in mind that refined grains like white flour are often used in baked goods such as cakes and cookies. Such items may spike blood sugar levels. An adult should consume three ounces of grains every day- no more.

Is this diet a healthy choice for you?

The 80/20 diet, because of its flexibility and lack of restriction, is in line with expert guidelines, sharing similar effects with other gradual weight-loss plans. Most experts suggest consuming roughly 1500 calories a day for women and 2000 calories a day for men for weight loss, but these numbers are flexible. They depend on age, how much you exercise etc. The 80-20 diet isn’t right for everyone, which is another reason to consult with your doctor or nutritionist. There are some diseases that can be made worse by eating too much salt, fat, or sugar, so splurging on a meal can be harmful to some people.

It’s important to exercise as well

To lose weight, its crucial to have an active life, and exercise. The diet alone will not help. Try to exercise and stay active during the week to help your body burn more calories than it takes in. Building muscle with weightlifting and pushups helps burn calories all day long. It’s a great choice to work with a female bodybuilder personal trainer, and have a routine to help you gain strength. A walk around the block after lunch is a great way to stay active if you cannot visit the gym. There are no excuses.

Measuring tape and strawberries
Only by working out while dieting will you be able to lose some centimeters- plus, you will feel amazing

Tips for your cheat days- the 20%

You can enjoy yourself within reason after you’ve eaten healthily during the week. At lunch, you might indulge in french fries, at dinner you might drink a can of soda, or for dessert you might choose ice cream. Be careful not to overdo it, as overdoing it can ruin all your hard work. The approach to cheat day idea is very important. It gives you the opportunity to enjoy yourself a bit, a couple of days a week.

You shouldn’t view your meals as punishments or rewards. Celebrate both the healthy foods you eat and the treats you indulge in. The bottom line is, you should make smart decisions. Don’t label your food as good or bad, because no food is truly bad. Even a healthy snack can make you gain weight if you eat too much of it.

Tips on approaching the 80/20 Diet

Each of us is unique. Depending on the person, some may enjoy eating freely at the end of the week, while others prefer to indulge every day. Don’t hesitate to discuss it with your doctor or a dietitian. Remember to enjoy your 20% indulgence in moderation if you’re following this diet to lose weight. Overdoing the 20% can lead to weight gain. You will gain weight if you overeat anything.

It is possible that you may have to make adjustments if you are not losing weight with the 80/20 diet. Additional exercise or calorie counting might be the next step. You can also they one of our Dubai Paleo Diet Meal Plan, and combine it with an 80/20 diet. There are many approaches, but the most important one is to make it personal.

Writing on a paper
The 80/20 diet is not restricting, so you can forget about counting days until you can indulge in your favorite cake

What does it look like in reality?

Healthy, nutrient-dense foods from your shopping list will make up the majority of your meals and snacks. In the afternoon, you can reach for a snack, a bag of chips, or for dessert- you can eat a few pieces of dark chocolate. But remember, if you want to lose weight you cannot eat a whole pan of brownies, even if all your other meals were super healthy. It’s still all about 20 percent of “good” foods and 20 percent of “bad” foods in the diet.

On a weekly basis, follow a more strict calorie intake. For 5 days of the week, try to make healthy choices, but don’t skip meals. You might be tempted to break your diet, but remember your final goal. When the weekend comes, you can go out for a soda drink, and eat a bag of chips on a movie night. Nothing is forbidden, as long as you stay moderate. You can be more relaxed but throw out the window the previous five days. Your weight loss goals won’t be met by overindulging on your 20 percent days, such as when you eat fast food every meal.

DubaiPT Personal Trainers have the advice for you

Maintaining healthy eating habits can be achieved by following the 80/20 diet. It allows for both balance and indulgence, making it the diet of choice for many. Our goal is to advise our readers so they can make informed decisions about diets or sustainable weight loss methods. Losing weight doesn’t always equate to being healthy, so keep that in mind. Health can be pursued in many different ways. Your overall health is also influenced by lifestyle factors such as exercise and sleep. Always choose a diet that is well-balanced and complements your lifestyle.


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