The 80/20 Rule and Healthy Eating
The 80/20 rule AKA the Pareto Principle was introduced to the business world by Joseph M. Juran; but, it can be applied to almost every aspect of life. The basic premise is that 80% of your results are determined by 20% of your actions. However, for our purposes today – in relating the rule to good health that comes from eating healthy, nutritious food, we are going to flip it over and say:
When you make the right choices 80% percent of the time, the remaining 20 percent really does not matter so much.
I know (LOL), I am definitely pushing the point, but it works!
If you keep this reverse Pareto Principle in mind as you focus on changing your eating habits for a healthier lifestyle, you will be much less stressed by the process.
No one is perfect and when it comes to changing long-term, deeply ingrained habits such as eating patterns, there will be times when it may be difficult to stick to your commitment.
One of the biggest reasons for lack of success in changing eating patterns is that people make the commitment, start the journey and believe that they have to do it perfectly! With that mindset, one mistake can send you into a tailspin, and result in your giving up.
SO . . . instead of letting that happen, recognize that you will slip on occasion and that one cookie is not the end of the world. One way you can handle this is to be aware that it can happen and when it does, enjoy it. Then, return to your healthy eating patterns immediately with the knowledge that you only have to get it right 80% of the time, which is completely doable!
Let’s look at what this means in real terms: If you are eating a 2000-calories-a-day diet, you have up to 400 calories each day that you can play with. Or . . . rather than looking at in on a daily basis, look at it weekly – and have a tasty indulgence once a week.
Keep track of your intake, calories, nutrition, etc., using a computer app like fitday.com, or CRON-O-Meter. Use the app to input your daily intake. Learn what levels of nutrients you need and aim for specific numbers. Set a calorie allotment that is right for the weight you want to be. Calorie Calculator.
When you eat highly nutritious food, you have more wiggle room in the 20% for indulgence. Also, there are some indulgences that are actually quite healthy. For example: Make “ice-cream” out of frozen bananas, or a sweet, gooey, caramel-flavored dip out of soaked dates. Once you learn how to make treats from healthy ingredients your choices become limitless and you will find that the process becomes much easier.