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What the Red Tier Means To Me


Sometimes I get this question (and even have this thought myself): Why don’t we just make the program “90/10” where 90% is from the green tier and the other 10% is whatever you want…even red tier items? Will it make that much difference?

It’s actually a very valid question. For 4 years, we have operated under a “0% red tier” policy for our challenges. However, does anyone REALLY do 0% from the red tier? Doubtful. I certainly don’t and I came up with the whole system!

So, what is the logic behind it all? Why make it “0% red tier”?


If the red tier is allowed as a percentage of your daily intake (like the yellow tier is), then that means it is a regular part of your intake and you will likely think of it that way. If you are like me, you will rationalize any percentage that is “allowed” for the red tier into slightly more than that. If I said you could have 5% of your daily intake from the red tier, you would eat 7-10% and call it close enough. That is what I would likely do.

By making the red tier 0%, it turns it into something that is NOT a regular part of your intake. There is no ALLOWED spot for it in your plan. Therefore, in order to eat it, you either have to FAIL to follow your plan OR plan to deviate for an occasion…with the latter being the preferred.

I find this thought process to be much more effective than allowing red tier as PART of the plan.


So, since the red tier is not part of your daily plan at all but we both know you aren’t going to stay away from it completely, what should you do? It’s simple. PLAN TO CHEAT on the least number of occasions possible and in a manner that is in line with your goals. Plan to have a piece of cake on your birthday if that is your thing. Plan to have a burger and fries after you accomplish a major milestone that took you 3 months to complete. Plan to have some ice cream when you are on vacation in that place that has the best ice cream ever. The key is that these are planned and conscious cheats and they happen only occasionally.

If you use it this way, the “0%” policy for the red tier makes perfect sense and keeps you falling into the trap of letting red tier items become a daily habit.


You can find more information about how the tiers work under the “learn 90/10” section of our website.  You can even find a searchable version of the tiers HERE.

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