To be able to lose weight by eating cake, alfajores, roasts and ice cream. Without guilt or anxiety. No pecking. Without going hungry. In a field where everything seems to be black or white (either you eat what you like and you get fat, or you take care of yourself and you lose weight), the proposals in the field of nutrition that adhere to the “no diet” can be difficult to understand. However, if you analyze it, it almost borders on common sense: if you eat consciously and carefully most of the time, you can eat “not so healthy” sometimes.

This is precisely what the 80/20 rule proposes: eat 80 percent in a “healthy, careful and measured” way, and be able to reserve what one likes a lot -but knows that it does not do so well- for 20 percent. remaining cent.

Because, as Laura Romano, its creator, explains, the diets that are furthest removed from people’s social habits and tastes are probably the ones that make them lose weight the most, but also those that are abandoned (and generate a rebound effect) more easily .

And continuity is precisely one of the keys. “Many times it is guilt that leads us to do everything wrong. Perhaps you have been having an impeccable week, and on Sunday your family got together to eat a barbecue, and you couldn’t say no to the chorizo, the salami, the dessert that your grandmother did, and that makes you feel tremendous guilt and that that week you abandon the diet “, exemplifies Laura, who has a degree in Nutrition, author of” Diets have an end “, and creator of Integral Nutrition.

“With the 80/20 guilt disappears, it is contemplated that you eat what you like in the week, I tell my patients that they deserve that 20, for having done things well most of the time,” he adds.

The 80-20 method

Romano says that when she told her patients that if they ate well most of the time, they could eat “not so well” sometimes, they filled her with questions: “How many times? How much? How often? What do you mean? Can I eat everything? “

Compared to the ultra-regulated diets most people are used to, putting a number on it and a way of organizing it helped her get her message across.

“I felt that the concept was very up in the air. And then I was inspired by Pareto’s law, which is an economic rule that says that 80 percent of the results are given by 20 percent of your effort, I was interested in the concept that a small thing gives you most of your profit, “he details.

But, how to transfer it to the field of food? How to organize time according to percentages? As Romano explains, you have to think about how many meals we eat in the week, having breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. If we multiply it by the days of the week, it gives 28.

So, of all those occasions in which we sit down to eat, thinking that if we eat 23 meals “properly”, and we leave only five to be able to relax, not be thinking about what and how much we eat, we can continue taking care of ourselves without guilt. no restrictions. Taking the percentages to a year, we would be 10 months taking care of ourselves, and two not.

“People do not understand how to lose weight you can eat something that makes you fat five times a week. But if you eat 23 meals well and 5 poorly, it is not representative, except that those five meals are done excessively, neither is the idea it’s that your stomach hurts from eating every time you don’t take care of yourself “, clarifies Romano.

Although it could be thought that the difficulty of the method lies precisely in how to control that 20 percent of freedom in what one can eat what they want, Romano says that the problem is usually in the 80.

“To a patient who has been eating excessively at all meals, I do not set limits at 20 percent, because otherwise I feel that the idea of ​​a restriction is generated in the head and the objective is that in that 20 percent of sometimes you don’t have to be thinking about food, that you can eat the same thing that you had been eating before, let it be your freedom, “he says.

And precisely one of the most interesting things is that if you can do 80 well, 20 ends up self-regulating. “Those people who in 1980 began to register, to control the portion, to reduce it, to realize that one more plate was not necessary, without wanting to, even if you did not tell them that they had to control the 20th, they began to do it”, gets excited.

How to eat right 80 percent of the time

Although it is impossible to give rules so that 80 percent apply to all, since Laura recommends making a consultation to customize the plan according to weight, habits and objectives, there are some keys that can apply to most.

The first is to try that most of the time we incorporate quality nutrients that provide satiety. Therefore, ideally half of the plate could be vegetables, and carbohydrates and proteins occupy the other half.

The second is to measure the quantity: if it is a very large plate, leave a few fingers from the edge before filling it.

And the third is to have a satiety record, and to be able to stop a little before feeling very satisfied, that portion that one eats only because something is tasty, or to finish the dish.

Also, keep in mind that both quality and quantity matter.

“You do not have to go from one extreme to the other, it is not that pasta makes you fat and tomatoes lose weight. It happens a lot that we see people who on a diet make divine dishes in the 1980s, but they do not control the quantity, and if the goal is to lower weight must be reduced, because the carbohydrate of the vegetables adds you, the protein of the chicken adds you, the fruit also, then it is to generate a balance “, he proposes.

Keys to start applying the method

✔ In 80 percent of the time, if we want to put numbers, we would say 23 meals a week, leave a little hole in the belly before filling ourselves, especially at lunch and dinner, because breakfast and snack are usually lighter .

✔ Leave the unhealthy, the overdone, for social events and weekends. Identify if the relationship with food improves.

✔ Make breakfast and a snack, do not skip them because the snack for example is what prevents us from snacking and overeating at night.

✔Eat 3, 4, 5 times a week not so healthy and without guilt. Because if the other 80 is healthy, measured and controlled, we can lose weight a lot and without realizing it.

✔Reduce the portion: make sure that half of the plate has vegetables, and start eating the same as you have been eating, but less.

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