Dr. Kellyann Petrucci: “The easiest way is to follow what I call the 80/20 plan”

The easiest way is to follow what I call the 80/20 plan. For 80% of your meals, stick to the slimming foods that should be your framework — lean proteins, fibrous vegetables, healthy fats like olive oil and clarified butter and coconut oil, and small amounts of nuts, seeds, and fruits (preferably berries). The other 20% of […]

Thrive Global invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive Global or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

The easiest way is to follow what I call the 80/20 plan. For 80% of your meals, stick to the slimming foods that should be your framework — lean proteins, fibrous vegetables, healthy fats like olive oil and clarified butter and coconut oil, and small amounts of nuts, seeds, and fruits (preferably berries).

The other 20% of the time, you can sprinkle some “fairy dust” on your meals. As long as you stick to reasonable portions, you don’t need to declare any food off-limits. That’s because you’ll put enough credits in your “good food bank” the other 80% of the time to make up for an occasional sin.

So many of us have tried dieting. All too often though, many of us lose 10–20 pounds, but we end up gaining it back. Not only is yo-yo dieting unhealthy, it is also demoralizing and makes us feel like giving up. What exactly do we have to do to achieve a healthy body weight and to stick with it forever?

In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve A Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently” we are interviewing health and wellness professionals who can share lessons from their research and experience about how to do this.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Kellyann Petrucci.

Dr. Kellyann Petrucci, MS, ND is a naturopathic physician and certified nutrition consultant with over 20 years of clinical experience. While launching the bone broth revolution, Dr. Kellyann introduced the benefits of ancient nutrition into the modern-day balanced diet, aided by results-driven techniques such as intermittent fasting. Dr. Kellyann is an expert in gut health, weight loss, and natural anti-aging, and has served as a concierge doctor for celebrities in New York and Los Angeles. Dr. Kellyann Petrucci’s extensive line of health and wellness products include Collagen Bone Broth, several collagen-based powdered supplements, and BellaBiotics — a pre and probiotic that rejuvenates, protects, and restores skin from the inside out. In addition to her transformational products, Dr. Kellyann nourishes her audience with fresh, educational posts on TikTok, Instagram, and every week on the Digging In with Dr. Kellyann podcast, available on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google, and YouTube. Dr. Kellyann is a New York Times bestselling author with the latest edition of her book, Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet, available in December 2021, and her newest line of liquid bone broth launching in Whole Foods nationwide later this year.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

In my teens, I suffered from endometriosis. The cramps I experienced each month were so excruciating that I had to miss several days of school and stay in bed with a hot water bottle. Doctors couldn’t do anything to help me except to prescribe pain pills, and they told me I would never be able to have children.

Then, when I was in my early twenties, I got into bodybuilding. One day, my sponsor introduced me to a trainer, and that trainer put me on a diet that cut out gluten and certain other foods. The very next month, I had no cramps. I never had them again — and I now have two beautiful sons.

I knew then that I had found my calling. Once I witnessed the power of natural healing in my own life, I became passionate about healing others.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

I had many inspirations, but one, in particular, stands out. Early in my career, I had an amazing opportunity to study biological medicine with Dr. Thomas Rau of Switzerland — one of the world’s leading physicians — through the Marion Institute in Massachusetts. Everything I learned there reinforced the lesson my own medical crisis had taught me: We have a tremendous power to heal if we simply give our bodies what they need.

I was already on the path to a medical career, but this experience solidified my desire to go into functional medicine, which is all about natural healing.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

I know it sounds like a corny elementary school essay, but my biggest inspiration, in work and in life, is my father.

When I was little, my dad had a barbershop. As time went on, long hair started coming in and the barbering business dried up. But my father was resilient, and the words “no” or “can’t” or “poor me” bounced off him. He instantly thought, “I like to bowl.” So he did the only other thing he knew and started selling bowling balls from the window of the barbershop. Then he started drilling holes in the balls, and that’s when things began to get really busy. Soon the back of the barbershop, where he put his “pro” shop, became busier than the front of the store.

He went on to shoes and bowling gear and uniforms and all kinds of sports apparel, and when a big grocery store next to his shop went out of business, he fearlessly bought it. I still remember the arguments at night, with my mother saying, “I have four babies at home!” But the store became hugely successful, serving people from all over the Tri-State area.

When I started my own medical practice and then created the bone broth revolution, I had my share of ups and downs — just like my father did in his own career. But I learned from him that when you fall down, you pick yourself back up and say “next.”

