The 80% Rule for Weight Loss (and other health-related goals)

The 80% Rule for Weight Loss (and other health-related goals)

By militantly restricting my daily calorie intake for months, I lost 20 pounds. It was a lot of work, but I was so proud of those results. Then, I met and began working with my trainer, Steve. I quickly learned a more sustainable way to lose weight, when he told me something that would forever change my approach.

So long as you do what you need to in order to be healthy 80% of the time, you will see results.

Do what you need to do 80% of the time and health will come.

Find What Works Best for You

Calorie restriction worked, I wound up losing 40 pounds. But I couldn’t maintain it. Since then, I’ve done some yo-yo dieting, trying to restrict calories again, trying NSNG and paleo, but I always “give up” just when I’m starting to see results. None of these have been a truly sustainable way for me to lose weight.

Designated “Cheat Day” for a More Sustainable Way to Lose Weight

When Steve first told me about the 80% rule, I calculated out 20% of a week (which is one day). I was hesitant to add a “cheat day” into my weekly schedule, but Steve encouraged me to give it a try. My cheat day was really just a day that I took a break from tracking my calories, and I may allow myself a treat or two over the course of the day.

Again, it just wasn’t a sustainable way to live long-term.

Finding a Way to Do it Without Tracking

This year, I’ve been trying something new in an effort to maintain both my emotional wellbeing and my physical health.

I calculated out that 73 days is 20% of a full year. Then, I wrote out a list of all of the occasions over the course of a typical year that I am likely to indulge in treats and more “unhealthy” foods. There are 52 days in a year with such occasions, leaving 21 more days, or 1-2 regular days per month to indulge a bit if I so please.

Since I’ve found success in the past by eating No Sweeteners and No Grains, that is how I am eating 80% of this year. I’m not going to stress over it during vacations, camping trips, birthdays or holidays, and I’m allowing myself a Saturday or two each month to indulge a bit more too. This is a much more sustainable way to lose weight.

If you’re interested in learning more about how this 80% journey with health is going, sign up for my newsletter by sending me a message!

To learn more about No Sweeteners and No Grains (or NSNG), visit (He actually uses the term “No Sugar, No Grains,” but if you read a bit more into it, he highly discourages all forms of sweeteners).

A Sustainable Approach

If counting calories works well for you, great, keep that up! If NSNG or Paleo, or Keto works for you, awesome.

What you need to keep in mind is that your approach should be a sustainable way to lose weight. You need a goal bigger and more important than weight loss, and you need to accomplish it in a way that you can also maintain. If you are sacrificing your mental and emotional wellbeing for the sake of losing weight, it’s not worth it.

Do what you need to do 80% of the time, and health will come.

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Do what you need to do 80% of the time and health will come.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Lisa notes

    I love your 73 day plan. Brilliant. I rarely try an every-single-day plan for anything because I know it’s rarely sustainable, so this 80% approach is so good. Thanks for sharing.

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