A chilled guide to losing weight

 

Many people are put off even trying to lose weight or get fitter because they don’t believe they have the stamina to follow a perfect diet plan or exercise routine. In fact, this isn’t a problem at all, because not only does the perfect diet or exercise plan not exist, but the level of dedication is not as total as some believe.

Of course, the idea of a perfect plan does have its attractions; if the plan we follow is perfect, there is no margin of error, no room for doubt to creep in, success is guaranteed. Unfortunately, the pursuit of perfection and the rigid thinking this can breed can lead to its own issues. But if we don’t need to be perfect, just how chilled can our diet and exercise plan be for us to start seeing results?

The Pareto principle

Also known as the 80/20 rule, 80% of results come from 20% of the effort. If the goal is to lose body fat and get a little stronger, what behaviours are required to achieve this?

  1. Eat lean proteins and fruit or veg at each meal.
  2. Limit sedentary time and/or aim for 10,000 steps a day
  3. Perform moderate/intense activity or strength building three times a week
  4. Eat within your personal calorie target
  5. Get at least 8 hours sleep a night

There’s nothing magic or sexy about these behaviours, but they make up the 20% of the effort which will make up 80% of the results. Nitty gritty details such as meal timing, supplements, specific food choices may get you closer to a magical 100% of results, but not unless the basics are in place.

But the additional point about the chilled guide is that to see results you only need to stick to your 20% behaviours, 80% of the time. How does this look in practice?

  • 4 meals a week don’t need to be based on protein + veg
  • 6 nights in a month you can sleep less than 8 hours
  • 7 workouts can be missed in a 12-week training cycle

Your ‘wiggle room’ depends on your starting point and end goals. The leaner you are, the more rigid you need to be. The more weight you have to lose or the fresher you are to exercise the more chilled you can be and still see results.

The 80/20 rule is a fancy way of describing moderation while also allowing for the complexities of life. Yes, you should have a rough plan you want to follow and yes should make sure you are working on solidifying your healthy habits, but if every now and then life gets in the way, adopting a more chilled approach enables us to embrace this rather than fighting against it.

No other tracking app highlights this better than the Just Routine app, which allows you to track diet quality and key diet component averages over time.

Once we grasp the secret to the chilled guide, not only does it set us on a path to success, it also helps remove the potential stress, pressure and disappointment associated with trying to be perfect!

 

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Ian is a Registered Dietitian specialising in online weight loss coaching and personal training. Ian uses mindfulness and behaviour science to help people make sustained improvements to their health.

 

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