The 80/20 rule
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
This means that 20% of your input contributes to 80% of the output you receive in any area of your life.
I've read a lot on the principle and have been applying it to my life and business for the past 6 to 12 months, but I thought I'd talk about the way in which I use it in relation to diet in this post.
Life is too short in my opinion to spend every day dieting and lusting over the naughty foods that taste oh so good! But it's also much too short to ignore what's good for your body, and to not intake good nutrients on a day-to-day basis.
I've been a very healthy eater for about the last 5-6 years. I stick to leafy greens, vegetables and fish. I don't drink alcohol or any sugary drinks, nor do I smoke and I very rarely if ever eat red meat.
For a while now I've lived by the 5/2 rule in relation to diet. I would spend two days a week eating minimal calories to allow for the days when I'm not as stringent with what I eat. It did work for me, but I found myself feeling too sluggish on the two days that I was choosing to consume a lower amount of calories. So more recently I've applied the 80/20 rule to my day to day life. I eat fresh, plant based small meals during the day and then I'll have a more sizeable meal for dinner. I wanted to make a lifestyle change, rather than forcing myself to 'detox' in effect 2 days a week. My 20% input is therefore invested in my day time food intake 7 days a week. It really does work, and in combination with lots of water, a single coffee, and a tea or two my days fly by.
I also allow 10-12 hours each night for my food to metabolise (also contributing to my 20% concentrated input). I try not to eat anything past 8pm so that I'm also not going to bed on a full stomach.
I find that whilst i'm feeding my body lean, good nutrients during the day, burning energy at work and in day-to-day life, I feel a lot better for it. There are still days when I crave a chocolate bar or fries (I'm only human) but I try to stick to the principle most days to achieve the best outcome.