The 80/20 Rule for Lifelong Nutrition

Recently, at All Canadian Fitness we hosted Andrea Thatcher who is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer.  Andrea is also the author of “In One End and Out the Other”, an intensive guide to everyday nutrition.  It was a really great evening of learning and discussion with some of our personal trainers.

Andrea is a passionate speaker and a strong advocate for natural nutrition.  She refers frequently to the genius of Mother Nature.  The more “natural” a food is, the better.  One of the things that I really liked about her message was that she told us right at the beginning that there will probably be times when she is speaking that we’ll probably be thinking that she’s full of ……!

Andrea has strong opinions and she likes to rattle cages.

As we spoke about designing healthy eating plans, the importance of “Certified” organic foods, stabilizing blood sugar and a whole bunch of other things, there was one bit of wisdom that really resonated with us.

Andrea’s most important tool to help anyone succeed at eating healthy for life is what she calls the 80/20 Rule.  80% of the time make your food choices from Certified Organic sources for meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and grains (specifically quinoa, oats or brown rice).  Avoid packaged, processed foods with preservatives, nitrates, colours etc…  The other 20% of the time, eat for pleasure, for social reasons, for convenience or to feed your “soul”.

How refreshing is that?  No hard and fast “all or nothing” rules.  Just do the absolute best you can “most” of the time and then enjoy yourself “some” of the time.  You can’t fail because perfection shouldn’t be the goal in the first place.

The really incredible part of the rule is that if you follow the 80/20 rule, it means that 73 days out of the year are part of your 20%!  5 out of 28 meals per week or 1 complete pleasure day per week.  It hardly seems restrictive when you think of it in those terms.  You can also think of the 80/20 rule as a way of looking at your plate.  80% of your plate should be made up of the “good stuff” and 20% of the “fun stuff”.

The key is to do this guilt free!  Feeling guilty after eating brings about a whole other set of issues that aren’t good for your body, your mind or your spirit.

“There is absolutely room in a healthy diet for convenience, boredom, habit or comfort.  Simply be aware of what you are eating, and strive to make healthy choices 80% of the time.”

….thank you Andrea!



2 responses to “The 80/20 Rule for Lifelong Nutrition

  1. Ernie,
    We promote the 85/15 rule which is 6 days out of 7 eating simply and naturally. You can always progress to the 92/8 club which is 13 out if 14 days of eating simply and naturally. Watch for our book, Eating Simply, which gives you the road map to eating well for life!

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