So I have great news.  You don’t have to do this diet and exercise thing perfectly to have outstanding success!  You do however have to do it right most of the time and you do have to manage how often and how dramatically you deviate from your weight loss plan.  I like to utilize a concept I call the “80% Rule” when it comes to weight loss nutrition and healthy eating in general.  The 80% Rule is really just a concept, a way of thinking.   I use it as a teaching tool to illustrate that you do not have to calculate every single calorie to make sure you are going to reach your goal, you simply need to do most things right the majority of the time.  Quite frankly, the more effort you put into calculating every single calorie and stressing over every single meal the less likely you are to create long-term weight loss success because it’s just too inconvenient to keep track of it all.  The goal is to not simply reach your weight loss goal.  We want you to create a pattern of eating and lifestyle choices that will enable you to maintain your weight loss success for life.  So let’s make it a little easier and more enjoyable!

Do it right at least 80% of the time.

For you to have success reaching your ideal weight you are going to have to get your diet and exercise program right at least 80% of the time and really in the beginning you should be shooting for closer to 90%.  How you measure that 80-90% is up to you.  Personally, I like to utilize this rule on a daily basis.  So for example, I’ll eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner but maybe I want to have a beer or glass of wine at the end of the day to unwind.  So long as I exercised, ate clean, healthy food throughout the day and managed my caloric consumption those few extra calories aren’t going to derail my overall weight loss or health goals.  Of course you could also apply this rule on a weekly basis.  Let’s say you do everything you’re supposed to Saturday – Thursday.  If you exercised daily, stuck with your weight loss eating plan, etc.  There’s no harm in taking your spouse out on Friday night to a nice dinner, having a couple of drinks and treating yourself to some dessert.  You have to have those little rewards either daily or weekly to help you motivated and reward you for doing a great job.  Interestingly, if you are like most folks, you will find that as you really start to adapt to eating a healthier diet and exercising, those “reward meals” will naturally get healthier as well.  You just won’t have as many cravings for junk food anymore.

Manage the other 20%

Now you can’t just go totally off the rails when it comes to rewarding yourself but you do need to let loose a bit.  So have that slice of cake, not the whole cake.  Have a drink or two, not the whole six pack or bottle wine. It’s okay to cheat periodically but you have to be careful that cheating stays in that 10-20% range max, no more.  Be strategic with these little rewards.  If your son or daughter has a birthday coming up this Saturday it’s okay to have that slice of cake and ice cream to join in the celebration, just make sure that you are staying on your weight loss plan 100% the rest of the week. If you still feel guilty about this indulgence there’s no harm in doing a little extra exercise before the party so your body is primed to use those extra calories for recovery, not for storing fat!

Integrity Doctors