You may have heard of the 80/20 rule. But do you know what it is and if it would be a good fit for you? The 80/20 rule applies to the food you eat, and it basically states that you will eat well 80% of the time and have cheat meals for the remaining 20%. The rule recognizes that you can’t be on 100% of the time and so it allows a bit of opportunity for some balance.
Interestingly enough, the 80/20 rule concept originated with the Pareto principle. The Pareto principle is actually a business principle that explained that 80% of a company’s revenue is generated from 20% of its customers.
Many people seem to think the 80/20 rule is a good fit for their dieting strategy. However, quantification is an issue. There is no quantification to show that the approach is actually effective. There would be no way to know you are actually eating poorly only 20% of the time, unless you are physically tracking each and every calorie consumed. Self-estimation tends to be off. The only certainty is that you know you’re not at 100%.
However, this 80/20 approach can have its place in maintenance. If you’ve already reached a goal and are simply maintaining progress, this may be the right fit. On the other hand, if you’re starting a new healthy lifestyle, you need to be committed 100% of the time to ensure you stay on the right track.
If your program is very intense, the 100% concept may not work for you. Ultimately, you need to find the right kind of plan that you can sustain for an extended period of time to help get you to your goal. If it matters to you, you’ll give 100%. Start with your “why,” and then set SMART goals to get you to where you want to be.
Don’t think of the 80/20 rule as an excuse to fail. Leave it for the maintenance portion of your health journey. If you’re just starting out, give it 100% effort and set yourself up for success.