10% Better that’s it?
What the hell is the 10% rule?
This is how I like to define the 10% rule. 90% of the time you’re eating real whole foods that will get you to your goals and 10% of the time you’re not.
For you engineers, math elites, and those that just like numbers (I’m raising my hand) this is what that may look like over the course of a week.
Let’s say you normally eat 4 meals or 3 meals and 1 snack a day. Over 7 days that’s a total of 28 meals. 10% of that is roughly 3. This means that if you’re following the 10% rule, 3 meals per week can be whatever you’d like within reason.
- 4 meals per day x 7 days per week = 28 meals a week
- 28 meals x 10% = 2.8 (lets just round that up so you’re not eating .2 of a slice of pizza)
- Kaboom! Three 10% meals per week
Q: What does a 10% meal actually look like?
This is a tough one to answer. It’s probably going to be a little bit different for everyone but I’ll do my best to explain. One thing to keep in mind is to not go CRAZY! A 10% meal is not an entire pizza. It’s not an entire gallon of ice cream and it’s not an entire cheesecake (yes, I have done this before and I’m not ashamed… ok maybe a little. And hell no it wasn’t the cheesecake I smashed back!)
You don’t need to weigh and measure a cheat meal. You just need to use common sense and take a rational approach. 2 slices of pizza, a couple scoops of ice cream, and a piece of cheesecake the size of your palm are examples of 10% meals. If you’re grabbing some fast food a burger and small fires is a 10% meal just don’t drink the damn pop.
Big tip: I like to apply the “how can I make this 10% meal better rule. For example, if I’m out to dinner and was thinking about grabbing a burger and fries I might opt for a smaller serving of fries instead of the large version or maybe even choose the bacon cheeseburger and just have half the bun instead of the entire thing.
This is up to you.
Q: Should I plan my 10% meals?
At first I suggest that you do. Figure out how many meals you usually eat per week and then multiply that by 10%. That will give you your number of 10% meals. Lets say you get 3 of these each week. Based on your schedule decide when you’d like to use these.
If you know you enjoy heading out with the boys or ladies for a Thursday night happy hour, schedule that in as one of your 10% meals. Are you usually running around Saturdays? Maybe that’s a good day to schedule a 10% meal for lunch. Do you like to order a pizza for the family mid week? 2 slices Wednesday night could be a 10% meal.
Big tip: When it comes to alcohol 6 beers, 3 shots, and a Margarita is not a 10% meal. That’s called a hangover waiting to happen. Be reasonable here. 1 to 3 beers, a mixed drink or 2, or a glass of wine or 2 is the way to go.
Q: I’m still having trouble. My 10% meals are turing in 20%, 30%, and 40% meals.
This stuff isn’t easy so have a little self-compassion. You’ll get better with this. Are there ways you can turn some of you favorite 10% meals into more nutritious options. Hell yeah, that’s what Ash and I do. Its called GOOGLE you can find a trillion recipes on that magical platform.
Q: I’m using the 10% rule but I’m still not losing weight/body fat.
Make sure to take various measures of progress before starting to use the 10% method. Hop on the scale once per week. Take girth measurements bi-weekly. Use before and after photos each month and maybe even get a body fat test done. This way you’ll have some evidence as to what’s really working and what’s not.
Also, make sure that you’re really following the 10% rule. It’s easy to sneak a little bit here and there. Spend a week or 2 logging all your food to really assess how consistent you are. If you’re still not making any progress you may just be consuming too many calories with your 10% meals. Try cutting the servings back a little or maybe even going to a 5% meal rule for a little.
Lastly, maybe your healthier meals are larger than you really need.
Q: Any other tips for these 10% meals?
You betcha! I’ll leave you with 3 awesome strategies for getting the most out of your 10% meals. In fact, you can use these regardless of whether it’s a 10% meal or not.
- Slow down: It takes roughly 20 minutes for your gut to signal to your brain when you’re full. Take at least 20 minutes to eat your 10% meals (or any meal for that matter).
- Eat to 80% full: If you’re eating slowly it makes this tip easier to apply. Every 5 to 10 minutes assess how full you feel? Or try leaving a little food on your plate instead of eating it all.
- Do your best with who, what, and where you are. That’s it.
Q: This 10% rule sounds dumb.
Cool. You’re a grown up. Eat what you want then. Just know 10% better every week adds up!
Diets are short term solutions for long term problems and most of them don’t address the behavior changes that are necessary for building healthy habits that stick. In my personal opinion striving for perfection or expecting yourself to follow a diet 100% is setting yourself up for extreme frustration.