80/20 Living 101 2017-02-01T21:48:40+00:00

80/20 Living 101

While my online course, 80/20: The DIETless Diet provides a comprehensive, step-by-step plan-of-action regarding all facets of my 80/20 Healthy Lifestyle Transformation system (80/20 Clean Eating, Journal, Factor In Your Fitness, Identifying Your Support System, Managing Expectations, Enjoying Life’s 20%), here is an overview to help you determine if The 80/20 Lifestyle is right for you.

The most commonly asked question I receive is, “How many 20% Indulgent Meals do I get a week?” The answer varies based on whether you want to amp it up and lose weight quickly, slow it down and lose weight at a steady pace, or just increase the quality of your nutrition and maintain your current weight. In my book, The 80/20 Lifestyle Diet: 28-Days to a Total Healthy Lifestyle Transformation, I provide several options based on the above considerations. Your only job is to determine the best option for you. At different times in your life you may feel it necessary to adjust your plan; I encourage movement between the options as needed to achieve your desired result. Adapting this fluid approach further supports a lifestyle that will last a lifetime.

Here is a snapshot of the options available in the plan:



Maintain or Improve Nutritional Quality
Daily- Eat Clean 80% of the day, reserving 20% for a small daily treat. This treat will range from 150-300 calories. Individuals that want to maintain a current weight but feel the desire to also elevate their overall nutritional intake should embrace a daily approach.


Slow and Steady Weight Loss
Weekly- Eat Clean every day with two weekly 20% Indulgent meals (Wednesday and Saturday work well). Individuals that want to lose weight and also elevate their overall nutritional intake but want to move slow and steady should embrace this approach.


Rapid Results Weight Loss
Weekly- Eat Clean every day with one weekly indulgent meal. Individuals that are seeking rapid weight loss results but are also committed to elevating their overall nutritional intake should embrace this one weekly indulgent meal approach.

Click Here for your DOWNLOADABLE “Keeping It Clean” Flash Reminder Cards



(How and Why I Created The 80/20 Lifestyle)

You are not going to believe this but, according to statistics, the number of people on diets in the United States is 108 Million; of those dieters, typically four to five attempts are made per year to lose weight. Out of those that successfully lose weight, 95% gain back the weight within a few months + a few pounds more.  If that weren’t overwhelming enough, examine the fact that there are over one trillion pages on the internet, of which a sizeable amount is dedicated to the next, great weight loss answer.     

As awesome as it is to have access to this wide variety of information, us mere mortals can only consume, decipher, and implement so much at any given time. It’s no wonder we are lost in a sea of diet confusion, and our ability to trust and believe in “anything” is shrinking.   

There are moments in life that re-define our existence.  A few examples are:

  • The day you commit your life to God.
  • The day you become a parent.
  • and, the day you decide you will never DIET again!

In 2004, I made the decision to never DIET again and I put an end to my perpetual diet roller coaster.  I had lost the same 15 lbs. for the last time; I was ready to create my FOREVER lifestyle. 

I wanted balance, I didn’t trust trendy diets, and I believed in the goodness of Mother Nature to nourish my body. The process of identifying these core beliefs helped me establish the foundation of The 80/20 Lifestyle.  My background in behavioral science helped me fine-tune the psychological obstacles that would likely present themselves in the process. So, with my family’s unknowing participation, I went to work in the Shea Family Kitchen Lab. 

My mission was to change the way my family and I related to food using the 80/20 concepts.  And to also create a variety of tools based on my knowledge of the behavioral sciences that supported our efforts and made the reinvention process FUN.  Within 6 weeks I knew my new Non-DIET was, indeed, the answer. 

So, that is why I DON’T DIET, diet’s don’t work and they leave you physically and psychologically drained. 

So, what did I do nutritionally, psychologically and spiritually to transform my family’s relationship with food?  I started from the beginning!

Six Reasons You Should Start Over

I was ready to START OVER… I knew having a healthy, happy relationship with food and fitness was not about food and fitness alone. I was ready to celebrate life and feel content in my daily effort. 

So, while I was using my family’s dinner table as a lab and my husband, children and myself as guinea pigs, I was carefully taking notes of every aspect of this process. It soon became obvious that reinventing your relationship with food and fitness and learning to live a healthy lifestyle was a combination of several factors:

  1. 80% Healthy
  2. Journal
  3. Factor in Your Fitness
  4. Identify Your Support System
  5. Manage Your Expectations
  6. 20% Indulgence

1: 80% Healthy


Consume whole grains, lean meats, & fresh vegetables. Quality foods replace the need for quantity control (to a great degree). It is best to combine a complex carbohydrate with a lean protein and a healthy fat at each meal. They are a team and work best together.


Drink 11-15 cups of water daily. A result of the healthy choices you are making is going to be natural weight loss (if needed) and water will help flush your body of all toxins it is trying to shed. Bonus: water helps with glowing skin and keeps energy levels high!


Eat 5-6 mini meals a day (what a treat!) This is important because it supercharges your metabolism to function in the most efficient manner possible. Enjoying mini meals throughout the day helps to control cravings and keep blood sugar level!


