80/20 Food Rule

A rule of thumb I always hear about when it comes to food is live by the 80/20 rule of healthy/fun foods. I never quite understood it. Like, I get it, I realize it’s eat 80% healthy all the time and you have 20% mess ups. I feel like I’m working my way there, I believe I’m at more of a 50/50 pace right now.

On the way into work, I was listening to Shaun T’s podcast from July. He talked about the 80/20 rule and he put it so simplistically, even I was able to understand it. And I thought, it would be great to just share it.

Write a list down of 5 healthy foods you like; and a list of 5 fun foods you love.

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Then take 4 of those healthy foods and 1 of the fun foods:

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  • If you multiply 4 x 365 days a year it equals 1460
  • If you take 1 x 52 weeks a year it equals 52.

So over the course of 1 year if you eat 1,460 healthy foods for your meals and only have that 1 special treat every week, you’re not going to gain weight. You’re going to be living a healthier lifestyle and chances are, if you’re not eating this way now, you’ll lose weight.

When it was broken down like this for me, it’s like a light bulb went off. It’s not an 80/20 rule per day. It’s an 80/20 rule per week. And it’s not for every 4 things good/healthy you eat you get 1 bad thing. Plus, keep in mind portion control! You can’t eat 3lbs of grilled chicken in one sitting, yea it’s healthy, but unless you’re Beast-ing up with Sagi Kalev, you’re probably going to go outside of your calorie goals.

So what are my thoughts when it comes to birthdays, vacations and holidays?

  • Birthdays = in my mind are 0-calorie days. Don’t go hog wild, but at the same time, you know you’re going to have some sort of treat, don’t feel guilty about it.
  • Vacations = I know on most vacations, I can get away with eating a decent breakfast (mostly the Shakeology I brought of a Quest bar), and I’ll try to pack healthier snacks. It’s not always possible. But it’s vacation. If I’ve been working hard with exercise and food prior to my trip(s), what I eat in 5 days isn’t going to totally derail me. Now, if I’ve been eating crappy and drinking too much alcohol, I’m not really going into the trip with the best health to begin with.
  • Holidays = Thanksgiving is 1 day. Christmas is 1 day. New Years Eve is 1 day. If you’re not celebrating the actual holiday on the holiday, pick one of the times you will overindulge. OR if you celebrate Christmas 3-4x, pick the meal. You know you’re eating dinner at your in-laws, make sure you stay on track with breakfast and lunch being healthy and lighter meals.
  • I’m adding another holiday — Mother’s Day. This is the best day of the year, even better than my birthday. It’s my 0-calorie, judgement free – I don’t make decisions – I don’t do baths – I don’t do laundry – I don’t do anything – day. As long as it’s spent with my kids and my husband, that’s the most important thing. And if I want to stick a straw in a pitcher of margarita’s (and not share) that’s my decision. A judgement free day.

I have some questions for you! Sound off in the comments section of this blog post!!

  1. Do you have trouble with following an 80/20 rule? Why?
  2. Are you good or bad at portion control?
  3. What stops you from achieving the results you want?

Let’s get some discussion going.