How to Eat French Fries and Stay Fit. Sorta.

No, you didn’t read the headline wrong. Yes, it is possible to eat french fries and stay fit.

Back in 2005, when I was living in New York City for the very first time, I went on a date with a guy named Mike. For our first (and only) date, Mike asked me to pick my favorite restaurant in the entire city. I choose Dallas BBQ, a soul food joint overflowing with fatty foods, high calories drinks and massive portions. When we got to the restaurant, Mike was appalled by the menu. He refused to stay – and instead, we ate a dinner across the street. Mike ordered a salad with no cheese, fat free dressing and a diet coke. In that moment, I knew it would never work out.

I understand that Dallas BBQ can’t be a staple food source for someone that is looking to stay healthy and fit – or for someone that is trying to release weight. But I also understand that life is about balance and moderation. If your self-imposed diet deprives you of the foods that you love, then it’s probably a diet to which you’ll be unable to stick. It’s just not sustainable.

So, I follow the 80/20 rule. I eat foods that are healthy 80% of the time. And 20% of the time, I allow myself to indulge in the foods that may not be particularly healthy – but that I love. Things like potato skins, vegetable tempura or french fries. The trick is moderation – and the 80/20 rule is a helpful guideline for striking that gentle balance. It amounts to 2 – 3 indulgent meals over the course of a week.

The 80/20 rule allows you to have your cake and eat it too. Literally. And that’s why I’m such a fan.

Do you follow the “everything in moderation” mentality? When it comes to diet and nutrition, what do you do?

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.

Comments

  1. Dear Davey,
    I’m skinny due to awesome genetics, I can eat all I want and not gain a thing. But does the rule still apply to me? I understand that healthy food is always better, but your blogpost is mostly for those trying to lose weight, right?

    I wonder where you stand on proteinshakes and creatine etc. I’ve never heard you talking about that… I need to gain muscles and people always suggest those shakes… What do you think I should do?

    Love,
    Steven

    • Even if you are skinny, you should eat healthy – most of the time. Yes, you should still follow the rule. There’s something called skinny fat… wherein people are skinny, but unhealthy. I’ll do a blog post about it soon!

      • Yeah!!! Cant wait. Alot of fitness website have been targeting people that wants to loose fat,but wha about the scrawny as people. Hope you do a post on that one too, wider audience perhaps? not just the usual. that will be awesome. I love this blog. 🙂

  2. I would like this rule to apple to me…truly. but i’ve been in this eat-very-healthy-for-a-long-time-then-binge pattern for a while now

  3. All of my friends follow the 20/80 rule. 20% healthy food and 80% not particularly healthy food. They think my diet is way to strict even though I thoroughly enjoy the food I eat, eat as much of it as I want and allow myself to indulge in not particularly healthy food whenever I want without guilt, which just happens to be not too often.

    I really think it’s a matter of taste. The food I eat taste good to me and the longer I eat healthy food the less good the not particularly healthy food tastes. Your taste buds adapt.

  4. Joshiepooh says:

    I’ve tried to cut down on my binge eating but my mum or her boyfriend cooks for me. When I ask could they stop feeding my fatty foods or if they offer me food that I would eat but decline they are all over me, saying go on, go on! and if I still decline my mum starts to interrogate me saying why aren’t you eating, you’re not fat, you don’t need to diet, you can eat what you want you don’t need to watch your weight, there’s nothing wrong with what you eat…….it just goes on! I can’t get it into her head that I want to eat healthier; I’m not that good a cooking so I can’t cook for myself (even though she is a really fantastic cook as she used to be a chef). I’m not “fat” but I’m on the borderline of being overweight by using my height and what not, so I want to cut down but when she notices that I’m not eating these fatty foods she goes and over compensates and buys twice as much food and then I feel guilty and feel obligated to eat it as its bought for me, even though I didn’t ask for it! It’s annoying sometimes to be so sensitive about others feelings. Any advice?

    • What if you explained to your mom that its not that you want to loose weight, but to eat healthier so that you can gain lean muscle? If you change the angle in which you pitch your request, maybe it would help her see your side of things.

      Also, come prepared and prepare to negotiate. Make a menu which you think would be an acceptable compromise between what you want and what your mom wants. If she can see the types of food that you like, and that you’ve done the hard work, she’ll be more likely to agree to any changes.

      • Joshiepooh says:

        Good idea, thanks Thomas, well it’s strange because she eats healthy, she is always dieting and I don’t understand why she won’t let me just eat health. I see it as eating healthier but I don’t think she does.

  5. I think that the 80/20 rule is a good rule to follow. Now that I think about my diet, I actually come pretty close to following the 80/20 rule. It really does help with being able to keep your diet healty and indulge a little bit. Where did you first come across/think of the 80/20 rule?

    Love, Peace, and Hugs
    ~ Eva

  6. I generally enjoy really plain foods, like yogurt, shredded wheat, protein powder most of the day. I guess my 20 comes when I’m eating with someone else like my bf. I eat a more standard diet at those times, and some desserts too. However, there are some foods I stay away from like pizza, donuts and french fries. After not eating them for a few years, the thought of going back to that greasy mess disgusts me and it is no longer a pleasant thought to eat them.

  7. What I do, is to give myself one day of the week to have everything I want in the amount I want. Usually that day is sunday.

    After some time of doing this and since the whole week you’ve been eating healthy, sundays won’t be that different.

    If you’re planning on having some beers with your friends, just switch days and that’s it.

    This works like a charm and it kinda obeys to the 80/20 rule.

  8. I thought veggie tempura was good for you. Better than oh say Cheese fondu.

  9. LouisBfly says:

    This is absolutely the sanest way to eat, in cutting completely your focus is totally on the unhealthy foods you can’t have and you’re consequently more likely to binge. Also, why deprive yourself of really nice things anyway? Life’s no fun that way.

  10. Being vegan by the loosest definition – as I still eat fish and eggs; I agree with the 80/20 rule, and have substituted frozen yogurt for ice cream whenever I feel the urge to have a frozen dish in the heat of the summer.

    Moderation is a great way to keep yourself motivated by treating your treats as a reward instead of a staple.

    Cheers!

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