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

One night when I was studying under Dr. Rau, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a benefit in his honor. The room was filled with dozens of the most distinguished doctors in Europe, and it was a very formal affair with an elegant hostess and amazing hors d’oeuvres.

I was hungry when I arrived, and when a woman held a plate out in my direction, I grabbed it without thinking because I thought she was serving me. Later that evening, the woman made a joke about how Kellyann had stolen her plate. Yes, she was one of those very distinguished people attending the event — and I’d taken her plate right out of her hand. Talk about embarrassing.

I’m not sure what the takeaway is — but I will say that I’ve learned not to be starving when I walk into a dinner party!

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

My favorite quote is, “Always remember to know yourself, to be yourself, and to love yourself.” We live in the age of social media when we’re all trying to create a perfect image. But to lead an authentic life, we need to stop trying to create that illusion and instead be ourselves — and love ourselves. We need to honor the fact that we’re all “beautifully imperfect.”

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

One of the most interesting things I’m doing right now is a podcast called Digging In with Dr. Kellyann, in which I’m going in search of the best tools and practices to help us become slimmer, younger, and healthier. There are so many different approaches to health out there — everything from acupuncture to cryotherapy to colonics — and people want to know what to try and what to avoid. So I’m testing every approach myself, and reporting on what I’m learning.

For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field?

I have more than two decades of clinical experience as a weight-loss and anti-aging expert. Through my clinical practice and my books, I’ve guided hundreds of thousands of successful transformations. I also started the bone broth revolution, which is helping millions of people become slimmer, healthier, and younger.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about achieving a healthy body weight. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. How do you define a “Healthy Body Weight”?

When people feel good about themselves and their weight, and their biomarkers are telling me they’re healthy, I give them a thumbs-up.

How can an individual learn what is a healthy body weight for them? How can we discern what is “too overweight”?

The best way to determine this is to ask yourself: “Am I carrying a significant amount of belly fat?”

I’m not talking about that “inch you can pinch,” but about the visceral fat underneath it that’s so dangerous. This, more than your weight or BMI, is a good determinant of your overall health.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons why being over your healthy body weight, or under your healthy body weight, can be harmful to your health?

If your bodyweight gets too low, your thyroid can fail to function the way it should. You can get out of balance hormonally, and this may even cause your menstrual cycle to stop.

Being overweight, on the other hand, increases your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and just about every modern-day disease we face.

In contrast, can you help articulate a few examples of how a person who achieves and maintains a healthy body weight will feel better and perform better in many areas of life?

When your body weight is optimal, you’re on fire. Your gut is healthy, your mind is clear, your skin looks beautiful, you have less inflammation and fewer aches and pains, your immune system is humming, you’re hormonally balanced, and you experience more happiness overall.

Ok, fantastic. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve a Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently?”. If you can, please share a story or an example for each.

First and most important, you need to get your gut health in order. Having a healthy gut is one of the biggest secrets to weight loss because there’s a strong correlation between your weight and your gut health.

In one study that was a real eye-opener, researchers recruited pairs of human twins in which one was obese and the other was lean. They transferred gut bacteria from the twins into mice to see what would happen. The mice with bacteria from fat twins grew fat, while the mice that received bacteria from lean twins stayed lean. That’s powerful stuff.

My second tip is to do intermittent fasting. Two of the best ways are to do a 24-hour fast once or twice a week, or to shorten your “eating window” each day. For instance, you can stop eating at 7 pm. and not eat again until 10 the next morning. If that’s a challenge, you can start with a 10- or 12-hour eating window and gradually work your way down to eight or nine hours. The longer you go, the better off you’ll be.

Third, watch your intake of nuts and fruits. These are healthy foods in moderation, and you can certainly enjoy them. But you’ll get too much sugar if you overload on fruits, and it’s too easy to hoover up an entire can of nuts at snack time. Stick to one or two small servings of fruit each day — preferably berries — and keep nuts to one closed handful per day.

Fourth, watch out for what I call “portion distortion,” because a few extra spoonful at each meal add up over time. And break the habit of filling up your whole plate. Restaurants have trained us to want huge servings, but we don’t really need that much to be satisfied.

And fifth, find ways to be comfortable in between meals without reaching for carby snacks. For instance, train yourself to reach for a cup of bone broth instead of a cookie.

The emphasis of this series is how to maintain an ideal weight for the long term, and how to avoid yo-yo dieting. Specifically, how does a person who loses weight maintain that permanently and sustainably?

