80 20 principle diet

12 Minute Athlete follows the philosophy that balance is the key to happiness.

So don’t kill yourself (please) if you have a cookie once and a while. Life is meant to be enjoyed.

That being said, I advocate keeping to a healthy diet at least 80% of the time.

That gives you plenty of room to cheat, to go on vacation and enjoy a happy hour with friends without feeling as if you are a horrible person.

I’ll talk more about specific areas of nutrition in articles on the site, but here the 10 rules you should try and live by:

1. Aim for 40% of your calories to be from carbohydrates, 30% from fats, and 30% from protein.

I’m a vegetarian, so this is extra challenging, but it’s completely doable.

2. Eat as many whole foods as possible.

This will require you to cook and prepare meals often, but also leaves room for dining out at healthy restaurants.

3. Include protein in every single meal.

This will help feed your muscles and regulate your blood sugar (i.e. how hungry and cranky you are).

4. Eat often.

Aim for 5-7 meals a day.

5. Embrace fats.

No, I am not encouraging you to gobble down handfuls of french fries. Healthy fats are where it’s at.

6. Limit refined carbohydrates and processed food in general.

This goes back to point #2.

7. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.

Repeat.

8. No starving yourself if you’re trying to lose weight.

Severely restricting your calories inevitably backfires in the long run, so don’t do it.

9. Don’t deny yourself the things you love.

Save them for special times and you’ll enjoy them even more.

10. Savor each meal.

Food is wonderful and is meant to be enjoyed. Eat well and live long!