You’ve heard it time and time again: losing weight is as simple as burning more kilojoules than you consume. If you track the amount you’re eating to ensure it’s under your maintenance level then (bar any metabolic issues), you’re probably going to lose weight. That’s just how the human body works!
But as simple as it is in theory, not everyone can live like that all the time. It requires a tremendous amount of time and dedication and let’s be honest — food is LIFE! But what if there was a way you could eat like that just 80% of the time, and still get amazing results?
This is the premise of the 80/20 diet, an eating plan by UK man Daniel Wheeler. In 2010, he weighed in at more than 140 kilos and his doctors had declared him morbidly obese. One day in the shower, he realised he could no longer see his feet and how miserable he had become. So, he decided to turn his life around by studying to become a nutritionist and PT, to teach himself (and eventually, others) how to live a healthier and fitter lifestyle.
In doing so, Daniel discovered a way of eating that worked wonders for him. He dropped more than 80 kilos and is now ridiculously shredded — recently gracing the cover of Men’s Health. Recently, he launched his 80/20 lifestyle plan to teach others how to do the same.
The concept of the 80/20 diet isn’t anything new. In fact, supermodel Miranda Kerr has sworn by eating clean 80% of the time and indulging 20% of the time for years! Granted, her idea of ‘naughty foods’ are a piece of dark chocolate or a latte with honey, but still!
But where Daniel’s version of the diet differs is that for the 80% you actually track your kilojoules and macros and for the other 20%, you eat whatever you like. No foods are off limits, nor is alcohol. In an initial consultation about their individual needs and goals, Daniel helps clients determine a plan based on a set number of kilojoules which they follow in the 80/20 pattern daily.
Exercise is optional, but for best results, Daniel recommends doing a split of 80% strength training and 20% cardio. The eating plan also includes free CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) with a qualified psychologist, to helps clients who have underlying issues with food.
Whether or not the 80/20 diet will become the new 5:2 remains to be seen. But there’s already been some undeniably amazing success stories. Like Nicky Chapman, who lost 70 kilos in 18 months. She had experimented with fad diets for decades, but it was only after the 80/20 plan helped her shift her mindset around food that she successfully lost weight. Or Dan Cody, who was morbidly obese when he came across Daniel’s story in Men’s Health. He lost 60 kilos and is now training to become an Olympic weightlifter.
You can find out more about the 80/20 Lifestyle Plan here. As always, consult your GP, dietitian or nutritionist before starting any new diet.