What is the 80/20 Rule and Why Is It Important for Your Weight Loss?


You may or may not know that your weight loss is completely determined by calories consumed vs calories burned. The quality of your food has no direct effect on weight loss, but rather the quantity of food is what causes a swing in the scale. 

Unfortunately, this message is sometimes misconstrued by people who assume it means they can just eat pizza and ice cream all day. This is not the case. The quality of your food affects your energy levels and your overall health and well being so it is still extremely important to take into consideration. 

On the other hand, there are people who miss this message altogether and believe that the quality of their food is responsible for weight loss results. These individuals try to eliminate any and all “dirty” or processed foods from their diet in an attempt to achieve results. This is also the wrong approach.

These two faulty methods lead me to one very important principle for achieving your fitness goals: the 80/20 Rule.


The 80/20 rule states that 80% of your calories should come from whole, nutrient dense food sources with 20% left over for “fun” foods.

I implement this with my clients and practice it myself as well. This means 80% of your intake should be those “clean” foods: lots of fruits and veggies, chicken breasts, lean beef, fish, etc. That other 20% is free to include whatever processed foods, sweets, fast food, or anything else you love.


There are 2 reasons it’s important to use this approach. 

1) The 20% for fun foods prevents food guilt and helps you keep cravings under control. 

Eliminating the foods you love almost always leads to cravings that grow out of control. Psychologically, allowing yourself to have these foods that you love in moderate, controlled amounts gives your body and brain the satisfaction of having them without going overboard or falling into a weight rebound.

This also prevents you from associating the foods you love with words like “bad” or “junk.” By labeling or eliminating foods, you create negativity around them, which leads to disordered eating and guilt. This guilt does not go away post diet and can leave you with a poor lifelong relationship with food. 

2) The 80% encourages a focus on micronutrients and internal health. 

Just because you can lose weight on dirty foods, doesn’t mean the quality of your food is unimportant. Your micros (vitamins and minerals) help your body to function optimally. These nutrient dense foods are easier for your body to digest and will leave you feeling much better afterward. 

The 80/20 Rule and a Flexible Diet

As we discussed earlier, the quantity of food is what determines weight loss. Moreover, we discussed how food elimination is a less than ideal weight loss strategy due to its impact on your relationship with food. 

So how should we go about meeting our weight loss goals?

I strongly encourage anyone with a weight loss goal to pursue a flexible diet. This means tracking macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats, and fiber) to lose weight. Consider it an extension of calorie counting. Not only are you ensuring your body is in a deficit, but you’re also ensuring that the macronutrients your body receives are in sufficient amounts.

This, in combination with the 80/20 rule, creates a weight loss strategy that tackles the scale WHILE maintaining or improving internal health. If you would like to learn more about flexible dieting and how it can help you meet your goals, I talk about this strategy more here.

Are you looking for extra guidance to reach your fitness goals faster and easier?

I've been helping women just like you lose weight and build muscle with an easy to follow flexible diet and FUN, time efficient resistance training routine. 

If you're ready for the rest of my training and nutrition secrets and want to transform your body the fun way, APPLY HERE for a customized training and nutrition program. I will be there to coach you every step of the way so we can get you better, lasting results. 

Not convinced? Check out some of these amazing success stories from women JUST LIKE YOU. Stop telling yourself you're too old, too far off, too busy, too tired. You are NONE of these things! 

No more waiting for the perfect time. There will never be a perfect moment. The time to make a change is always RIGHT NOW! Let me show you what you can do. 

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