The Magic of the 80/20 Rule on Weight Loss

Did you know that the average adult will try about 126 different diets in their lifetime? That’s right, 126. 

It might sound shocking when you think about it, but most of us have a long list of fad diets we’ve already cycled through in our lives. 

The real question is, why don’t any of these diets stick? 

The problem isn’t the diet. The problem is your mindset. 

Tell me if this sounds familiar… 

You start a new diet and the first week is great—you’re eating healthy, staying active, and prioritizing your health practices. Week two rolls around and you have a stressful day at work. To cope you grab the bag of chips and a double handful of Hershey’s kisses and spend the rest of the night on the couch. 

The next day, when it’s time to get back into routine, your motivation is dead and you’d rather just cave in and get that double XL Ice Tea and some fries from Mcdonald’s. Before you know it, a week has passed and you’ve gone right back into your old habits. 

You just fell victim to The All-or-Nothing Mindset. 

This mindset is the culprit that sabotages our health goals—but a simple mindset switch can mean the difference between another backslide and a lifetime of health. 

Here’s how to swap the All-or-Nothing Mindset for a new one that’s going to keep you on track toward your goals. 

A Better Mindset: The 80/20 Rule

Have you ever heard people reference the“80/20 Rule?” It’s been applied to all sorts of goals. From cleaning the house to building a career, this mindset has helped people achieve more and stay strong while working toward long-term goals. 

It’s a simple approach that advises you to ace your tasks or practices 80% of the time. The other 20 is up to you. This mindset unbinds people who’ve tightly committed themselves to a lifestyle, schedule, or task list that’s too strict to sustain for very long. 

When it comes to fitness goals, the 80/20 rule is a health-saver. It helps us recover from slip-ups, stay motivated, and stick with a healthy lifestyle for the rest of our lives. 

The All-or-Nothing Mindset leads us to throw in the towel the first time we break our diet. On Friday night, out with friends, we give in and enjoy a drink with the rest of the group. The drink pushed you over your macros for the day. It’s easy to throw the rest of the weekend away and forget about our diets since we already broke them. 

The 80/20 rule, on the other hand, lets us pick back up where we left off. Instead of ditching our diets for the whole weekend, we can have a drink, guilt-free, and keep moving forward in our health goals. 

Transitioning Into the 80/20 Mindset

Adopting the 80/20 mindset can feel jarring—especially for those of us who’ve used elimination diets. 

You might be thinking: This mindset feels too loosey-goosey to actually get anything done. The truth? No one follows a diet perfectly. 

The 80/20 mindset makes sure that after an inevitable unhealthy meal, you get back on the health horse again. 

Transitioning into the 80/20 lifestyle can be challenging too. Living a healthy lifestyle 80% of the time is a big goal. Cravings and habits are hard to break, but that 20% relief time will help you get there. 

As you continue striving towards the 80/20 lifestyle, your body will adapt, and your confidence to make healthy choices will grow. Over time, this mindset will become second nature. You’ll learn moderation and start to identify yourself as someone who makes balanced and healthy choices. 

As a result, it’s so much easier for you to lose weight. Eating healthy, staying active, and pursuing your wellness won’t feel overwhelming. It’ll become a normal part of your everyday life. 

How To Implement a The 80/20 Rule

So how do you swap mindsets? 

Start by setting your goals. A health coach or registered dietitian can offer insight into what goals would be best for your health and lifestyle. 

Look with your coach at the changes you want to make in your life. Is there an event coming up where you want to feel and look your best? Do you want the flexibility to get on the floor and play with the kids? Are you dreaming of joining a recreational sports league like the one you used to love in college?

Second, layout the steps you need to take to reach those goals. Do you need to lose any weight? Build endurance? Reduce your cholesterol? 

Next, identify any obstacles standing in your way. What has kept you in the past from reaching your health goals? How can you overcome them this time? 

Do you avoid the gym? Invest in a few pieces of equipment that you can use at home. Are you struggling with craving sweets? Research solutions like drinking more water and enjoying sweet root vegetables regularly. Set yourself up for success by tackling obstacles before you even hit them. 

Finally, apply the 80/20 formula. Before you begin a 6-days-a-week boot camp or cut out all carbs, scale back a bit. Make sure that the pace you’re moving forward is one that’s manageable. 

For example, if you need to consume 1800 calories a day to lose weight, eat 80% of those calories (1440 cals) in whole food, healthy nutrition. Enjoy foods you love—even if they’re not super healthy—with the remaining 360 calories.

See Where Else The 80/20 Rule Can Help

This mindset can help keep us balanced in other areas of our lives too. In fact, the 80/20 rule applies perfectly to balancing our fitness with healthy eating. 

Most of us wanting to lose weight don’t want to spend our entire lives at the gym. Luckily, weight loss is about dedicating 80% of your focus to your diet and 20% to your exercise. This balance is much easier to maintain and simpler to schedule into our daily lives for the long haul. 

Switch Tracks In Your Fitness Journey

Once you find out what it is you want to accomplish—lose weight, build muscle, reset your metabolism, increase cardiovascular fitness, whatever it is—try the 80/20 mindset. I think you’ll love the freedom (and the long-term success) it brings. 

Stay consistent, pick up when you slip up, and you will see results! 

If you’re ready to see some serious change, join a LEAN Session. There’s a community of people eager to join you on this journey. 

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