My first real introduction to the “80/20 Rule” came via a viewing of the Tyler Perry film “Why Did I Get Married?”. The rule, as stated in the movie, had to do with relationships. However, did you know that the 80/20 theory applies to a lot more than just marriage/relationships? Hell, did you know that it wasn’t even something that came about in response to that conversation in the first place? I certainly didn’t.
You can read more about the rule, as it applies to your fitness success here, but here’s my favorite part of the article.
…80/20 is a universal rule and it applies to everything. Spend the majority of your time making the right decisions, and you will love your results.
It’s not about circumstances, it’s about choices.
A healthy lifestyle is achieved by the sum total of all of your choices. Losing weight, getting healthier or becoming more fit is not a quick fix or a gimmick; it’s the culmination of your habits and your daily decisions. This rule is about MODERATION. Yes, you can have that dessert. No, you cannot have dessert every night. Yes, you should workout most days. No, you don’t have to beat yourself up if you skip a day.
You know what’s so great about this rule?
You can use it for eating.
You know it’s challenging to eat clean all the time. Work parties, BBQ’s, cookouts, pot-luck gatherings, cocktail parties, restaurant temptations, travel…all those things make clean eating a bit of a challenge. But if you can work toward eating clean the majority of the time (lots of real foods from the produce aisle!), you are going to see a difference in your body and in how you feel. (Hello, energy, there you are!) If you go for portion control moderation more often than not, you can effectively manage your weight!
You can use it for exercise.
Yes, it’s easy to fall out of your workout routine when you travel, or you have family in town, or a rerun of Real Housewives has you captivated to the TV, but get right back in the saddle and get back at it. Don’t let a break from your exercise routine become a break-up from exercise. Push toward that 80 percent. (P.S. Remember my two-day rule? I never go more than two days in a row without a workout. It’s my little game I play to keep consistent at least 80 percent of the time.) (Chris Freytag)
In short, don’t beat yourself up too much if you choose to eat cake over kale on any given day. The goal is to make good choices a majority of the time and accept the possibility that, sometimes, you may not make the best one. If you skip a day of exercise, as the author points out, try not to miss two; in other words, it’s okay to be human. Fitness is a never-ending journey with lots of ups and downs, but it’s not meant to be a jail sentence.
Do your best, most of the time, and you should do fine.