Healthy foodIf there’s one thing the TV reality show, The Biggest Loser, has taught us, it’s this: when you exercise, you can lose those extra pounds. But what if you’re exercising and you’re not losing a thing? Or, even worse than that, what if you’re devoted to exercise and (horror of all horrors) you’re actually gaining weight?

When you have a mindset that believes that exercise—and exercise alone will allow you to lose weight and get healthy—you’re undeniably mistaken. Exercise has as much of an opportunity to make you fat as it does making you thin. Want to avoid the pitfalls of exercise? We’ve got a year round, fool proof plan for you to ring in the New Year with!

The 80/20 Rule

Apply this one rule to your lifestyle and you will be able to dodge the ‘fat fitness’ problem, indefinitely. The rule is this: a fit, lean body is a culmination of 80 percent what you eat, and 20 percent what you burn off. In other words, if you’re exercising five times a week but still indulging in lasagna, pizza and cupcakes, your food is the contributing factor to that number on your scale, and outweighing your intense interval training efforts altogether.

Using 80/20 in Your Daily Life

If you’re not quite sure where you begin, and how to rewind and charge up your resistant training (while keeping your hand out of the cookie jar), all it takes is a bit of motivational mindset boosters to keep you going.

Think about this every time you squat, lunge or lift: you work out because it makes you happier than before you worked out. You squat because you want to feel great in a pair of skinny jeans. You run because your goal is to look amazing, naked! You go through rigorous rounds of diamond push-ups because it’s something you never thought you could do. You work out because when you do, you’re putting your health first, and because it’s not so much about looking good, but feeling good.

Most of us eat out of habit. So, whether your biggest food habit is eating a morning donut or croissant, or feasting on multiple snacks right before bedtime, focus on these thoughts to push you through your poor food choices, in order to make smarter ones: When I eat something rich in carbs or sugar, I would need to work out three times as hard and as long to burn off one decadent serving. Instead, I’ll fill up on my favorite whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and treat myself to something special this weekend.

When you pay attention to what you eat (80 percent of a fit body), you will make each and every workout count (20 percent of a fit body.) Think of your food as fuel for a fit, healthy vehicle for your life—and think of exercise as the maintenance you need to keep it running in tip top shape. Your 80/20 rule will give you the body you deserve so that you can feel great, look great and be your greatest self, each and every day.