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Michelle’s Rule of 20/80 and 80/20

February 17, 2009

As some of you may have noticed, my routines are down pat for my workouts… well, mostly, but not really, but good enough to know I got to do more.

What is that more? Well it’s my crappy nutrition of course! So moving on to the title of this silly little post, the 20/80 and 80/20 rules.

Here is rule one- 20/80 for nutrition. Eat 20 percent of your food variety 80% of the time. So imagine it this way, you eat about 10 different food items per week (I know, that’s low, but it’s easy to do percents from). If you eat 10 different foods, 2 of those foods would be your “main” foods for that week. Those would be the foods that you’d eat 80% of the time. If I were to look at my planned week, I’d say that green leaf lettuce/spinach was food one and food two would be chicken. Another way to look at it with a larger variety is 100 foods total- 20 would be your main foods. Or 50 total so 10 main foods. Or 25 foods, so 5 main foods for the week. 25 is probably a bit more accurate for me, but that’s okay.

Then 80/20 rule- the other 80 percent of your foods you should eat 20 percent of the time. If I go with the low ten foods for this week I’d say my 8 foods that are eaten 20% of the time would be pineapple, apples, ice cream, cheese, broccoli, corn, potatoes, and cookies. I’m sure I eat more than ten different things a week, but I hope you get the idea. If not, comment and I’ll help you :).

The 20/80:80/20 rule helps for meal planning. Your main foods should make up the main part of your macronutrient needs. Carbs, protien, fat. My carbs are likely to get lower as I progress toward clean eating. Most carbs are not very clean- pasta, breads, cookies, cakes… all processed. Processed=not clean. If you really only have to think of a few main foods to get in your macro’s it sure seems easier than trying to figure out each meal individually. I could probably plan my whole life on the 20 percent of the main foods.

The other 80 percent of foods should be a high variety of different foods. Different colors just for fun, different types of foods; ie veggies, nuts, fruits, and hey, a little sugar here and there. These foods might need less preparation as well- raw fruits, veggies, and nuts are easy to prepare. For me, eggs might fit into this category. I don’t have eggs often, but throw them in once and a while.

So in summary, good nutrition is easier than you think. Pick out a few healthy foods to be your main foods. The rest just naturally comes. If you’re eating those healthy main foods first, you’ll be more likely to crave healthier side foods. And then all of a sudden you’re sitting there eating a kiwi for breakfast instead of a donut.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2009 1:29 AM

    It actually interestingly. Good job! I wish successes!

  2. ladlam permalink
    February 18, 2009 3:43 AM

    Where’d the 20/80 rule come from Michelle? I’ve never heard of it before!

  3. robfitness permalink
    February 18, 2009 3:40 PM

    Never heard of those rule either, Michelle. Is this something you created? What I say if it works for you than that’s a good thing. I have to say it does seems bit complicated for my tiny brain 🙂
    I am counting on you and Luke to really work by butt off with some awesome programs. That’s if Luke has the energy to create a workout 🙂 It was tough letting go of having a personal trainer and for the most part Brad is a nice guy, but once I told him the news… Well it wasn’t pretty, at least what I heard from him. He said some hurtful things that made me feel bad, but I didn’t let that bum me out. What I did I did for me. You would think he would be proud of my accomplishment and knowing that I gained the knowledge to do this on my own. To be honest i think he was more concerned with his loss of revenue compared to losing me a client.
    Thanks though for your support. It’s always nice to know you and Luke have my back. I am grateful for that.
    Hope all is going well on your end as well.

  4. February 18, 2009 4:34 PM

    I did make it up :). From physics… Because you’ll find the 20/80:80/20 rule there sometimes too, like when using buttons. No I don’t expect that to make sense! hehe.

