Understanding The 80/20 Rule


Today we are talking about the 80/20 rule. Not sure what that is? It is the concept that instead of “eating perfect” 100% of the time, it’s the idea that you can eat fun foods 20% of the time and still meet your goals. This is something that I practice with my clients on a regular basis.

A healthy lifestyle is all about balance and knowing that you don’t have to give up burgers for the rest of your life.

So what does 20% work out to? Well, if you consider that you eat 21 meals in a week, this would come out to be about 4 times per week that you can flex on fun foods. But what exactly does that mean?

Here are some tips on finding 20% balance in your diet:

  1. Eliminate the all or nothing mindset. A healthy lifestyle is not about depriving yourself of the things you love. Find ways to incorporate “fun foods” in a way you are comfortable with.
  2. Stop using the word “cheat.” When I hear someone say this I ask “who are you cheating on??” This can imply that healthy eating is a punishment and cheating is a reward…and that’s not how it works in a healthy lifestyle.
  3. Ask yourself: what does the food do for you? Maybe a wine and cheese night with the girls is something you need to feed your soul – foods can be nourishing in other ways and it’s important to remember this.
  4. Stick with the foods you really love. I encourage my  clients to make conscious choices when it comes to their 20%. Think less “this happened so I had to eat a buger” and use your meal planning time to make these conscious choices ahead of time. Try changing this to “we went out to see a band and I chose to have a fried chicken salad as a part of my 20%.”
  5. Find a balance within your 20%. While this shakes out to be about 4 meals per week, it’s important to plan out what that might look like for you. Instead of fried mozzarella sticks as an appetizer, fried chicken parmesan with pasta, and a gelato for dessert- consider focusing on one part of that meal. In this scenario consider ditching the mozzarella sticks for a salad, going for the chicken parmesan and pasta, and opting for some mint flavored gum after dinner. Small choices like this can help you feel satisfied without negating all of your hard work.

Have questions about finding a healthy 80/20 balance? Set up your first FREE 15 minute initial appointment by clicking here!

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