During my NLP training, my coach introduced a new concept to me – The 80/20 Rule aka The Pareto Principle. It’s something that really stuck with me and now I apply it to all areas of life.
What is the 80/20 rule? Originally, the 80/20rule (Pareto Principle) referred to the observation of Pareto, that 80% of Italy’s wealth belonged to only 20% of the population. He began to study this further and found this happening everywhere, to a point where it became somewhat universal and could apply to almost anything.
Basically, 80% of the output or results will come from 20% of the input or action and that most things in life are not distributed evenly.
Here are some examples:
- 20% of the input creates 80% of the result
- 20% of the workers produce 80% of the result
- 20% of the customers create 80% of the revenue
- In languages, the most frequently used 20% of the words account for 80% of the word occurrences.
- The richest 20% people in the world have 80% of worlds income
So, what if we applied this rule to our health and weight loss?
Let’s start with diet…
If you’re anything like me and hate following strict food guidelines, you don’t want to count calories or carbs, etc. then the 80-20 diet might be right for you. Just eat a clean diet 80% of the time and then allow for a few more “fun foods” 20% of the time. This allows you to enjoy indulgences semi regularly without feeling the kind of guilt that people usually feel when they “cheat” on a strict food plan. For many people, this is the most balanced approach to a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle. No diets! Sustainability Yay!
The 80-20 rule is not an excuse to overeat or overindulge however- practice moderation! On your relaxed 20% days, you should still be mindful of what you’re putting in and how much. Check to see if this really makes you feel good after, during the digestion process. A lot of the time when we eat clean, if you reintroduce something a little “naughty” then our body will probably send uncomfortable signals, telling us what’s up and that we don’t need it (happened to me the other day when I ordered nachos and I hadn’t had cheese in sometime! Eeek I felt sick for hours after).
Be careful not to count your entire weekend as your 20% though. To lose weight you must make sure that your 20% is really only 20%. That equals 1½ days per week or about 4 meals in seven days. So don’t lax too much!
Now let’s chat about exercise and applying the 80/20 rule…
This rule is awesome for those of us who are physically active most (if not all) days of the week. The exercise helps to balance out the extra calories that you might consume on your 20% days. If you are not physically active and you don’t exercise, then the calorie deficit created by the rule may not be significant enough to create the change you want.
This is where you could adjust to a 90/10 plan or something that works for you. If you are practising portion control and exercising regularly and you still can’t lose weight, then also adjust to a 90/10 plan. You still get a “break” during the week, but instead of relaxing your foods choices for 4 meals, you eat two meals that allow for a few indulgences.
Also keep in mind that the 80/20 rule doesn’t work for everyone, especially with weight loss, as losing weight can be so much more completed than simple ratios sometimes. HOWEVER, it’s a great guide line and has been proven to get results for many, so why not try it if you haven’t already?! You’ve got nothing to lose – apart from a little weight maybe ?
In future newsletters, I will address how else we can apply the 80/20 rule for Elev8ion in other aspects of life. Let me know how you go with this and hit reply if you have any questions.
Happy 80/20ing ☺️