What's the 80/20 Rule?

What's the 80/20 Rule?
I always get asked what the secret to achieving and maintaining results is, and while I'm a firm believer that there's no substitute for hard work, this golden rule has proved successful every time. Not only is it successful, but it's sustainable as it doesn't feel restricting, eliminates guilt and provides balance, removing you from an unhealthy diet-style mentality.
So what exactly is the 80/20 rule? Let me break it down for you.

If you were to take a look at everything you eat in a week, 80% would be clean, nutrient-dense foods and the remaining 20%, the not-so-healthy treats we occasionally like to indulge in. So, what exactly is 20%? It's far less technical than it sounds and I promise it doesn't need a degree in mathematics or accounting to figure out. Simply take the number of meals and snack you eat in a day, times that by 7 to get your weekly intake and calculate 20% of that number – okay, that sounds a little technical but I swear it's super easy – for example, if you're on the Thermofit challenge and consuming 3 meals a day and opting for no snacks, that's 21 meals per week, so roughly 4 meals can be more treat-oriented.

Sounds simple right? If you're finding it a little tricky to get going, here are three tips I've devised along the way that always help my clients' transition that little bit easier:
  • Plan. Plan. Plan. Planning is the key to success in this. Grab your meal plan, look at your calendar and think about where you'd like to fit that 20% in; is there a date night coming up? Maybe a birthday party? Try and schedule your meals as much as possible so when those occasions arise, you won't feel like you're missing out.
  • On the note of planning – always 'plan' in one less that the 20%. So if yours is 5, plan 4 and so on. This allows for the inevitable surprises that life throws at us and so when someone pops by with a cake for afternoon tea or an unexpected dinner out comes up, you've got an off-plan meal or snack up your sleeve.
  • Be clear on what that '20%' is. For example, you don't want to be going out for dinner and having an unhealthy entrée, deep fried main, sugar filled dessert and wash it all down with buckets of alcohol. That would be classed as 4, not 1. By all means, knock out all of your 20% allowance in one sitting if that's the way you want to do it, but get back on track for the rest of the week. It's up to you to take responsibility for how to divvy up your 20% and find what works for you. Sometimes it's only one part of the meal that would be considered a treat. For example, you order some grilled fish or steak that comes with salad and fries. The fish or steak, being grilled is healthy, the salad is healthy, but the deep fried fries would be counted as one for the 20%.

I hope this has provided some clarity on what this mysterious formula is about and I promise, once you master this, you'll be well on your way to getting results, maintaining them and most importantly, enjoying the process.

One more piece of advice I'll leave you with: To really let go of the 'restrictive diet' mentality once and for all, start implementing this formula from the very beginning of your THERMOfit challenge or any new meal plan for weight loss, so by the end you're a bona fide expert.

The 80:20 Rule
Author: Noni Jenkins
Noni Jenkins is a Personal Trainer, Weight Loss Specialist and Thermomix® Enthusiast. With over 10 years experience helping people live a healthier lifestyle.
Get THERMOfit With Noni:1 Week Challenge
It's time to blow the dust off your Thermomix® and take charge of your health. Join my FREE 1 Week THERMOfit® Challenge and let's transform your eating habits, starting now!

This challenge is your opportunity to make healthier choices and commit to nutritious eating for 7 days - all with the help of your incredible Thermomix®.