    Not complicated at all Rob, just think of it this way, a few foods are your main foods that you eat nearly daily or even every meal. Then a large variety of foods are eaten here and there and maybe only at one meal a week or so. All people do this really, just sometimes the main food is pizza and pasta and the “variety” is chips, snacks, and cakes. That would have been me a year ago. There are probably a couple foods you eat right now way more frequently than others and then other foods you don’t eat so often.

    It sucks that your old trainer had such a bad reaction. Was he going to get a percent of what the lady would have been charging you? That hardly seems fair.

  5. robfitness permalink
    February 18, 2009 5:42 PM

    Thanks for the explanation on the 20/80 rule. I was never good at the math thing. But now I want Pizza 🙂 Now what i want and what I eat are two different things. probably will have my ole chicken and vegetables. Oh yea and a sweet potato too with salsa.. Yummy..
    What brad was going to do is pay this girl with the revenue he was getting from his clients. Since right now she is just his employee until she buys him out at the end of the year. So the more clients Brad losses the more money he’ll have to come from out of his own pocket. From what i heard he has lost several clients that won’t be continuing on with Cyndee. So I guess I can see why he was upset. I know he is also stressed out a bit and my news is probably something he didn’t want to hear.

  6. robfitness permalink
    February 18, 2009 5:43 PM

    By the way I hope you enjoyed your nap. I never was any good at them myself.

    • February 18, 2009 7:33 PM

      I didn’t nap well. I did finish taping my daughters wall in her room. Only three walls to go! I’m not looking forward to doing all three more of them…

      I did sort of fall half asleep in class and had a weird dream. I’ll post about it :).

  7. ladlam permalink
    February 19, 2009 3:55 AM

    I had to ask, because we have an 80/20 rule in programming as well – you spend 80% of the time programming the features that’ll get used 20% of the time…
    Yours is more interesting – it has food instead of code 😀
    Rob that’s pretty disappointing – I guess it kind of makes you feel like you’re only there to generate money for him, rather then for him to actually help you change your life. But as you said, it’s probably also quite hard for him to see so many of his clients leaving…

    • February 19, 2009 4:22 PM

      And well, with weight loss, 80% comes from diet, 20% from all the rest… 80/20 is popular everywhere once you s tart looking for it ;). For us in physics it’s about how often we use the buttons on the ultrasound machine. We’ll use 20 percent of them 80 percent of the time. Similar to yours for programming I think. Not an exact science or anything, just a general guide.

  8. ladlam permalink
    February 19, 2009 5:45 PM

    You’re quite right, once you start looking for it, the rule is everywhere 😀
    I was wondering what you meant be pressing buttons, now I see what you mean… What do the other ones do? Turn people in to a pile of green goo? 😀

    • February 19, 2009 9:43 PM

      The main buttons we use are freeze, the time gain compensation, overall gain. The rest are things like calipers, review, power doppler… and a bunch I don’t even know of yet. No green goo, only if the college is eating you.

  9. ladlam permalink
    February 20, 2009 3:52 AM

    Bit disappointing about the goo… I like the sound of a power doppler though 😀

    • February 20, 2009 3:39 PM

      Power Doppler is pretty boring, just get to listen to flow in vessels. Something important, but boring :(. We use color doppler alot though which is more fun. Then you can “see” the blood flowing.

  10. jleeger permalink
    February 22, 2009 12:28 PM

    Hi Michelle,

    I think Vilfredo Pareto was the first guy to officially “observe” the 80/20 rule. It does apply to a lot of stuff, though.

    In fact, I read something recently that said that 80% of an athlete’s training should be spent on general conditioning, and 20% on specific training.


    • February 22, 2009 12:49 PM

      The 80/20 is reallly everywhere! I know I definitely didn’t make it up, I stole it from physics and he stole it from maybe the guy you mentioned. I think you’re right about the above, Chris (link on the side) would probably agree with that. I’ll have to ask him :).

      Back to some more studying for me. I’m stopping in momentarily every fifteen minutes to break from the monotony of the liver, female pelvis, and physics…

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