Everything You Need To Know About The 20/20 Diet Program

20/20 Diet Program

If you’ve been looking for a diet program to help you lose weight, or maybe just eat a little healthier, you’ve probably come across a ton of different methods.

It’s a bit overwhelming.

And, we’d bet good money that all of these diet and meal plans claim that theirs is the best or the right one.

But the thing is, it’s hard to know which one is right for your body.

All of these diet programs may be right in their own way, but it doesn’t mean that it will necessarily fit in with your goals, lifestyle and current health status.

That’s why it’s helpful to get a little more information on a diet program before you commit.

One of these programs that you may have stumbled upon during your research is the 20/20 diet, but perhaps you aren’t totally sure how it works or need some additional details before you decide to apply it to your life.

Well, we’ve done the research for you so all the information you need is in one place.

And hopefully, after this read, you’ll have a better grasp of the 20/20 diet program and can make an informed decision about whether or not it will work for you.

What Is The 20/20 Diet Program?

Believe it or not, the 20/20 diet was actually developed by Dr. Phil.

Yep, the Dr. Phil of daytime television. We were as surprised as you are.has actually been around for a few years now and was a top-trending Google search back in 2015 when it was first published.

The diet focuses on 20 key “power foods” as a means to lose weight, and you may find that you incorporate a lot of these ingredients in your meals already.

These different food items all take a lot of energy to digest and break down, thereby potentially increasing the rate at which your body burns calories while also keeping you fuller for longer.

We aren’t going to list all 20 of them, but you’ll see items like coconut oil, dried plums, chickpeas, yogurt, eggs, and green tea categorized as power foods.

But beyond that, the program offers insights– backed by research of course – as to why weight loss goals often never come to fruition (we’ll cover those specifically in a bit).

It also aims to help the user rethink their relationship with food. Some strategies include teaching you how to tune into your body’s hunger cues and brainstorming ways to adopt healthier habits in your day-to-day.

In short, it’s a comprehensive diet plan that not only focuses on what you eat, but why you eat, where you eat, and how you eat. So, you can kind of see how there’s a psychological aspect to the diet, which explains why all of this is coming from Dr. Phil.

How The 20/20 Diet Works

How The 20/20 Diet Works

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The diet is designed so that the user can customize it in a way that feels natural for them.

In other words, this shouldn’t feel so forced.Eating still shouldn’t feel like a chore when you are trying to fulfill your weight loss goals.

We aren’t saying it will necessarily be easy at first, but the more you practice this program the more effortless it will become.

Now, the 20/20 diet is broken up into four specific phases:

  • Phase 1: The first phase of the program is called the “Five-Day Boost,” during which period you only eat the 20 foods listed in the guideline.  You’ll eat four meals, four hours apart each day to kick start the weight loss process. You’ll likely lose a lot of water weight during these first five days due to cutting out processed foods, sodium, and refined sugars.
  • Phase 2: Next, you enter into the“Five-Day Sustain” period. During these five days, you start adding food soutside the initial guidelines, but all meals and snacks must contain at least two of the 20 power foods. The foods you are allowed to add are specified in the guidelines and include ingredients like chicken breast, carrots, blueberries, etc. You continue the eating pattern of four meals per day, with four hours in between each.
  • Phase 3: Now, it gets a little more complicated with the third “20-Day Sustain” phase. More foods are allowed at this point, but you have to eat four meals, four hours apart each day – and they must contain two power foods each.  The new foods added during the third phase include, but aren’t limited to, avocado, quinoa, spinach, and potatoes. At this point, however, you are allowed to indulge in foods outside of all the guidelines twice per week, so long as they do not exceed 100 calories each.
  • Phase 4: And finally, you enter the“Management Phase,” which is exactly as it sounds. You continue eating like you did during the previous phases while also making lifestyle changes to help keep you on track for your weight loss goals.

And though the diet starts out strict, more flexibility comes along as you progress, which will help you satisfy any cravings responsibly, while also making meal planning and grocery shopping a little easier.

However, there is one important facet to this program: if you have not reached your weight goal by the end of the third phase, then you cannot move onto the final management phase.

So, at the end of the third phase, you must start again at Phase 1 until you finally reach your weight goal.



Lifestyle Changes On The 20/20 Diet

So, that is the eating part of the diet program. But as we mentioned earlier, there are some behavioral aspects that are suggested you adopt as well when practicing the program.

These tips and tricks are meant to make it easier for you to adhere to the eating aspect of the 20/20 diet because we all know how life’s ups and downs can sometimes make it difficult for us to eat the way we should.

Some suggestions include regularly monitoring your weight and your body measurements, and not letting your emotions interfere with how you eat or exercise.

And, as a matter of fact, the diet urges you to get at least two hours of vigorous exercise, and at least three hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

Lifestyle Changes

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Dr. Phil lists certain strategies to help you out when you suddenly have a temptation to break from the program.

For example, he suggests brushing your teeth when you get a junk food craving, so you instead have a minty taste in your mouth that would make any junk food taste horrible.

Or, if you’re going out to eat at arestaurant where it can be hard to adhere to a diet, he suggests checking out the menu before hand to find foods that will fit within the guidelines of your meal plan.

We couldn’t possibly list all of the specific strategies here, but what we are trying to convey is that the book provides you with cognitive, environmental, behavioral and social tools to help you stay on track with your weight loss.

And, ultimately, the goal is for you to make these habits and strategies lifelong ones, so you continually maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The Verdict


Nothing is perfect – we all know that.

And unfortunately, many diet plans can berather extreme and have some Huffpost.

The pros of the 20/20 are that the program goes beyond eating and incorporates behavioral and lifestyle changes to help you on your quest to a healthy weight. It teaches you how life, in general, can impact weight loss, so you can identify those little daily occurrences that can impede you from seeing results.

And as far as nutrition goes, this diet inherently eliminates refined foods and sugars, which alone can make a huge difference when it comes to weight loss. It is also low-calorie and adheres to the guidelines of many traditional weight loss programs. Plus, it allows for indulgences.

Some of the meal plans could fall short on essential nutrients like iron, potassium, and magnesium. But, generally speaking, the diet is nutrient dense.

Many dieticians also agree that any diets that require you to eat very specific foods for very specific time periods are red flags – primarily because there are no end phases to healthy eating and living. It’s something that should be followed throughout your life.

True, the 20/20 diet has the “ManagementPhase,” but it could get hard to keep up with the guidelines when you don’t have that “finish line” end date anymore.

This diet also requires a lot of meal planning and food prep, so it’s not always conducive to the busy lifestyle.

It also isn’t recommended that you pursue this diet if you have complicated health and eating issues, as though the guidelines and behavioral strategies are helpful for some, they are a bit simplistic.

This diet is still certainly less demanding than others on the market, and it can easily be squeezed into one’s lifestyle given they have the time and energy to do the grunt work of meal prepping.

The 20/20 diet may also work well for you if you are very serious about making lifelong changes – not just month-long changes.

After all, though dieting can be beneficial, the most important thing is for you to be healthy

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