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Does the 80% rule help or hurt?

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  • Does the 80% rule help or hurt?

    I'm not sure if it works for me. I like that I don't have to feel like I've screwed up if I eat a scoop of ice cream, in the past I would have beaten myself up, told myself I'd fallen off the wagon, and kept on eating badly. With the PB, if I eat something non-Primal, it helps me to know that that was my 20%, and that I am still compliant, I don't beat myself up and I get back on the plan. The problem is that after about 3-4 months eating Primal and doing really well, I find myself making more allowances- eating more fruit, larger servings of dark chocolate, more almond butter, a few spoonfuls of my kids' fruit smoothies, and it's all adding up. I'm having trouble reining it in, and I think that if I hadn't started letting my diet slide knowing that I was still in the 20%, if I had stuck strictly to the eating plan, I wouldn't be battling my sweet cravings again, which I had beaten for 8-10 weeks. What has your experience been, do you ignore the 80% rule, or is it what keeps you sticking to the PB?

  • #2
    It helps people getting on the boat I think. The other 20% is starting to paddle.

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    • #3
      What Mark says is try for 100% but if you get 80% or more, you are doing ok. If you try for 80% you usually end up at 60%. Try for 100% but don`t beat yourself up when it isn`t.

      Generally I would say I am 95%+ compliant and being that compliant helps rein me in and stops me from having cravings.
      Karin

      A joyful heart is good medicine

      He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot

      Mmmmm. Real food is good.

      My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread29685.html

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      • #4
        Dean Dwyer of Being Primal allows himself 3 planned cheat meals per week. He has rules like the cheat meal/snack has to be eaten as a separate meal/snack with atleast 2 hrs between meals, no more than 70g carbs, total carbs for day not to exceed 150g. He found it better then a one huge cheat meal.
        http://www.beingprimal.com/wp-conten...o-cheating.pdf

        Just introduced to his blog. He has some interesting thoughts/tips etc for dietary lifestyle.

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        • #5
          I stick to a 95%-5% rule. So I might have 30 grand 85% dark chocolate once a forth night or half a pear with some cheese once a week. I'm still very mindful of what I put in my mouth. If I let it slide the cravings will return over time and I can't afford that to happen again.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JKC View Post
            What Mark says is try for 100% but if you get 80% or more, you are doing ok. If you try for 80% you usually end up at 60%. Try for 100% but don`t beat yourself up when it isn`t.

            Generally I would say I am 95%+ compliant and being that compliant helps rein me in and stops me from having cravings.
            Exactly. At Primalcon, Mark made quite a point of saying how he didn't like the 80/20 thing getting interpreted as an excuse to slack off. It is meant for those little things that come up in life that are beyond your control. Like you go to a friend's house and she has put canola oil in the salad dressing or you go out with friends for Asian food and there may be a bit of sugar in the peanut sauce. You don't need to be a social douche in those kinds of situations in order to stay 100% strictly Primal. But save it for those kinds of things.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Winterbike View Post
              It helps people getting on the boat I think. The other 20% is starting to paddle.
              Completely. It's like training wheels.
              Positively Radical Pigeonholes are for Pigeons!

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              • #8
                My 20 percent is that I live in a city and breathe the awful air. Sometimes, if I run out of well water, I'll drink tap water. And date night, where I eat ONE non-primal meal. 20% is not a cheeseburger, or a sugar bomb. It's the fact that we live in captivity.
                Crohn's, doing SCD

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                • #9
                  my 20% is eating store bought meat vs grass fed. eventually i strive to be 100% but im not letting it bother me right now
                  Primal Chaos
                  37yo 6'5"
                  6-19-2011 393lbs 60" waist
                  current 338lbs 49" waist
                  goal 240lbs 35" waist

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JKC View Post
                    What Mark says is try for 100% but if you get 80% or more, you are doing ok. If you try for 80% you usually end up at 60%. Try for 100% but don`t beat yourself up when it isn`t.

                    Generally I would say I am 95%+ compliant and being that compliant helps rein me in and stops me from having cravings.
                    This. The 80% rule does not mean that you should plan to have a 20% non-primal diet. It's more of a psychological backstop to keep you from beating yourself up if you fall off the wagon a time or two. You can't be perfect, but you have to do the best you can and not deliberately slack off on a regular basis.
                    Live your life and love your life. It's the only one you get.

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                    • #11
                      I know that when I first started Primal living, roughly 2 1/2 months ago, that the 80% rule helped me transition, I've always used a 80/20 rule in the past with other eating, so it wasn't all that alien to me, but what I did find was the more I embraced primal, the better I began to feel, the more I worked harder at making it as close to 100% as possible. I know that there will be times where I can't eat as Primal as I would like and I try to make that the 20%, but I strive for as close to 100% as I can. One of the biggest changes for me was removing the wheat, my digestive issues settled right down and pretty much went back to normal, that was enough incentive for me to make sure that wheat is never part of that 20%, it's just not worth it. Before Primal, I wouldn't have thought about even trying to take wheat and other grains out, it seemed like such a hard thing to do, but once I tried it and saw the improvements, it was very easy to give up.

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                      • #12
                        I was vegetarian for 5 years. I did it because my dd decided to and I wanted to be supportive (I of course thought it was very healthy too and better than worrying about eating disorders in my teenager). ANYWAY....I did not eat meat, it was who I was not just how I ate.

                        I have since learned a lot, so no longer a vegetarian, now I am Primal, not just how I eat but it is about who I am. I made some decisions about how I am going to do Primal-I include a bit of dairy and stevia daily as so far they do not seem to have a negative effect. My 20 is when I have eaten something and later found out it is not really primal (ie. peanuts).
                        Chris
                        "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain."
                        Unknown

                        My journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread36279.html

                        My "Program": doing my version of a 4:3 - 3 day fast diet with real food every day, with a little twist of anti-inflammatory mixed in.

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                        • #13
                          Like many others - I shoot for 100%, but know there will be deviations. Generally when cooking for myself I try cook the best food I can. I try to save the 20% for situations where I know deviation may be difficult to avoid completely - such as when I'm invited to lunch/dinner by a friend/co-worker, am travelling on business, or am in a situation where I'm rushed for time, and don't have the opportunity to cook/find a good place to eat.

                          Occasionally I'll just outright cheat too. But I try to be as clean as possible with my diet whenever I have the time and ability to cook for myself.
                          Last edited by jsa23; 08-31-2011, 07:24 PM.

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                          • #14
                            I wouldn't be here without 80/20. I would have said "Screw primal" and walked away.

                            I don't eat junk but I do eat beans, rice, corn, dairy and potatoes as part of my regular diet. Works great for me.
                            Ancestral Health Info

                            I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

                            Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.

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                            • #15
                              Thanks for the responses, they helped clarify some things for me. It especially makes sense to me that I should strive for 100% but not fret about the 20% that I can't avoid (the canola oil salad, a piece of birthday cake that a friend made for me). I don't think I'm the type of person who can plan cheats, they set me up for more cravings instead of dampening them down. It's interesting to see how everyone interprets the 80/20 rule. I must say, it's one of the things that attracted me to the PB to begin with, Paleo just seemed to rigid and unattainable while Mark pushes us to be better than we think we can be but makes allowances for our individuality.

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