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Why Are You Eating?

What are you eating your meals for?

Is it to fuel your workout today, tomorrow and the rest of the week?

Is it to fulfill a nostalgic craving or to fit in socially?

Is it to cope with stress?

Is it for your general health?

Any any one moment it may "yes" to one or all of these. You have regular training and competition you want to be ready for, but you also don't want to be so obsessed and strict about food that you don't fit in socially or are "that guy" who says no when your loved one makes a tasty comfort food that is...less that healthy.

Here's a few rules of performance and health that may be helpful to put things in perspective:

1) Most people can benefit from the 80/20 rule. That means 80% of your meals are whole, minimally processed, and balanced with macros and vegetables. The other 20% of the calories you eat can be from whatever you like. For some they may be a few meals a week and some treats mixed in. For others that might be a day that you just don't worry about perfect nutrition and just manage your portions to make sure you don't get too full on whatever you choose. Overall you can stay pretty lean, build muscle when you want to, and perform pretty well with the 80/20 rule. At times this may get a little uncomfortable to choose what is best for you, but largely it gives you the option to be a little "off" multiple times per week.

2) The 90/10 rule. To get leaner and see some abs and other definition and make more progress that you can on the 80/20 rule, the 90/10 rule will get you there. That means 90% of your meals are whole, minimally processed, and balanced with macros and vegetables. The other 10% of the calories you eat can be from whatever you like, but maybe not too far off base. This takes more planning to prioritize your nutrition no matter where you are. Traveling? You intentionally choose the best options for restaurants and menu items or even intentionally book a place you can do your own cooking. Someone in the family or friend circle always making something sweet? Might need to say "no" more often than not. Why would you choose this? If you are seriously looking to optimize your health, pain, recovery, performance, and physique, this 90/10 rule becomes a necessity at some point. People well below the 80/10 rule can make MASSIVE progress for a while, but phases or permanency in the 90/10 rule will help optimize even further. How does that look practically? In a week averageing 20-30 meals and snacks, that means only 2-3 meals or servings can be less healthy or unhealthy. This works for some people really well, because they feel awesome with all the good stuff they are having throughout the week, but having the freedom to have a few meals or sweets throughout the week helps them mentally feel like it's not that bad. To truly follow this 90/10 meal well, your choices for the 10% will be relatively small portion and not all out binges and the perspective is more on a monthly basis than a weekly basis, meaning 90% of your choices throughout the month added to your goals.

3) The 95/5 rule. This is the hardcore route. Not for the faint of heart. For the serious or professional competitor or the physique model or the body builder, this is necessary to reach the highest level. It is a cost not many are willing to make. Literally everthing revolves around making choices for your health and performance. You will have to say not when offered something that isn't on the plan 95% of the time. You may go off plan maybe once a month or have a reasonable portion of something unhealthy only once per week. To be as lean as possible, to perform and recover at the highest level, you can't afford to have any junk or hidden calories in the tank. This rule takes careful planning, discipline, and support. Some do this really well. Some can only maintain it for seasons. Few maintain it for long-term. It can be a really useful rule to follow in the bigger plan of getting you to 80/20 or 90/10 by proving to yourself that you can do it and that you don't "need" those comfort foods or junk foods and you can discover the amazing flavors and options for healthier foods.

So, you can see that each rule fits a different goal and lifestyle.

What do you see when you read these different rules for different goals and outcomes?

Have you been expecting more of yourself than you should?

Does this make you feel freedom to choose what fits your lifestyle and life demands right now?

Which rule seems most realistic to you?

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