The Pareto Principle and Nutrition

As health coaches, we more than regularly push forward that a good, well-balanced diet is essential.

We are destined to preach to cut out all the crap that’s out there, stop your refeeding habits, and add on sleep routines, movement and stress management to the process to get thriving.

The facts don’t lie.

They are the cornerstone for weight loss and recharging energy levels for a long-term and sustainable lifestyle. Let’s review how a progressive approach towards nutrition can be applied by using a revised version of the Pareto Principle.

As a coach, I have done everything what I would like my client to do. For me, it has been a chapter when going for my coaching certificate. Even before I started this teamwork journey, it turned into a challenge unbeknownst of the outcome. I was not only changing my nutritional habit during a couple of months.

I was also experimenting with how far I could go without losing sight of my envisioned true north.

When seeing results, the motivation to go on is high. But before the results are visible, the hurdles to overcome to that tipping point are the challenge. Falling back into old nutrition routines (i.e. instead returning back to a fully loaded cappuccino to an average black coffee, or making that last-minute switch from digging deep into a box of Dunkin’ Donuts while you’d better off blending a fruity smoothie with avocado and spinach), it isn’t that easy.

And that’s okay. In fact, it is actually better.


There is a term for constantly eating clean to a level of almost obsession – Orthorexia. Orthorexia is an unhealthy focus on eating extremely healthy, and it is not only related to eating healthy. Those getting into the habit of scoring 100% on the orthorexia scale often want to fully control their environment.

It is such an obsession for some that is even results in banning all ‘dangerous’ foods out of one’s apartment, house, and other’s lives. This eating disorder triggers emotional eating; it can damage one’s self-esteem and elevates feelings of guilt and disgust when just not eating by the book.

Perfection does not exist. 

Constantly setting your crosshairs hitting the bullseye, and not being happy with settling for a silver medal is not the name of the game. 

Food is more than the sum of its macronutrient parts.

It has a strong binding social aspect, too. 

The famous 80/20 rule can also be applied in nutrition, once you get the hang of fuelling your body responsibly. By eating 80% of your meals comprising of the options that deliver those wished-for results, 20% can be something falling off the proverbial wagon. It’s all about taking a progressive approach towards nutrition on a continuum.

It is a gradual process, unfortunately. Finding the right balance that suits your lifestyle and values is of the greatest importance. We cannot jump straight into the deep, expecting to swim 4 kilometres freestyle while we do not even know how to blow bubbles.

Things take time before getting into an automated rhythm. We must listen to our body and the signals that provide us with essential hunger or thirst cues.

When I went for it in 2018, I took a 95/5 approach. Yes, one step further.

Driven to get to where I wanted to go, I went out in a full sprint for 10 months straight. I was clear about what I could do, where I wanted to go, and why I did it. It’s not for everyone but when you become aware of your “why”, it makes more sense.

I was ready, willing and able to take that leap of faith in losing weight and get back to my best self. To date, I balance my days less as I have done before – sometimes 80/20, other days 60/40, but falling back to my 95/5 basecamp has been a habit that kicks in automatically. 

I learned to fall back to my nutrition base line by taking this progressive yet conscious approach.

Getting side-tracked during these past summer holidays months or finding yourself holidaying away with cocktails and local delicacies? It’s all good.

Now let’s get back on track!

Hard work leads to low returns. Insight and doing what we want lead to high returns.|  Richard Koch

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Every few weeks, I write about new things related to nutrition and deep health. Like creating useful and trending content, your journey to thrive does not happen overnight.