What My Dog Can Teach You About Weight Loss - The 20% Solution

by Suzanne Hiscock

“Whoa, Jake has gained a lot of weight since his last visit,” said my vet back in June, about my German Shepherd.  “I know I don’t need to tell you about the dangers of being overweight, right?”

Nope!  I’m very much aware of those risk factors—whether it’s for humans or dogs.  Jake is a small German Shepherd, and 74lbs was too much for his small frame.  He was pudgy.  If he put on any more weight, it could turn into a very real problem.

My vet suggested a very simple method that worked wonders for Jake.  He’s now a sleek 67lbs.  Could this method help you lose weight, too?  Is it too controversial for humans? The 20% Solution

Some people hate crunching numbers.  (Personally, I love it—it’s one of the reasons why I created a fitness site with a heavy emphasis on calorie counting.)  But, let’s face it: sometimes you don’t have the time to figure out a calorie deficit and then start counting calories.  Or you don’t want to follow a diet plan because you just don’t have enough time in the day to sit down and figure it all out.

If you want a simple solution to reduce your calories try what my vet suggested for Jake:  reduce your food by 20%.  It’s that simple.

20%.  That’s 1/5th of what you’re eating.  Whatever’s on your plate, put back 20% of the food.  If you’re at a restaurant, push 20% of the food to the side and ask for a doggie bag (or just leave it on the plate.  Better the plate than your hips, right?).  Don’t want to give up the soda?  Pour 20% of the can down the drain each time you pop open a can; you won’t notice the difference.

Eating a burger?  Toss out the bun. Or get a knife and cut off 1/5th of the burger and toss it.  Fries?  Toss 1/5th of them in the garbage or destroy them by pouring water over them.  (I know, sacrilegious, right?  But those fries aren’t doing a thing FOR you.)

Don’t Toss the Veggies or Fruits

The only exception to the 20% solution would be fibrous vegetables that aren’t swimming in some kind of sauce or raw fruits.  Fruits and vegetables are chock full of nutrients—and the fiber will make you feel full.  Don’t toss the healthy stuff!

One Disadvantage Now, I realize this method isn’t ideal.  It doesn’t take into account the nutritional value of what you’re eating.  It’d be a million times better to eat healthy foods and reduce calories by replacing junk food with healthy foods.  Some people might think I’m crazy to even suggest such a solution.  But I’m trying to be realistic and find some kind of solution for those of you who need a simple solution they can start doing right away, without crunching numbers or making big changes to your way of eating.

If you’re having a hard time ditching the junk food or don’t want to give up certain foods or life is just too busy right now to really do things properly, the 20% solution could be what you need to help you reduce calories and lose weight.  And who knows, maybe once you start losing weight, you’ll be encouraged to experiment a little and see what you can do by eating even more healthy!

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About the Author

Suzanne Hiscock is a PN1 Nutrition Coach, ACE-certified Health Coach, as well as an ACE-certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist. For over 16 years, she has been helping people lose weight and get fit through her website, FitWatch.com. Whether it's with one-on-one nutrition coaching, nutrition programs or courses, and tools or calculators, she can help you to eat better, move more and believe in yourself.

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