The 80/20 diet postulates that we can’t make good food choices 100% of the time. If we were to make healthy choices 80% of the time, then 20% of the time we can indulge. This diet is sometimes called the weekend diet, but that’s a stretch of mathematics. To get a true 20% of indulgence out of your week, you’ll want to indulge for exactly 33.5 hours (about a day and a half) out of a 7 day week.

What 80% Healthy Looks Like

What do healthy choices look like? You can start by eliminating processed foods and sugars. The safest bet is to eat food that looks like the original produce. For example, most of the ingredients in a dish of stir-fried bok choy and rice are easily identified. There’s the bok choy, there’s rice, and then there’s some garlic and salt for flavor. On the other hand, you probably need to read the nutrition label to figure out what all goes into a Cheez-It.

What 20% Indulging Looks like

When you indulge, make sure you do it right! If you want sweets, go for well-made, artisan pastries and cakes. If you want meat, go for a high-quality steak. If you want pizza, go for a freshly made one with real cheese.

These types of “treats” are high in fat, sugar, and salt. A little bit goes a long way to satisfy your cravings. Many non-fat desserts, like non-fat ice cream, are full of extra sugar. So not only do you not get the fat that you’re craving, but you’re also loading up on sugar. Your body, still looking for fat, tells you to eat more… and more… and more. Until your 33.5 hours are up and you’re still feeling unhappy. Real ice cream can fix that sweet/fat tooth in half a scoop.

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