Eating healthy is not complicated. It does not have to be hard.
Many of us overcomplicate it and make this WAY harder than it has to be. This makes it easy to get frustrated, throw up your hands and say “screw it!”, And go back to eating fried pooptaters from Applebee's.
So today, we're going to break down Healthy Eating Math, in the simplest way possible.
There are seven (7) days in a week. Let's assume you eat three (3) meals per day (yes, I know, we sometimes eat snacks and some days we eat 4 meals but other days we only manage 2, whatever, I'm keeping the math easy).
7×3 = 21. 21 meals per week.
You have 21 opportunities to eat healthy.
We're going to grade eating just like it's a class in school. Except here, there's no “U” – we still give out F's for failing. Fitness is harsh, but it is also just.
“F” Grade Eating
To “earn” (can we even call it that?) An “F”, you must score … well, anything below a 60%.
13/21 = 60%. So, learning an F means 12 or less of your weekly meals are healthy, clean meals.
There's nothing I, or any coach, or any supplement, can do for you at this point. If you're eating at an “F” level, you have to decide whether or not your health is important to you. We can give you all the information in the world, but we can not force you to use it. No one can change your priorities except you.
That is not to say all hope is lost. I've seen plenty of people make the change from F-level eating to C, B, and even A levels. But it's a change YOU have to make for yourself.
“D” Grade Eating
To earn a “D”, you must score between 60% – 69%.
13/21 = 60%.
If you have 21 meals per week, that means at least 13 meals must be clean, healthy meals. You get, at most, eight cheat meals per week.
This is the point where, at the parent teacher conference, we have serious discussions about your intentions, your future, wasting your talents, tears are shed, and someone goes home to bed without their supper.
“C” Grade Eating
To earn a “C”, you must score between 70% – 79%.
15/21 = 70%.
If you have 21 meals per week, that means 15 meals must be clean, healthy meals. You get, at most, six cheat meals per week.
If your mindset is “I eat healthy all week, I can take Saturday and Sunday off,” – this is where you are. You are eating at a C level.
You “pass”, but if you're looking to achieve greatness, you'll need to do better.
“B” Grade Eating
To earn a “B”, you must score between 80% – 89%.
17/21 = 80%.
If you have 21 meals per week, that means 17 meals must be clean, healthy meals. You get, at most, four cheat meals per week.
There's nothing wrong with scoring at a “B” level, as long as it's congruent with your goals.
I've consistently scored at a “B” laTely, and will likely continue to do so. I feel good at my current 12ish% body fat, my social life is fulfilling, and I'm happy with the foods I'm eating. This is not the best I've ever looked, but I'm not concerned with walking around at 6% body fat at the moment.
“A” Grade Eating
This is where the elite differentiate themselves.
To earn an “A” on your diet report card, you must score 90% or higher.
19/21 = 90%.
If you have 21 meals per week, that means 19 meals must be clean, healthy meals. You get, at most, two cheat meals per week.
Remember, this is the minimum for getting an A. If you're looking for elite body status (sub-7% body fat for males or equivalent for females), this will need to be a 95% or even 100%, depending on your goals and other factors.
Losing weight and looking great is 90% about what you eat. Remember classic quotes like “Abs are made in the kitchen.”, “You can not out-run a bad diet.”, And “Stop eating like garbage” (OK, the last one is not a classic, I just say it a lot).