The 80/20 rule for eating isn’t a diet. It’s a sensible guide to following a healthy balanced sustainable lifestyle. The guide is to focus on eating healthily for around 80% of the time and then to feel free to indulge in other foods or treats of your choice for the other 20% of time.
Are you looking to find out just exactly what the 80/20 rule for eating is?
Good. Here, below, I'll tell you exactly what the 80/20 rule for eating is.
Then, if you're interested in finding out more about the 80/20 rule for eating, please check out the next two posts in the series, how you follow the 80/20 rule for eating and then our example meal plan and typical week living this lifestyle in how we follow the 80/20 rule.
Please remember to subscribe (details below) for weekly healthy recipes and more to come on the 80/20 lifestyle!
Recently, an Instagram follower asked me to explain exactly what the 80/20 rule for eating is.
While I’ve been mentioning it throughout my blog when I’ve been posting recipes and adding the facts about healthy living, I thought it was time to explain it here.
What it is, what it means to my other half and I, and how we follow the guide to live as healthy, happy and positive lives as we can!
We all want to look good and to be as healthy and as fit as we can, but do we really want to be caught in a never ending cycle of following fad diets, starving and denying ourselves the treats in life just to try and reach this level of happiness? I know we don’t!
For example, cake. I love cake. 😀 However, if I ate cake whenever I wanted to I would be the size of a house! Being the size of a house would make me miserable, I’d feel unhappy, be extremely self-conscious, be unhealthy, unfit and caught in that swirling cycle of self-loathing.
On the other hand, if I denied myself any cake at all, what would be the point of living this amazing life and gift I’ve been given? Not to experience the benefits of being alive? 😮
No. There has to be a sensible happy medium, and fortunately there is. For my other half and I, it is to exercise and eat healthily during the week and then to relax this rule at the weekends.
Of course this doesn’t mean that on a Saturday I wake up and begin to eat cake, (as much as I’d like to 😉 ) no, it means that 3 of our weekend meals (including Friday night) might be more indulgent.
During the week we’ll eat the sort of breakfast, lunch and dinner meals that you can find in my recipe listings. My other half and I are both members of a local gym. We aim for the recommended NHS (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate intensity aerobic activity and 2 or more days per week muscle-strengthening activity.
Some weekends we love to go walking together, so there’s the added benefit of spending quality time together in an exercise that we both enjoy, then perhaps having pizza (my other half's favourite) for dinner. Other weekends we might be spending time seeing our friends or family and / or going out for dinner / drinks (did I mention I also have a love of good wine? 😛 ). We won’t be worrying and overly fussing about our calorie intake because we know we’ve spent the week close to following the 80% healthy rule and can relax for this the 20% downtime.
The overall key is moderation. During the week we’ll stick to the 80% rule, because we have the weekend to look forward to. I’ll be thinking about what kind of dessert I might make for Sunday pudding. It makes it all worthwhile, and guilt free to know I’ve earned it.
It’s not difficult to change your weekly eating habits to ensuring you eat a wide variety of lean proteins, such as fish, turkey, chicken and pulses. Unprocessed whole grains, low-fat dairy products and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables 80 percent of the time.
Manage portion sizes by reading nutrition labels and making sure that you just have the recommended serving size. Ensure each plate of food is half covered in vegetables, and the other half is 50% lean protein and 50% unprocessed whole grains. This will ensure that your body gets the vitamins, minerals and fibre it needs.
Be sure to steam, poach, grill or braise your food instead of frying it and be sure to drink plenty of water, daily.
The additional health benefits of the 80/20 rule for eating are numerous. An overall reduction in high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels to list but 2 such benefits are possible.
If you do fall off the wagon during the week, and you have a day where you know you’ve had more indulgence that you should have, then for heaven’s sake, don’t beat yourself up over it. Put it behind you and move on. Get back onto your 80% healthy, and maybe consider an extra exercise session or gym session at the weekend.
So, why not make the change to the 80/20 rule for eating? This is the proven way to lose and then to maintain a healthy weight whilst forming a sustainable and healthy lifelong eating and exercise habit. This is a plan for life, not the short term. Once you incorporate and get used to following the rule, you’ll find a balance that works. For always.
Here's how you follow the 80/20 rule for eating.
Proving, you really CAN have your cake and eat it!
Subscribe to Neil's Healthy Meals
Don't miss future updates and new recipes. Make sure you’re subscribed to Neil’s Healthy Meals.
Subscribe here to add your email to the subscription list.
And you can follow me too via your favourite social channels :-
Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Bloglovin & YouTube.
*I do not use your email for anything else other than adding you to my blog subscription list which you can opt out of at any time.
Thank you Julia, yes I do need to update my Besty List, thank for the reminder. 🙂
well said! it's not a diet but a way to live mindfully and ENJOY the little treats. Mmm... like wine. hehe
Thanks Lindsay, got to love a little wine now and then eh? 😉
Shashi @ runninsrilankan
Wait - so eating cake for breakfast is a bad idea???
Just joshing - I like the 80/20 lifestyle too and try to follow it - am not a huge fan of deprivation either - though currently I have an abundance of failed oatmeal yule logs in my fridge ... hmmm....
Mmmm, oatmeal yule logs, sounds delicious! I'll look forward to seeing those when you've perfected them! 😀
I've used the 80/20 in my work life - but it never occurred to me that it's perfectly applied to other areas of our lives too. Thanks for the fresh perspective!
Hi Aida, no problems. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad that my post proved to be of interest to you. 😀
I absolutely agree with you. It is funny how the 80/20 rule crops up in so many areas of our lives!
Hi. I am 60 years old and for most of my adult life have had a very unhealthy diet of yo-yo'ing and lack of exercise. I have now reached the stage where I am feeling so rubbish about myself & health that I am ready to take the 1st step to try to improve my whole approach. Reading the comments and some of the tips from Neil's Healthy Meals is really inspiring me to want to start afresh from today. I think you are the way forward unlike some very expensive brands where people are left dependant on them for a lifetime.
Whether or not this works for me, well done.