The 80/20 Rule: A Balanced Approach to Health

13 Dec The 80/20 Rule: A Balanced Approach to Health

Does this sound familiar?

During the week, you eat salads, chicken and steamed broccoli, wild fish and vegetables for every meal. You follow a strict “diet” that promises quick results. You feel restricted and deprived, but you white knuckle through it.

Then, the weekend hits and you give in to all of your cravings in one day. Since you’ve already eaten the bagel for breakfast, you feel like you’ve already failed, so you throw in the towel, and eat the pizza, pasta and ice cream as well. You’ll start eating healthy again on Monday.

Unfortunately, this vicious cycle often repeats week after week. Restrictive dieting doesn’t work for most people because of the overall mindset around it. Once you “cheat” or have a little treat, you’ve automatically failed and you might as well give up and “start over” tomorrow or Monday morning. In reality, balance is the key to implementing a healthy sustainable lifestyle for the long-term. Unlike diets, with a short-term focus, the 80/20 method focuses on balance which includes both healthy eating and mindful indulgences.

In simple terms, the 80/20 method means that 80% of what you eat is healthy whole foods and the other 20% contains your indulgences. This shifts your mindset away from restrictive, negative thoughts of deprivation and moves it towards balance and ease, with the focus on nourishing and loving your body. Within the 80%, you eating whole foods such as fruits and veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats, such as avocado and nuts and some whole grains. You drink lots of water and avoid added sugars and processed foods. Then, for your 20%, you can enjoy your favorite “treats”, cookies, cakes, ice cream, chips, pizza, pasta, bread, etc.

The 80/20 lifestyle isn’t a traditional weight loss diet, yet, it can be used to reach your goal weight, particularly if your current diet is comprised of a lot of processed foods. Or, it can be used as a way to maintain your weight once you reach your goal weight.

The 80/20 rule is not meant to be restrictive; however, you need to be mindful of how you divide up this ratio. You can focus your 80% during the weekdays, and use your 20% for the weekends, providing you are still building healthy eating habits. Forcing yourself to eat completely clean for the entire work week can be restrictive. And allowing yourself to eat completely unhealthy for the entire weekend isn’t necessarily the best way to support your healthy lifestyle goals. The 80/20 method is about balance. Eat whole foods every day which provide the nutrients your body needs to function well. Treats in the form of processed foods, sweets and simple carbs are fine sometimes, but the majority of your calories should always come from whole foods. If you do decide to save your 20% for the weekends, remember to eat nutritious foods as well, in addition to your treats.

Remember, diets that promise quick weight loss are short-term focused. If you eat healthful foods the majority of the time, you will have success for the long term. The 80/20 lifestyle encourages healthy eating habits and enables you to create a positive, guilt-free relationship with food.


If you struggle to follow the 80/20 lifestyle during the holiday season, you are not alone. 

With the deluge of homemade cookies, sweets and family comfort food, it’s hard to stay focused. Try to incorporate the 80/20 suggestions as you can but know it is okay not to be perfect all the time! If you need more support and a jumpstart to your health goals in 2022, don’t miss the January Bundle on the Effortless 3-Day Rest and 21-Day Sugar Detox!

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