Diet pareto principle

Published on February 18th, 2013 | by George Conte

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How to lose weight using the pareto principle


They say we live in the age of information and while that is exciting it is also creating some problems for us. When most people first start to research about how to lose weight they get overwhelmed by the amount of information there is around in books, websites and other informational sources. This phenomenon is a characteristic of our informational age and it is called “information overload”.

The problem with informational overload is that it distracts people from achieving their real goals. For example the first day someone that just started educating himself about weight loss, learns that fruits are healthy and also have a few calories so they are great for his target, right? Wrong! because the next day he could read from another source that according to latest research, “fructose” a form of carbohydrate contained in fruits could lead to heath issues like cardiovascular diseases!

Another example could be that you start doing a diet plan you read from a book or watched on television and seems to not have the results you were expecting. After that you could rush and start the next new crazy “quick diet plan for weight loss” that has the same results as the first one. After you follow this pattern for many times (like following ten different “new and promising” diet plans) with disappointing results you end up depressed and with no energy to continue with your efforts and you finally give up.

I am sure that many of you have already identified yourselves is similar situations not only with weight loss but also in most life events you are part of.

The solution to information overload is the pareto principle

Dr. Joseph Juran an engineer and quality management consultant has observed this universal phenomenon before seventy years and he named it the law of “vital few and trivial many”. The pareto principle, or the rule of 80-20%, is a law that works on most events. This principle suggests that about 80% of results are created by about 20% of causes. So for example 20% of people own 80% of planets wealth or 20% of customers buy 80% of a business’s products.

The pareto principle can help you in every goal you set in your life. If your goals are weight loss and health then you can use this principle by identifying the vital few 20% knowledge fundamentals you need to know and take action based on them in order to achieve 80% of your goals. If your goal is to lose 10kg of fat you could achieve that by focusing on 20% of the knowledge (fundamentals) and ignore the rest distracting knowledge (like the new crazy quick weight loss diet).

The “vital few” (20%) fundamental knowledge you need for weight loss

  • A clean balanced healthy diet plan with less calories than your body needs, based on quality foods like lean white meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, whole cereals, olive oil, nuts and seeds etc.
  • Aerobic exercise like running or sports about 3 hours per week
  • Anaerobic exercise like bodybuilding for 3 hours per week
  • Healthy habits like low alcohol consumption, quit smoking manage stress and drink enough water.
  • Sleep 8-9 hours per day

 The “trivial many” (80%) almost useless knowledge you need to ignore

  • The new crazy “lose weight quick” chemical diets based on only eating bananas two times per day!
  • Useless products and services like weight loss crèmes, diet pills or “magic ingredients” contained in new exotic foods, herbs or synthetic substances with no scientific proof that have any measurable results.
  • New “magic types of effortless exercise devises” that are supposed to burn the fat while you are sleeping!
  • Don’t obsess with details like overconsumption or under consumption of specific types of foods that contain specific quantities of vitamins or minerals or other nutrients every day. An overall long-term balanced diet is far more important.

Final thoughts

The pareto principle is a healthy habit and as I wrote before every new change in your life, in order to become a habit, needs to pass some stages first. You can read more about that in stages of change. For people that are obsessed with details and the need to be perfect this won’t be an easy transition and don’t expect this to happen overnight so don’t be hard on yourself. The good thing is that you now have a method to guide yourself to the right path so you can actually avoid all the problems that informational overload and lack of focus creates.




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About the Author

George Conte is a student of Nutrition and Dietetics, a fitness and healthy living enthusiast. After seven years of personal experience with weight loss, exercise and a total body transformation where he managed to burn 121+ pounds of fat he became the founder of Dietuni.com. A website dedicated to help you overcome obesity and transform your life the same way he did!



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