Let's get realistic.

Asking yourself to eat FULLfoods (clean, nutritious, good-for-you foods) 100% of the time is unrealistic. FfL is about setting guidelines while incorporating flexibility!

Drumroll please… that’s why fad diets DON’T work. Going on a restrictive diet can help you lose weight quickly, but you’re left feeling deprived. What happens next? You burn out and gain the weight back, plus some. Sound familiar? 

Making dietary and lifestyle changes that are maintainable can prevent this vicious cycle from ever happening again. 

Aim to make healthy choices 80% of the time.

This rule teaches you balance and moderation, a concept that doesn't exist in fad diets. By allowing yourself treats 20% of the time, you feel satisfied without the crazy cravings or the need to count calories. 

The breakdown


of the time you focus on eating clean, nutritious, good-for-you foods.


of the time you have the freedom to indulge in some of your favorites.

The math is simple.

  • If you eat three well-balanced meals a day, four meals a week are reserved to indulge in your favorites (remember, portion control is vital).

This concept allows you to feel good about your food choices, removing guilt and restrictions.

What to eat during your 80%

The majority of the time, you’re going to fill up on FfL-friendly, nutritious, whole foods. Some that come to mind first are vegetables, fruits, lean protein, whole grains, beans, eggs and nuts. During your 80%, eat salads packed with summer squash, chicken and quinoa, enjoy hummus, bake a sweet potato and top it with cinnamon; snack on nuts; make an open-faced avocado and egg sandwich; just keep it clean! Save your 20% indulgences for wine, chips and guacamole, a slice of margarita pizza or key-lime pie. Just be sure to keep those indulgences to 20% of the time or less.

Moderation is key.

Be conscious of what you are putting in your mouth and how much. One serving of your favorite is okay, but eating a whole day’s worth of calories in one meal is not. What does this mean? Binge eating is not permitted. Don’t eat five chocolate bars in one sitting. (Darn!)

The same goes for clean foods. It's possible to eat too many calories, even while eating nutritious foods. Both moderation and portion control play a role in your diet, whether it’s nutritious or not. Watch for hunger cues and be mindful when you're eating.

Look ahead and plan it out.

Look at your week ahead and think about when you may want to splurge. You might enjoy indulging a little more on the weekend or break it up throughout the week. If you have a BBQ, birthday party or are eating out, reserve your less-healthy meals for those times. You may even want to plan what foods you’ll treat yourself to. This helps you refrain from becoming overly tempted and indulging in more than you should.

Which treats do you love and are worth your 20%? 

Is the day-old cake that’s been sitting out at work worth part of your 20%? Ask yourself this question when you’re tempted to treat yourself. Decide which indulgences you can live without and which are worth your splurge.

The 90/10 plan

If slimming down is your main goal, you may want to initially adopt a slightly stricter plan to keep your weight loss on track. Typically, an 80/20 approach works best for weight maintenance, while a 90/10 approach may work better for weight loss. The concept of a 90/10 split is exactly the same, just with a different breakdown.

  • If you eat three well-balanced meals a day, two meals a week are reserved to indulge in your favorites (remember portion control is vital).

You still get to enjoy your favorites and treat yourself without radical restrictions. You may even choose to alternate by implementing a 90/10 split this week and 80/20 next week. Align your numbers with what works best for you and your goals.

At the end of the day, it's all about balance, balance, BALANCE.

Action Steps

  1. Based on your goals, choose and follow the 80/20 or 90/10 approach.
  2. For the next week, fill out your Daily Food and Fitness Log. This log will be essential for future units.
    1. Tracking your food intake will help you gain awareness and understand what your diet consists of and how often you’re indulging.
    2. In addition to your food intake, use the log to track your movement. Any fitness counts, even 5 minutes.