The easiest way is to follow what I call the 80/20 plan. For 80% of your meals, stick to the slimming foods that should be your framework — lean proteins, fibrous vegetables, healthy fats like olive oil and clarified butter and coconut oil, and small amounts of nuts, seeds, and fruits (preferably berries).

The other 20% of the time, you can sprinkle some “fairy dust” on your meals. As long as you stick to reasonable portions, you don’t need to declare any food off-limits. That’s because you’ll put enough credits in your “good food bank” the other 80% of the time to make up for an occasional sin.

What are a few of the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they try to lose weight? What errors cause people to just snap back to their old unhealthy selves? What can they do to avoid those mistakes?

When people start a low-carb diet (which is absolutely the best way to lose weight) they frequently get tripped up by what I call the “carb flu.” This is where most dieters crash and burn.

Here’s the story. A few days into a low-carb diet, your body is going to start switching from burning sugar to burning fat. This is a very good thing, but temporarily, it causes you to feel tired, wired, wonky and weird. What you need to know is that if you white-knuckle it through this phase, which only lasts a few days, it passes. When you know to expect it, it’s easy to get through it.

Also, people don’t always know how many carbs they actually need. Some people can drop their carbs down to 20 or 30 grams a day and do fine, but others will crash and burn — especially if they’re very active. So people need to be in tune with their bodies and know when to bump up the carbs a little.

The third pitfall is not preparing for a new eating plan. If you don’t have the right foods in your house when you start — or you keep too many of the wrong foods around — you’re going to give in to temptation. So I’m a big believer in cleaning out the junk food and restocking with good food upfront.

And finally, as I mentioned earlier, it’s easy to overdo the fruits and nuts. This is one of the most common problems I see when I’m troubleshooting an eating plan that isn’t working for someone.

How do we take all this information and integrate it into our actual lives? The truth is that we all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

Here’s the deal: To change your eating habits, you have to change your relationship with food. You have to understand the connection between food and how it makes you feel.

Many of us eat our trauma and eat our emotions. If you realize that you’re an emotional eater yourself, the first big step is to stop and say, “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” Recognize that you’re not “cheating” but “choosing,” and own what you’re doing. When you do this, you’re going to start noticing the emotional patterns behind your eating.

Many of us get our happy hormones, serotonin and dopamine, through food. And that’s fine at times; for instance, it makes me happy to enjoy a beautiful Italian meal and a glass of wine with friends. But food can’t be our only source of joy. We can’t numb ourselves constantly with alcohol and food. Instead, we need to work on ourselves, be mindful of what we’re doing, and find other ways to get those happy hormones.

On the flip side, how can we prevent these ideas from just being trapped in a rarified, theoretical ideal that never gets put into practice? What specific habits can we develop to take these intellectual ideas and integrate them into our normal routine?

The most important thing is to plan out your new approach like you would a business. Put pen to paper (or fingers to your keyboard), and spell it out. For instance, set specific goals like “I’m going to start my new eating lifestyle plan on Monday” and “I’m going to do my grocery shopping the day before.” Be the CEO of your own body. You have to be a leader and take control

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

One of the things I’m proudest of in my life is that I started the bone broth revolution. When I first started talking about bone broth, very few people were talking about it and there were only a few books and products. Now we’re global, with my book out in nine countries, and my dream is to further expand this revolution. We have the tools we need to get the world healthy and to end the epidemics of diabetes and obesity, and I want to spread the word to as many people as possible.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I mentioned in an earlier interview that I’d love to meet Elon Musk because he’s such an amazing inventor and entrepreneur. But someone else I’d love to have lunch with is Kris Jenner because she’s done three things I find very impressive. First, she’s raised incredible, industrious daughters who have become millionaires or even billionaires. Second, she’s become an incredible business leader herself, with a TV show that ran for 20 seasons. And third, she takes struggles in her stride and handles them beautifully. That’s remarkable.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can visit my website, drkellyann.com, join my community on Facebook, and follow me on Instagram @drkellyannpetrucci and other social media platforms. I love to welcome new people to our community!

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Lisa Goldberg: “Identify your limiting beliefs that you have when it comes to weight loss”

by Ben Ari

Using food as a coping mechanism during the lockdown? Not anymore!!

by May Zaki

Nurudeen Tijani of TitaniumPhysique: “Adopt a weight training program”

by Ben Ari
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.