You don’t have to be perfect, but it helps! The 80/20 rule.

This is a modern world, with modern temptations and modern foods. “Food porn”, as we call it, proliferates our every waking moment. Food manufacturers go to great lengths to “outsmart” your natural defense mechanisms, to make you eat as much of their “food-crap” as possible. It’s in their bottom line’s best interest!

So it’s acceptable to be imperfect in this imperfect world, sometimes…

Enter, the 80/20 rule.

We recognize that about 80% of body composition is tied directly to diet. The other 20% has to do with lifestyle, movement, and the environmental factors we can not control.

As long as you eat right 80% of the time, you are allowed to mess up a little bit (within reason!) the other 20% of the time. You need to recognize, however, that it will never be the same as comitting 100%, but you will get results none the less.

(I personally follow a 95/5 rule, but I probably just have more discipline than most)

I’ll leave it to Mark Sisson to delve into the details:

if you’re eating fully Primal 80% of the time, the other 20% offers room for well-intentioned but practical choices when we can’t be Primal or choose not to be for a variety of personal reasons. Maybe it’s the limited options for an impromptu business lunch. Maybe it’s a family get-together. Whatever the context, our Primal lenses learn to seek out the most Primal option. Nonetheless, we hardly live in a hunter-gatherer world anymore. Sometimes we do the best we can. Once in a while, we deliberately make concessions for a special occasion. Compromise, a serviceable centerpiece of life, also plays a purposeful role in the Primal Blueprint.
Truth be told, I have my “sensible vices,” foods that I love and make reasonable Primal compromises on like dark chocolate, wine, good cheese and, as I mentioned in today’s contest post, the occasional dark beer. As part of today’s mini-challenge, I hope you have fun exploring your own sensible, Primally-inspired vices and their place in your PB picture.
Going Primal is not a perfection or bust proposition. Nonetheless, the 80/20 Principle doesn’t serve as an excuse to go on a junk food bender. Nor should it be cause to lose your footing.
Consider the 80/20 Principle a guide that accentuates the truly plausible and healthy intersection of the PB with everyday real life. Internalize it in your own way to bring perspective to your overall Primal lifestyle – to not lose the forest through the trees. (Let’s just say it comes in handy when your grandmother says she’d be heartbroken if you didn’t try her freshly made apple butter.) After all, the PB isn’t a form of asceticism. Nor is it some dictatorial dogma that imbues guilt and shame for the smallest dietary transgression. The Primal Blueprint is all about enjoying eating while taking ownership of our choices. The 80/20 Principle helps give shape to that accountability, but you provide the substance.
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