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Applying The 80 / 20 Rule to Healthy Eating

When it comes to eating healthy, most people dive into the deep end, shooting for a perfect 100% adherence. But according to various studies and nutrition experts (not to mention all of our personal experience) the secret to sustainable weight control might not lie in rigid, unwavering perfection, but in a more flexible concept known as the 80/20 rule. Let's unpack this.

The 80/20 rule, or the Pareto Principle, translates into eating keto about 80% of the time, leaving that 20% bit of wiggle room that you might need for all of life's unexpected turns. We believe eating healthy, whether it be mediterranean or low-carb isn't a diet. It's an empowering lifestyle change that grants you the freedom to enjoy food without guilt.

Striving for 100% dietary perfection can often lead to an all-or-nothing mentality. Slip-ups, which are inevitable, become major setbacks, leading to guilt and discouragement. The 80/20 rule, in contrast, accommodates for the ebb and flow of life, making room for the occasional treat. If you couple that will all the great healthy options you already have, you don't have to feel like you're depriving yourself!

Perhaps one of the most significant advantages of the 80/20 approach is the psychological relief it brings. Strict adherence to any eating plan can feel isolating at social events, especially when most of the menu is off-limits. The Pareto Principle allows for some leeway, enabling you to partake in the social aspect of eating without guilt or stress.

Remember, the aim is not just weight control, but overall health. And health, like life, is not a sprint but a marathon. The 80/20 rule gives you the tools to run this marathon sustainably and with grace, accepting the occasional stumble and getting back on track, instead of chasing the mirage of perfection that leaves you dehydrated and defeated.

The Pareto principle brings balance, flexibility, and sustainability to eating keto. It makes room for life's joys while keeping us committed to a low-carb lifestyle. This flexibility also fosters a healthier relationship with food, helping you escape the vicious cycle of guilt and bingeing that often follows 'cheat' days. 

With that in mind, there are instances we strongly recommend sticking to keto 100%. When you first start keto, it is critical to stick to keto to allow your body the chance to adapt. Our keto meal packages are designed to make eating 100% keto super easy and stress free!

There are also instances when indulging in a high sugar treat is not advised at all, if you're managing diabetes or other medical conditions. 

We also in no way recommend loading your body full of sugar or processed foods as a part of the 80/20 rule. This approach is meant to allow you the freedom to, enjoy your nonna's pasta when you make a trip to see her, or enjoy your first ice cream of the season, without worrying about having that spiral you into a high carb high sugar frenzy! 

If you've been eating keto / low-carb for years now, you may be better of trying to follow then 80 20 rule, especially in the summer when social events seem to be at an all time high. 

Do you agree? Leave us a comment below! 

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3 comments

Completely agree

Ares

I like the idea, but I think this approach ignores the physiological mechanisms at hand. Mitochondrial adaptation. Insulin sensitivity. Gut biome. Those all adapt GREATLY to being in either a diet that is primarily carbohydrate or primarily fat driven. Carbs are also HIGHLY addictive – which is simply a fact – and just as a crack-head can’t have “just a little crack” 20% of the time (OK…bad example)…or an alcoholic “a few drinks” here and there…I think (my opinion…but definitely my experience) this approach becomes a slippery slope. It’s WAY easier to stay in ketosis once in than it is to get back into it. I do think there is wisdom in the occasional “carb refeed” to both help with preserving insulin sensitivity and avoid plateauing as the body fully adapts to ketosis. I DO, however, believe (based on all the peer reviewed scientific data I’ve been exposed to) that unless a person has a solid reason to remain in ketosis for extended periods (greater than 6 months), or even life…for some medical reasons (i.e. some types of epilepsy, some cancers)…it is prudent to NOT stay in deep ketosis for more than 3-4 months, as it will (ironically) induce insulin resistance, as well as T3/T4 (thyroid hormone) issues when one finally DOES come out of ketosis after a prolonged period. I find that being in ketosis for 1-3 months (which…I find getting into to be absolutely brutal for me)…and then going out for a month or so (eating a paleo type diet)…and then going back in, has been what’s worked best for me. I say all of this meaning no disrespect to you…and understanding that there isn’t a right or wrong way to do this, and I am just a sample size of n=1. But this has been my experience and that of my patients and colleagues who use keto – and I try base what I do, and what I recommend to others, on what the literature says, not personal anecdote. Thanks for your site.

Nicholas Iain Hall

I haven’t austeoarthritis in both knees and spinalstonsis in back so need to adjust my eating plan

Ilona

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