A New Look at the 80/20 Rule and Your Nutrition!

I want to give you a new look at a nutrition concept to consider as you look at your

meals for the future week.


We often talk about using the "80/20 rule" when it comes to your nutrition:


IF YOU MAKE HEALTHY CHOICES 80% OF THE TIME, YOU CAN THOROUGHLY ENJOY THE OTHER 20% THAT ARE LESS HEALTHY.


One way I'm personally working on this, is by stepping back to look at an entire week's worth of meals.


If I have 4 meals per day (3 squares & a snack), that's 28 meals per week.

80% of those meals (22.4 of them) should be pretty darn healthy.

20% of those meals (5.6 of them) can be basically whatever.


So, I can have 5-6 meals per week of less-than-optimal nutrition choices, and (unless I'm really going overboard) I will likely maintain my weight without even thinking about it.


Now, if I'm actually trying to lose a little fat, let's maybe round that down, and keep it to just 4 meals that are less healthy.


It's relatively easy for me to avoid beer & pizza during the week, and I'd rather have the leeway to eat that on the weekend - so I'll put all 4 of those meals on the weekend.


I'm almost guaranteed to have a few beers on Friday & Saturday nights, so that essentially uses up 2 of my 4 meals.


That only leaves 2 meals that can be on the "junky" end of things, and it also means I need to do pretty well every single weekday.


That's doable, but it's definitely not automatic.


It takes some effort to keep my weekdays full of vegetables & protein (even on the struggle-bus days when the Girl Scout cookies call my name), AND it takes some effort to avoid just flipping into full-on weekend mode once 5pm Friday arrives.



It means being more intentional over the weekend, and being realistic about how much to indulge, and consciously choosing when to indulge.


It does not have to mean counting every single calorie and avoiding my favorite Copper Trail Lucky Red beer and throwing the Girl Scout cookies away and having zero fun at all, nibbling on celery sticks at my niece's birthday party.


It really just means sucking it up and being an adult about my nutrition choices more often than not.


Try gauging your own 20% in the same way, and see how much room for indulgence it leaves you.


Is it doable?


I'm going to guess it's doable, but it's not easy nor automatic. (Because if it WAS easy or automatic...you'd already be doing it!)


If you find that your current reality is pretty far from that 20%, you don't have to give up, nor do you have to throw away all the indulgent foods. There's plenty of room in the middle of those two extremes!


No matter how far off you are, you should start small and make 1-2 meal adjustments, or 1-2 days of "better than before" - whichever is most doable for you - and see if that is all you need to change to start seeing improvements.


You might find you need more, but it takes time to build better habits, so start small and work from reasonable changes.


Again, you don't have to give up French fries forever, but you do need to be realistic about how much you can reasonably "get away with" and when you really just need to eat the way you already know you should.


And as always, if you need a buddy to help keep you accountable, just ask us!

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