Published in


This “90/10 Principle” Will Make You Stick to Your Nutrition Protocol


As you can probably tell by now, we love to hike.

It’s time to get the term “diet” out of your lexicon

Throughout the years, people “go on diets,” only to eventually get off of those diets and rebound. Hard.

A diet implies that for 3 weeks or half a year you restrict yourself from eating donuts, or dairy, or even full-on carbs.

The scale will smile, the mirror will smile, you will smile…

And then you attack donuts and dairy and carbs hard as soon as the clock strikes midnight on week three or month six…

BOOM! Back to square one.

I’ve already tried my best to answer the question, “How can I lose fat in the most enjoyable and sustainable way?

I gave you the option of using Intermittent Fasting as a tool to help you with sticking to a small caloric restriction. This protocol — eating 8 hours out of the day, fasting for 16 — is geared towards having two large, satisfying meals, with perhaps a snack somewhere in the window.

However, if you are 180 pounds, and you set a caloric restriction of 2,000 calories, and you use all 2,000 calories for Krispy Kreme, you’ll end up in trouble. Yes, given that you are in a deficit, you will still lose weight. But will you be losing fat? Debatable…

Not to mention, your body will start to hate you. It cannot thrive on empty carbs alone; calories mean nothing except quick energy if you don’t consume nutrients, both micro and macro.

Photo Credit: American Heart Association

You need protein to help rebuild muscle, fats to regulate hormones, carbohydrates to restore glycogen, steady insulin, and improve cognitive ability.

You need Vitamin D for absorbing calcium, zinc, phosphate, and magnesium; Vitamin C for repairing tissue; Potassium for blood pressure, digestion, and pH balance; and so on with thousands of micronutrients.

Now, this is not to say restrict what you eat to 100% vegetables, fruits, and grains (unless that’s what you want to do). Normally, people enjoy a good burger every now and then. Cookies, ice cream, pizza — comfort foods that give our brains that dopamine effect — these all deserve a spot at the table (pun intended).

So how can you get all of your nutrients while also sticking to this protocol for life enjoyably?

Enter the 90/10 Principle

Now, I did mention in last week’s article that you should keep nutrients at an 80/20 split, but now I believe we can be more deliberate with our food choices.

Here’s the gist:

For 90% of your nutrition, it should be plant-based or a great source of protein; for the other 10%, you can have whatever you want.

That means, for example, all of your meals involve some combination of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, minimal dairy and grains, a healthy amount of legumes, and good fats (Omega-3 rich). The other 10% can be whatever the hell your heart desires.

Photo Credit: Choosing Green

My 90/10 split involves the following:

  • Lunch: A salad or salsa paired with a banana and nut butter sandwich on a whole wheat bagel.
  • Dinner: A “Chipotle bowl” of sorts, including garbanzo beans, black beans, quinoa or rice, pumpkin seed (or flax or chia), sauteed peppers, spinach, and a fruit salad.
  • Dessert (a.k.a. my 10%): Dark chocolate or Ben & Jerry’s Tonight Dough ice cream or PopChips or whatever I have a hankering for.

So you see, my meals can be vibrant, nutritious, and delicious. Then I can be that guy at midnight snacking on chocolate chips — in moderation — and not feel guilty about it.

The great thing about this 90/10 split is that the 90%, for the most part, isn’t as calorically dense as some of the 10% foods are. Which means I can eat more of those foods without being afraid of going above my deficit (yet another way I don’t have to count calories…bleh).

Throw the word “diet” out the f*ckin’ window

Ditch the “high fat low carb.” Leave behind the “no sugar” challenge. It’s your life, your lifestyle; make it enjoyable and easy to implement.

All of the foods you love can be included in a “nutrition protocol” (what it should be called), you just have to be smart and aware of your food choices. Be sure to make that 90% a true 90%, and you are well on your way to having a healthier body.

It can’t all be Twinkies. But it doesn’t have to be straight kale either.


Jake “The Vaga-Bod”

Things are looking up!

Ditch the script and come along with me!

Every Monday/Wednesday/Friday I’ll provide you with great content about health and fitness. If you enjoyed this, please smash that heart and comment if you have any questions!

Stay locked in on The Mission and my Vaga-Bod journey!

If you enjoyed this story, please recommend and share to help others find it! Feel free to leave a comment below.

The Mission publishes stories, videos, and podcasts that make smart people smarter. You can subscribe to get them here.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store