Enjoy a Healthy Lifestyle with the 80/20 Rule

As we all know, achieving a healthy weight can significantly reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases while increasing your quality of life and longevity.

This does not mean that you should “go on a diet” and then once you have reached your weight loss goal; go back to your old eating habits. The key to maintaining a healthy weight is to make healthy lifestyle changes. Listed below are some basic, but beneficial changes you could make to your lifestyle that will inevitably lead to successful weight loss.

  • Do not drink your calories. Choose water as your main beverage source and aim for a minimum of 64 oz. per day.
  • Always eat 3 meals per day. Do not skip meals or go long periods of time without eating.
  • Eat well-balanced meals consisting of a lean protein, non-starchy vegetables and/or fruit, and a whole grain.
  • Fill ½ of your plate with non-starchy vegetables and/or fruit.
  • Prepare most of your meals at home and limit dining out.
  • Limit fried foods. Instead choose to bake, grill, boil, broil, roast, smoke, or slow cook your food.
  • Limit sugar and concentrated sweets. Instead choose fresh fruit or yogurt for snacks.
  • Meal plan and make a grocery shopping list weekly.
  • Take your time and eat slowly since it takes 20 minutes for your brain to recognize you are full.
  • Read food labels and focus particularly on the serving sizes.
  • Use measuring cups and spoons to ensure adequate portion control.
  • Incorporate physical activity into your daily lifestyle by going for a walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from the store, playing a sport, dancing, etc.

If you would like to conquer these goals, pick 2 or 3 each week and master them.

Once you have incorporated them into your daily lifestyle, pick 2 more. Before you know it, you will be doing them all without hesitation. I would also like to mention that you can still eat some of your favorite foods in moderation.

My general rule of thumb is to try to make healthy choices 80% of the time, which will allow you to have some of those “not so healthy foods” 20% of the time. This way you do not feel deprived and can maintain healthy eating habits.

Remember to always make realistic goals, so you can achieve them and maintain them long-term. Now, you are already on the road for successful weight loss.

Mary Nocera, RD
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