The 80:20 Rule for Weight Loss

First, we need to get one thing straight; you can't out-train a bad diet. 

Honesty is the Best Policy for Weight Loss 

For most of us a diet consistently filled with unhealthy choices like too many sweets and glasses of wine on the weekend isn't going to be cancelled out or negated through exercise. 

Exercise is as necessary as breathing. Through exercise, you are going to make major changes to your mind - research has shown that the benefits of exercise make you:
  • Happier
  • Sleep better
  • Gives you more energy through the day
  • Promotes strong bones
  • Promotes strong muscles
  • Helps you live longer
  • Helps prevent cancer

What You Put In Your Mouth 

So what's the 80:20 rule? 80% applies to what you eat, so for most people, 80% of their current body weight is due to what they are putting in their mouths. 20% applies to exercise, toning up our bodies, improving our state of mind and improving our sleeping patterns. 

The thing is exercise often creates favorable feelings in your brain, which makes you feel more likely to want to eat healthily. Once you know that your hour hard exercise session will be cancelled out by two slices of pizza, then you can say to yourself, "Hey, I worked hard on that session, I sweated a lot and I could tell that my muscles feel the benefits so I want to keep that going with eating the foods that help and not hinder my body". 

Calorie Count for Exercise 

Below is a rough calorie count for certain exercises, based on a 139 pound woman. Adjust the figure accordingly based on your gender and weight. 

Calories burned per half-hour of exercise:
  • High-impact training - 400 calories
  • Swimming - 190 calories
  • Surfing - 95 calories

At best, you can eat a slice of pizza for your half-hour's exercise session, but if you want to lose weight, you need to be burning more calories than you are taking in so exercise helps to create that calorie deficit. 

So challenge yourself. Make some small tweak to your diet; swap a biscuit for a piece of fruit, stop adding sugar to your coffee or add in some lean protein in the form of fish, poultry (without the skin), eggs or tofu. If you can keep that change for a week, you're on the way to making it permanent.