My friend Sandra has gained 43 pounds since the start of the pandemic. Before March, she had been going to the gym regularly and eating well.
After the gyms closed, Sandra’s habits got worse. She never entered the home exercise routine and her diet was also progressively getting worse.
Today, her gym has reopened, but they only allow a limited number of people at a time.
Yesterday, She tried to make an appointment online, but the places were full. Sandra drove to the gym and waited in line for 30 minutes, on ‘stand-by’. She hoped someone wouldn’t show up and she could take their place.
It didn’t work. The gym was packed and Sandra couldn’t work out. On the way home, she stopped at McDonald’s drive-thru and bought a burger and fries and a Coke for dinner.
It was a depressing ending to a failed attempt at exercise.
The pandemic has caused a downward spiral for my friend Sandra’s health, and the biggest problem, in my opinion, is the negative impact on her diet.
You just don’t know how to get back on track. Here’s how she can start.
The 80/20 Rule: The Law Of The Few
The Pareto Principle, also known as the “80/20 rule,” says that most outcomes in life come from a few causes.
This principle is named after the Italian engineer Vilfredo Pareto, who first used the theory to show that almost 80% of the land in Italy belonged to only 20% of the population.
Have you ever felt that most of the problems in your office are created by a few bad employees?
Have you ever felt like you were arguing with your spouse over the same small number of topics? (i.e. your finances or your children)
These are examples of the 80/20 rule in action.
In his book “The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Doing More with Less,” author Richard Koch explains how the Pareto principle should be applied to all aspects of our lives.
By understanding the prolific nature of this Pareto principle, we can find ways to use it to our advantage in our own lives.
The 80/20 Rule In Weight Loss
Here’s how to think about weight loss in terms of the 80/20 rule:
A small percentage of the foods we consume are causing us to gain the most amount of weight.
I am a big coffee drinker. I drink 3-4 cups a day and have been doing it for years. I used to put 2 sugars in my coffee. Over the course of a year, I hit a lot of sugar that I was consuming with coffee. This sugar intake made me gain weight.
When I realized this, I eliminated the sugar from my coffee completely. As a result, I lost a lot of weight.
My friend Sandra eats regularly at fast-food restaurants. She will eat there 3 to 5 times a week. As a result, she is consuming an absurd amount of calories through Coca-Cola and hamburgers.
If you cut Coca-Cola and replace it with something healthier (like soda water), you will start to make a big reduction in your recent weight gain. If you stop eating unhealthy fast food altogether and start preparing meals at home, the changes can be dramatic.
To use the 80/20 rule effectively for weight loss:
- Check what foods you are eating regularly each week.
- discover the small number of foods that have the biggest impact on your weight gain (i.e. those with the most calories but the least value)
- reduce, eliminate or replace these foods so that you can minimize their impact and have the greatest impact on your health goals
This plan really helped me and I know it can help my friend Sandra if she decides to give it a try. I hope I can help you too.