In my opinion, the 80:20 rule is the only “DIET RULE” to follow.. let me explain:
“If you eat healthily 80% of the time,
then you can afford to indulge/treat yourself 20% of the time’”
We all at some point will experience cravings and/or visit social events where high calorie, tasty foods are on offer. This means that eating healthy 100% of the time can be difficult/impossible, and it isn’t necessary for health either.. there is no such thing as food and bad foods.. just good and bad diets; it’s all about how frequently ‘junk foods’ appear, that’s all! Think MODERATION, not DEPRIVATION!
The 80:20 rule means that you can be flexible with your diet and can live your life with a healthy balance i.e. eating mainly healthy whole foods with the odd indulgence here and there! Damage Limitation NOT Deprivation is key when it comes to our indulgences.
For example, you may write a healthy meal plan for the week, buy in healthy foods and aim to have 3 healthy meals a day (with 2-3 healthy snacks if needed).. then if a craving hits and you REALLY fancy say a biscuit then have one! Just make sure that it’s not 5 biscuits and a regular thing (or the rule will end up being 70:30 etc.). Your ‘20%’ could be a small evening chocolate treat or it may be a ‘cheat day’ if you’re disciplined enough to eat healthily the other 6 days of the week.
The key is to AVOID “ALL OR NOTHING” thinking. A slip-up in your healthy eating plan isn’t a problem, but your reaction could be! Instead, pull out the 80:20 rule and go easy on yourself.
Good luck for your goals and remember.. if you have a ‘treat’ savor it, enjoy it and DON’T feel guilty about it.. treats CAN feature in a healthy balanced diet but the key is moderation (and of course how many calories you’re burning off!).