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  • Writer's pictureFunctional Lifestyles

The 80/20 of Nutrition: It's ok to be human

Hey FunLifers,

Today, I want to give you my favorite rule for nutrition and a balanced lifestyle.

When we think of "Diet" we think of it in terms of a time frame commitment. “I’m going to eat perfectly within (alotted time frame) and I’m going to see my results. Unfortunately, this is the biggest recipe for disaster for long term success. 

Now, I always like to remind everyone that there are no absolutes when it comes to your nutrition and this message is a majority-rule. I do believe for some that starting off with a "diet" of choice can be a great way to build momentum, but then we have to reroute the conversation to your exit strategy and how to find balance to create sustainable change.

The 80/20 Rule has been one of my favorite approaches to sustainable eating. For some of us it might be 70/30 or 90/10, but once again today is meant for the masses not certain niches. 

So, how does the 80/20 rule work?


If you eat three meals a day, 7 days a week that would add up to 21 meals/week.

(3 Meals x 7 days = 21 meals)

80% of those meals are at their highest quality and aligned with your health & fitness goals. 

21meals x .80%= 16.8 or ~17 Healthy Meals

This leaves you with approximately 4 meals. The other ~4 meals are your "Cheat Meals", "Diet Breaks", or whatever label you want to apply to them. I call this process “being human”. If I had to guess, I’d say that most of us who care about health and fitness are not machines and we need a plan/structure that supports that we’re human.

When we think of "Cheat Meals" we think of eating out, desserts, salty foods, alcohol, etc. Everyone reading this email is smart enough to know that too much of these foods is detrimental to our health and fitness goals. 

So, if we establish the 80% as our foundation which is made up of foods that you can only buy from the perimeter of the grocery store. Vegetables, Fruits, Meats, Nuts/Seeds, etc, we’re creating a strong base. Also, by selecting the "Perimeter Foods" that are grass-fed not grain fed, wild caught not farm raised, organic and sustainably raised foods we are giving back to the environment and our body. This leaves us with 20% of indulgence or around 4 meals per week.

Now, I haven't talked at all about how calorie/macro requirements apply to this rule but I also don't have clients coming in and saying "Coach I screwed up last night, I had 5lbs of chicken breast and bell peppers".

It just doesn't happen with this selection of food choices. I mean it cannnnnn, but it don’t, ya hear me?

We’re not discrediting calorie/macro counting, but the 80/20 approach does allow us to focus on the quality of the food and the balance of our "Goal Aligned Foods" and "Flexible Foods".

Stay tuned into our Instagram this week, we’ll be dropping more nutrition bombs!


Functional Lifestyles 

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