5 Ingredient Rule
Stick with products that contain less than 5 ingredients on the label. Or better yet, focus on eating whole foods that do not require a label! For more information, click here for an overview of the 5 Ingredient Rule.

Click Here for your DOWNLOADABLE “Keeping It Clean” Flash Reminder Cards

2: Journal

Take inventory, not of your pantry but of your habits. Spending time recognizing strengths and weaknesses will allow you to formulate a strategy.

There are great apps available to help you keep track of your nutrition and your habits; I have used www.myfitnesspal.com for years with great success; but I began with a binder. Journaling is an important tool to redirect behavior.

3: Factor in Your Fitness

What is fitness? Is it lifting heavy weights, jumping on boxes or dancing your socks off?  Or, how about, doing endless hours of cardio? My definition of fitness is much simpler than most:  Moving blood through your body at an increased rate for a sustained number of minutes everyday. PERIOD. 

In the winter and inclement weather, I am a weight lifter. I love the challenge and the added benefit of structural integrity muscle mass provides. But, in the summer and beautiful weather, I am a biker, jogger, and kayaker.  I allow my fitness a lot of room for movement and adaptation. The main idea with fitness is you must factor it in to your daily life. Spend time examining your schedule and realistically setting goals of when and how you can incorporate cardiovascular and strength training into your life.

4: Support System

We are all in this together but often finding the right kind of support can be a challenge.  In today’s world, support is just a click away. I encourage you to locate and use this powerful tool of inclusion.  Garner support, share ideas, lend support and watch this powerful cycle replenish, restore and realign your efforts. 

At times you will be on the receiving end of support and others you will be on the giving end. This is part of the strength of a support system; its energy is perpetual and includes both receiving and giving.

5: Manage Expectations

I have trained long enough to know that most people set physical (aesthetic) goals based off a body type they admire. The love the look of long lean muscle, or they admire the strength and structure of dense muscle mass. They admire a “look” that may, or may not, be in-line with their body’s own natural pre-disposed ability. 

It is important to know what body type you are prior to setting physical (aesthetic) expectations. Your body-type in no way dictates your ability to achieve your health and fitness goals. But, setting goals that are in line with the highest and best use of your natural resources is a smart thing to do. (Click Here for an overview of Body Types)

6: 20% Indulgence

Finally, as 80/20 Lifestyle eaters, 80% of the time choices are made that contribute to the health and physical wellbeing of the body by choosing foods of higher quality. But, 20% of the time choices are made that contribute to the nourishment of the soul and mental wellbeing of the human spirit, by choosing foods that speak to our heart.

Planning for this soul quenching celebration is part of the success strategy of The 80/20 Lifestyle. Deciding how to spend your 20% should be savored and enjoyed as much as the impending deliciousness.

One Final Note

There you have it, the grid of The 80/20 Lifestyle!  After 12 years and well over 10,000 hours of intense research, study, trial, error and celebration the foundation of Healthy Lifestyle Reinvention, The 80/20 Lifestyle!

So, don’t be afraid to START OVER, go back to the basics, the beginning and build a new relationship with food and fitness; a relationship that will serve your body nutritionally, and your spirit emotionally. 

The most important aspect of reinventing your relationship with food is learning to choose quality food over filler food. The 80/20 Lifestyle does not focus on macro or micro nutrient consumption until phase three of the plan.  We spend the first two phases understanding our habits, our current consumption, and preparing our toolbox to help us in challenging situations. So, providing this information prior to phase one and two might be a little overwhelming for some.  

Just remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach; the number of calories and types of nutrients (both macronutrients and micronutrients) each person requires daily will vary greatly based on goals and objectives.  The 80/20 Lifestyle Diet: A 28 Day Guide to Total Healthy Lifestyle Transformation will provide a formula to assist you in determining the best “Guidelines” based on your goals as well as how to maintain, and even accelerate the weight loss process.

One final note: The 80/20 Lifestyle means 80% of the time we follow the clean eating guidelines (outlined above), and the other 20% we celebrate life with our choice of a guilt free indulgence. I have discovered that this ratio of 80/20 is the perfect balance for long-term sustainable weight management, maximum nutritional health benefits and psychological stability. My clients typically enjoy two 20% Indulgent treats a week (Wednesday and Sunday tend to work great). 

The 80/20 Lifestyle is more about consuming quality food than managing nutritional data. I have found the higher the quality of food consumed, the less need to monitor nutritional consumption. However, in phase three of my program we do pay closer attention to nutritional data in order to fine-tune results.

The chart to the right outlines my baseline nutritional guidelines for The 80/20 Lifestyle

Reinventing your relationship with food and fitness requires a little knowledge, a lot of commitment and a willingness to go beyond your current circumstance. 

It is an honor that you are considering The 80/20 Lifestyle System as your forever diet. Please visit and like my Facebook page for more on The 80/20 Lifestyle, fitness tips and staying in the right mindset for success.

Until next time…  LIVE INSPIRED!

Robin Shea xoxo 




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