For the Love of Food: Adopt the 80-20 Rule

Love of Food: I thought I would just write something “light” for a change. Are you as obsessed with food as I am? I look forward to “treating myself” to weekend gastronomic cheat days. This is because Melissa and I are on a strict regimen of consuming only vegetables during the week – and I feel great (thinking of eating the wallpaper).

Melissa sometimes catches me looking at online pictures of beef ribs and shrimp scampi (might as well go for the surf n turf). I blush and feel shame.


Come Monday night, I am already planning my weekend “kill” like a leopard stalking a gazelle. I feel as though my strategy would make a football coach proud. On three, take out the person blocking the supermarket entrance reading their receipt – Hut!-Hut!-Hut!

  • Stretchy pants - check.
  • Shopping list – check. Note: the list looks like a physics problem – addition, multiplication, position vectors. Yes, I’ve calculated the airspeed velocity of an Oscar Mayer Bologna.
  •  Antacids – check.
  • Scale – hidden.

The return home is full of delightful anticipation and involves more brain cells than I care to admit. 

Amidst the sound of screeching sneakers, I leave a smoke trail from the car to the kitchen to unload grocery bags.  Snack chip packages are ripped open leaving them unrecognizable. The deli meat is suddenly waving a white flag.


The food is decimated and I feel as though I conquered Kilimanjaro – with a dreadful stomach ache. I now feel regret because I overcompensated for my weekly hunger. I felt entitled to the banquet.


My biggest lesson when it comes to my love of food is to aim for equilibrium. It’s okay to be healthy during the week, vegetables are great but perhaps I should allow myself smaller treats throughout. I’m a work in progress, but progress I shall.


I’ll slow down and be more mindful the next time I go food shopping. The employees will come out of hiding and finally be able to remove their helmets.  ~  Ted

For the Love of Food: Use the 80-20 Rule for Finding Balance ~parts adapted via

Adopt the 80:20 Rule: Aim for eating healthy foods 80% of the time and unhealthy foods 20% of the time. Remember, extreme diets that promote deprivation are simply unsustainable for the long-term. 

Eating 80/20 on a daily basis:

You fill the majority of your meals and snacks with healthy, nutrient dense foods from the compliant list. When it comes time for your 20 percent indulgence, you reach for a snack bag of chips in the afternoon, a glass of wine with dinner, or a few squares of dark chocolate for dessert.

Remember: Even though you’re allowed to indulge, you can’t call half a pan of brownies a “snack” and expect to lose weight (even if your other meals are healthy!). The 20 percent refers to the ratio of “good” versus “bad” foods, but also to the amount of calories you eat every day.

Eating 80/20 on a weekly basis:

You stick to your calorie goals for five days in a row (let’s say weekdays, just to simplify). You don’t have to be overly strict—that might leave you tempted to swing too far the other way when the weekend arrives—but you should be trying to make healthy choices as close to 100 percent of the time as possible from Monday through Friday. When the weekend comes, you relax your calorie goals.

Notice that says “relax,” not “throw out the window." Overindulging on your 20 percent days, like eating fast food for every meal, won’t help you with your weight-loss goals. For example, enjoy a portioned serving of your favorite cereal for breakfast, a healthy lunch, one drink with dinner, and either the mac-and-cheese side dish or the slice of carrot cake for dessert (not both).

For the Love of food and Other Healthy Tid Bits