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The 80/20 diet.

(Ever heard of the 80/20 rule? Also known as Pareto's Principle.

Generally speaking, this rule refers to the idea that in many areas of life, 80% of our results come from 20% of causes. So it would be smart to identify and target the 20% of factors that produce the most results.

In the world of nutrition, the definition is slightly different:

Aim to eat generally healthy foods 80% of the time. For the remaining 20%, feel free to give yourself the freedom to eat less healthy foods more so for enjoyment purposes if you chose to.

And you should still be able to reach your health and weight loss goals for the most part. Ideally, if you're still able to fit these less healthy foods within your target calorie intake.

In terms of what healthy vs less healthy foods are, it's not rocket science.

Here are some examples: Healthy: Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, seafood, plant-based protein, low fat dairy, nuts, seeds, and legumes.🍎🥑🥕🥚🫘🥜

Less healthy: Ice cream, cookies, cake, chips, pizza, fried chicken, etc.🍦🍪🍬🍟🍕🥂

What's the purpose of the 80/20 rule?

1. Don't strive for perfection - there is no such thing as a perfect diet, and no one will eat healthy or "on track" 100% of the time for the rest of their life.

2. Don't beat yourself up if you don't eat "healthy". Normalize eating less healthy foods as long as it's done in moderation.

3. Provides flexibility that's inherently needed in today's world where we have other things going on, like kids, a social life, work functions, family gatherings, and travel.

4. Normalizes eating "play foods" (commonly known as junk food). Unless you're a robot, you eat not just for nutrition, but also, for enjoyment and pleasure.

How can I implement this?

In a variety of ways.

For example:

  • On a daily timeline: You have a small portion of dessert after dinner with your family on most days of the week.

  • On a weekly timeline: You follow your usual healthy eating regimen from Monday to Friday, then you go out to eat 1-2 meals that are less healthy and "off plan" on the weekends.

  • On a monthly timeline: You eat generally healthy most days when you're at home and able to prepare your own food . You travel for work about one week each onth. It's more difficult to make healthy choices when you travel, so you try your best, but will choose less healthy options if it's the only one available.

  • On a yearly timeline: You eat generally healthy most of the time at home. You go on vacation 1-2 times per year, where you'll allow yourself to choose less healthy options more than usual. And on holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, you'll definitely be eating more and less heathy than usual.

  • Based on calories: If your goal is 2000 calories per day, maybe you allow 20% of that (400 calories) to come from less healthy foods. Such as adding chocolate chips to your morning oats and having a handful of chips as a snack. Another example is you allow yourself to eat a little bit over 2000 calories on the weekend.

Or, if you're someone who simply doesn't get much pleasure from junk food and genuinely loves the taste of healthy foods, or you're trying to really tighten things up for a special event - maybe it looks more like 90/10 or 95/5 to you!

At the end of the day, it's whatever works for you. This rule of thumb helps to promote flexibility, balance, and overall well-being in our lives. And honestly, food just tastes really darn good!

Comment down below what percentage split you currently follow! Would it be 50/50? Or maybe 70/30?


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