So what exactly is The 80/20 Diet? I designed this lifestyle based on my life as both a chef and fitness figure competitor when I needed to shred body fat and sculpt my body. The philosophy is straight forward: Fill your plate with antioxidant-rich wholefoods 80 per cent of the time, and enjoy your favourite, slightly less nutritious foods for the remaining 20 per cent.
No ingredients or food groups are off-limits in The 80/20 Diet. Instead, the attention is placed on making the majority of your choices healthy ones. This lifestyle allowed me to compete at The Australian National Fitness Figure Championships, coming 2nd in Australia.
Compared to many diets, 80/20 is a lot less restrictive. This is why diets fail – people can’t sustain strict eating regimes for long periods of time, so they give up. My secret to losing body fat is to follow the 80/20 dietary approach. This involves consuming a variety of fresh seasonal plant-based wholefoods, accompanied with lean protein and healthy fats MOST OF THE TIME.
Other key principles of The 80/20 Diet is less inter-meal snacking, enjoying small portions of your favourite foods in moderation, and indulging in healthier versions of your favourite foods or sweet treats that will help keep you sane and enable you to sustain a healthy, lifelong diet.
At it’s core, The 80/20 Diet is designed to burn fat in 12 weeks. If you want to lose fat, you need to concentrate on these 10 things:
THE 10 RULES OF THE 80/20 DIET
1. SHOP WISELY
Plan your meals for the week, including healthy snacks. This way you’ll avoid impulse buying and take away foods. Don’t go shopping if you’re hungry as this leads to poor food choices. When you’re in the supermarket, shop around the outside perimeter for the fresh produce and try to spend less time in the aisles. Read food labels! Just because the box says it’s healthy, gluten-free or low fat, that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
2. KEEP IT SIMPLE
Healthy eating and weight loss all starts in the kitchen. Just by making a few simple changes to the ingredients you choose, how you cook them and your portion size, you can make improvements to your health and wellbeing that can last a lifetime.
3. EAT THE RIGHT WAY
Focus on eating wholefoods such as fresh vegetables, leafy greens, protein, fruits, nuts, seeds and healthy fats such as avocado or extra virgin olive oil. Don’t be afraid of eating a little fat when losing fat! Your body needs a little of the good fats, like those found in avocados, olives, nuts and seeds. They can help to facilitate weight loss by keeping you fuller for longer. Also avoid starving yourself during the day as this will often lead to evening time gluttony which is one of the major factors in weight gain.
4. DRINK WATER
Our bodies are over 70 per cent water and we need it in order to maintain our body’s day-to-day functions as well as to distribute nutrients, flush out toxins and prime the body for fat loss.
A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that overweight middle-aged and older adults who drank 2 cups of water before each meal lost 2 1/2 kilos more than a group of dieters who didn’t increase their water intake.
5. YOU NEED TO REV UP YOUR METABOLISM
Our basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the speed with which the body burns kilojoules, which can drop as we age. This is mainly due to loss of hormone production, loss of skeletal muscle and a more sedentary lifestyle. Our BMR drops but our eating habits often stay the same — that’s why many of us gain body fat in our thirties and fourties.
Your metabolic rate can be controlled by what you eat and the lifestyle choices you make. Some factors to support a healthy metabolism include resistance training, cardio, getting enough sleep and the foods you eat.
6. DO RESISTANCE TRAINING
Resistance training is important in any weight-loss program. While cardio will get you fit and help you lose body fat, weight training will help you to increase your metabolic rate by encouraging the growth of lean muscle mass. (Muscle is a metabolically active tissue, which burns energy not only during exercise but also at increased levels in the hour or so after exercise and also during the day.) It’s one of the best ways to shape and sculpt your body, and to encourage your body to utilise more fat as fuel.
It’s important to note that weight training is not all about lifting heavy weights in the gym and looking like a body builder. Women in particular require light weight with higher repetition in order to tone their body perfectly.
7. SLEEP WELL
Good quality sleep is essential for the body and mind to revive, repair and recharge. Experts say that if you want to lose weight, you need to get enough sleep. Specifically, researchers have reported that short sleepers increase their risk for obesity.
People who sleep for 5 hours or less per night also have a greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome, also known as insulin resistance.
8. EAT AT HOME MORE OFTEN
I love making my own food from fresh ingredients. Stats show that people who don’t cook at home tend to eat less healthy food and be heavier than people who do. In fact, experts argue that the collapse of cooking in society correlates very closely with the rise in obesity levels.
The most common excuse for people not cooking is that they ‘don’t have the time’, but the best recipes are often the easiest and quickest to make. Try out a new recipe each week from my cookbooks The 80/20 Diet or Purely Delicious to add to your repertoire. All the recipes are quick, simple and delicious.
9. STOP COUNTING CALORIES
I once did a trial on myself in my early 20’s where I consumed various foods to see on how they affected my weight. I noticed that if I just focused on calories and ate poorly, then I felt miserable and I also gained body weight even through it was around 1200 calories. When I ate healthy fresh foods, I felt energised and ready to take on the world – I even lost more weight! From a metabolic perspective, not all calories are equal.
It’s important not to get too obsessed with calorie counting for weight loss. Not only can this be tiresome and difficult, but it can lead to making bad nutritional choices that are often high in sugar and preservatives with the nutritional value of a piece of cardboard.
10. EAT A LITTLE PROTEIN WITH EACH MEAL
Proteins are made up of amino acids and are essential nutrients that you can’t live without. Whenever the body is growing, repairing or replacing tissue, proteins are involved. They are found in your skin, bones, muscle and all your organ tissue. In addition, they are used to produce hormones, enzymes and haemoglobin that carries oxygen in the blood.
Eating a little protein with each meal will help to keep you fuller for longer and maintain a positive nitrogen balance, which will help to preserve muscle tissue. And having more lean muscle keeps your metabolic rate elevated.
How much protein do we need?
The RDI (recommended daily intake) for protein basically covers the need for building, repairing and maintaining the body. It varies slightly depending on your age, weight and activity level. The average person would aim to eat around 1 g per kilo of body weight per day. For weight loss, around 80-120 g of protein per day is ideal. To find out how much you need, check with our Protein Calculator.
Losing weight and being healthy requires dedication to work on all aspects of yourself for it to be effective. Eating the right foods, getting regular exercise and making the right lifestyle choices are the key ingredients for staying lean and at a healthy weight. Your body is a finely tuned machine that needs the right nutritional balance accompanied with adequate exercise and rest. So remember to keep anything you do in balance.
AUSTRALIA’S BESTSELLING 80/20 DIET IS AVAILABLE AS HARD COPY OR E-BOOK
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