The 80/20 Myth

There’s long been a saying in the CrossFit community that when it comes to your diet you should follow the “80/20” rule. This is to say you should eat real, whole foods 80% of the time and enjoy yourself with indulgences like ice cream or cookies 20% of the time. It’s long been discussed that if you do this you’ll be as fit as you want to be both via performance and aesthetics. Well, I’m here today to tell you that’s a flat out lie. 

The truth of the matter is, and it always has been this question — what are your individual goals and where are you exactly on your fitness journey? The 80/20 train of thought really works for one person and one person only. The person who is completely happy with their performance and how they look. That person can absolutely live in a world of 80/20. The reason being is because the 80/20 rule is really for those who need only MAINTAIN their weight. 

I discussed this with newfound friend of the gym, E.C Synkowski, in our 2nd episode of “Bold Conversations”. If you haven’t watched it already I strongly recommend that you do. But, she outlines this very piece. We have to realize that the body is very good at accommodating change. It doesn’t just take snapshots of what you do for one day. It’s constantly trying to find some sort of homeostasis more so week to week. If it did take snapshots of days, then we wouldn’t be able to handle fasting for 2-3 days or eating a huge surplus in 1 sitting the way we do during the holidays. Therefore, this 20% is really just going to get factored in to what you’ve done for the rest of the week and your body is going to assume your daily caloric homeostasis is closer to that number you’re having on those splurge days. 

The process of weight loss, which is what most of us want, really has to be 100% on all the time. I know it’s tough and it requires a lot of discipline but it is doable. You have to remember that it’s only a 30 day process if done to the letter of the law. 30 days for most of us isn’t even 1% of our whole life. You have to present your body with a new normal so that it doesn’t see the need or have the ability to carry around this excess weight that is fueled by excess calories. 

Yes, you only had 5 beers, but how many calories are in each serving of beer? Yes, you only had 2 glasses of wine, but how many calories are in each glass of wine? Yes, you only had a few chips and salsa or guacamole, but how many chips is a serving size and how many calories are in that serving size? I can tell you that the guacamole has about 27 calories per tablespoon! When you write these things down and do the math on them you’re going to see that you did actually have a lot and it really was “that bad.”

As EC says in the conversation point blank, if you’re overweight, you’re overeating. Point blank. End of story. So now, the question and push to action leads us to this – What is the RIGHT amount of food for you to lose weight OR the right amount of food to maintain your weight? Remember, it’s goal dependent. 

Need some help finding the answer to the final question? Here we are – schedule a time to get a nutrition program rolling.

Want to learn more about EC Synkowski’s #800GramChallenge? Check it out here.

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