Those of you who know me, know that I live by the 80/20 rule. I follow this rule when it comes to pretty much anything, but especially to how I eat. Following this rule means that 80% of the time I stick with my healthy eating habits. The other 20% of time I relax, let loose and enjoy a poutine, piece of pizza or bowl of chips! I know that if I restrict myself completely from all calorie rich, tempting foods, it will lead me to crave them more. This eventually leads me to eating more of them. I’ve found that by following the 80/20 rule, I don’t let myself get to a stage of intense craving. I can better control myself. The 80/20 rule is my #1 healthy eating habit!

Here’s Why I Love the 80/20 Rule When it Comes to Eating

1. It’s flexible and fits into real life.

To say that you’ll never eat another french fry, or chocolate bar again, is unrealistic. This kind of eating is limiting, and may make social occasions challenging for you. When you focus on eating clean and healthy for 80% of your meals, this essentially means you have 3 or 4 meals to play around with during a week. I always take a glance at what social events I have planned one week in advance, and build the 80/20 mindset into my meal planning. If we have two restaurant dinners planned, I ensure that my meals at home better these days are even a little cleaner, and veggie-packed than usual.

2. This healthy habit enables consistent, healthy eating.

Being able to enjoy a hamburger for one restaurant meal, or nachos at one Raptors game with friends, gives me the willpower to eat clean and healthy consistently, for the remainder of my weekly meals. An ‘all or nothing‘ mindset is the enemy of consistency when it comes to nutrition. This type of thinking leads you to fall hard off the wagon if you mess up your healthy eating habits for even one meal in a week. One calorie-laden meal leads you to feel defeated, so you’re more likely to eat whatever you want for the remainder of the week. Instead, when you follow the 80/20 rule, you give yourself a break to eat a little less healthy for a couple of meals weekly, thereby becoming a lot more in control of your eating habits.

3. It’s effective for weight management.

When you eat healthy 80% of the time, you are eating a lot of vegetables and lean proteins. Your calorie intake will naturally go down, without you having to calorie count. You aren’t completely depriving yourself from all of your favourite calorie rich foods. Meaning, you shouldn’t have a lot of cravings that often cause binge eating. All of these factors can lead to weight loss, or if you’re happy with your weight, to weight maintenance.

4. You will appreciate all food more.

When you follow the 80/20 rule, yes, you’ll enjoy a plate of nachos a little more than usual if you limit the number of times you allow yourself to eat junk food. But you’ll also start to appreciate the way a veggie-fill salad tastes and how it fills you up for hours after eating it. You’ll understand the importance and purpose of eating all of the meals you consume.

To Sum it up…The 80/20 Rule is a Crucial Healthy Eating Habit

The 80/20 rule is my #1 healthy eating habit. It requires you to stick with your healthy eating habits 80% of the time, but the other 20% of time you can relax. You can let loose and enjoy your favourite calorie dense foods. I love this way of thinking because it’s flexible, so it fits into almost any lifestyle and it drives consistent, healthy eating. It is effective for weight management and it leads you to appreciate food more. Give the 80/20 rule a try this week, and let me know what you think!