Are you looking for a fresh start this summer? I find that a lot people make plans to eat healthily around this time but then crumble at temptation as soon as they see the cheese platter or chocolate cake.
I know that it can be mentally tough to stick to a new diet, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve long held the belief that the most important aspect of any diet is that it should be practical and deliciously healthy enough to follow. If you’re feeling hungry or deprived all the time, it’s just not going to work.
This is why my 80/20 Diet, is more of a sustainable lifestyle approach to help reach, and keep, your body shaping or weight loss goals.
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS THE 80/20 DIET?
The 80/20 Diet has been the #1 book selling book in Australia for a couple of years now. I came up with the principle when I was training for fitness figure competitions in my early 20s…..did I mention I was also a pastry chef at the time.
The ethos is pretty straightforward: Fill your plate with nutrient-rich foods (such as garden fresh vegetables; be it raw or organic or sourced from the farmers’ market) 80 per cent of the time, and enjoy your favourite, slightly less nutritious foods, the other 20 per cent.
Diets fail because people can’t sustain the strict eating regime for long periods of time, so they give up. This is why my 80/20 principle works so well – you eat a variety of nutritious and delicious foods and still get to indulge on occasion.
It’s about going back to basics and consuming a diet of fresh seasonal plant based wholefoods accompanied with lean protein – pretty much like my Great Aunt and Uncle who followed a simple diet of wholefoods. Another key principle of 80/20 is moderation and less inter-meal snacking. Enjoying small portions of your favorite foods in moderation and designing healthier versions of your favorite foods that will help keep you sane and able to sustain a healthy, lifelong diet. Regular physical activity and minimal inter-meal snacking are also part of The 80/20 diet.
THE TRIANGLE FOR SUCCESS
This pyramid illustrates the essential parts of The 80/20 Diet. While eating the right foods is important, exercise and rest are also essential to the plan.
For me exercise is about a lot more than just preventing weight gain, it’s an opportunity for me to slow down the effects of ageing, increase my energy and reduce fatigue – plus maintaining lean muscle mass.
Unfortunately, muscle shape and tone doesn’t just happen on it’s own our muscles need to be both encouraged (via exercise) and nourished (when we eat well).
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. It’s one of the best ways to encourage your body to utilise more fat as fuel.
I’m a big advocate for regular exercise, at least four – five days a week is the optimum, but if you can manage three that’s great to start. Yes most of us are all pretty stressed out these days and time poor – I sometimes have to remind myself to take the time out for number one and get some well deserved me time.
Equally as important as exercise is sleep. Not getting enough sleep means our bodies can’t repair and recover optimally, and our ability to function also becomes affected. In fact, research shows that people who don’t get enough sleep have a greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome (also known as syndrome X or insulin resistance syndrome), which can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
WHAT DOES AN IDEAL DAY ON THE 80/20 DIET LOOK LIKE?
BREAKFAST: Body Shaping Smoothie
This is the ultimate wholefood and power-packed smoothie to help you get lean, toned and looking fabulous! A delicious blend of cold-pressed and blended organic fruit and vegetables to support optimum health and nourish your body from the inside out!
LUNCH: Nicoise Salad
This is the perfect Mediterranean Salad and a rich source of omega 3, protein and antioxidants. This just takes five minutes to make so it’s perfect for lunch!
All you need is:
2 ripe roma tomatoes, chopped
1 small Lebanese cucumber, finely sliced
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 capsicum, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
fresh chopped parsley
2 handfuls leafy greens, cos lettuce is great!
180 g tuna in olive oil, drained
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
pinch salt and pepper
60 ml cold pressed olive oil
Combine salad ingredients into a bowl. Combine dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Mix through and enjoy!
DINNER: Earth Burgers
These yummy vegetarian style burgers are rich in super food antioxidants and protein to aid muscle repair and help energise your body. They are delicious hot or cold and marry well with smashed avocado and tomato salsa. I make mine using wholegrain steamed brown rice, which holds them together really well – you can also use cooked quinoa, however they are slightly more delicate.