Understanding the 80/20 Diet Rule - Pros and Cons

Discipline: It can mean the difference between achieving your weight loss goals, or completely blowing your diet. If you want to live an overall healthy lifestyle however, there is another word you need to consider- balance. Going on a diet or trying to lose weight means restricting your eating habits in one way or another. But with all of the temptations around us, it’s nearly impossible for even the most disciplined dieters to resist indulging once in a while. That's where the 80/20 diet rule comes in.

To stay healthy and in shape, you need to find a good balance between all the food groups, as well as working in a fitness routine. Restricting yourself completely from certain types of food all together is a recipe for disaster. It is unlikely that you will be able to stay away from your favorite indulgences for long periods of time when trying to lose weight, and you run the risk of eventually breaking down and ruining your diet with a binge. The best way to find balance in you healthy eating lifestyle is to adopt the 80/20 rule.

This rule says that for 80 percent of the time, you eat healthy, nutritious and whole foods that are low in calories and unhealthy fat. While the other 20 percent of the time, you are allowed to indulge a little and have those foods that satisfy the real hunger inside of you. There are number of ways to do the 80/20 split in your diet, whether you decide to eat completely healthy during the week, and allow yourself some slack on the weekend, or you devote 20 percent of your diet each day to a little bit of what you love. But, like with any diet, there are some pros and cons.


  • If you are eating healthy most of the time, the time you do not completely abide by your diet, should not be a problem in your weight loss goals.
  • The 80/20 rule helps a lot of dieters stick to their diets and make healthy living and healthy eating an overall lifestyle change for the long run. If you are able to eat what you want at least some of the time, you will be more likely to maintain a mostly healthy lifestyle.
  • The 80 percent of the time you are eating healthy, will teach you that you can be disciplined in the amount of food and calories you take in. Sticking to the 80/20 rule will give you confidence in your abilities that you are strong enough to lead a healthy lifestyle and lose weight.
  • The 80/20 rule can be amazing for people just starting out on a diet and fitness regimen. Rather than completely restricting yourself which will likely result in failure in staying on track, the 20 percent of indulgence keeps everything in perspective, and allows you to feel as though your life is still your own, but under better control.


  • Many people end up taking advantage of the 20 percent of time they are allowed to indulge. The real 20 percent should be dedicated to eating the foods you love, but not OVEReating the foods you love. Dieters with little control can end up binging during these off times, which will completely counteract the work they do during their “healthy” 80 percent.
  • Dieters who adopt the weekend/weekday split will see those two days, as two days completely off from their diet and exercise routine and could have difficulty getting back on track after a weekend.
  • If one’s favorite foods come from fast food restaurants or high-sugar candy, eating these foods in any amount can be incredibly unhealthy for anyone’s body, especially those who wish to lose weight and lead a healthy lifestyle.
  • Everyone’s body is different and those who adopt the 80/20 diet may not see any changes in their weight loss goals.

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