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I still approach my eats "in the moment" if I'm cooking something, 98% of the time it's paleo/primal compliant. It's just how I prefer to eat. I love animal protein, and I've come to really like vegetables. I grew up eating animals with rice, but I know that when I visit my parents (once a week) I will be eating rice with them, so when I cook for myself I don't make it. I take the time I cook for myself to make sure I'm eating nutritiously.
When I don't have as much control over the food I just try to make good choices. I get food from Chipotle pretty often (once/twice a week) because they have better ingredients and they're so skimpy on their rice servings now that it doesn't bother me. I go to starbucks and get black coffee and add some half and half to it, sometimes, but very rarely, I'll add a little sugar or get a mocha latte drink (sweetened with choc syrup). I don't feel bad, but I KNOW it's not ideal - but I don't care that much. I don't stress about diet almost at all. I try to keep grains/oils/sugars to a minimum, but I end up eating them usually in social settings only.
I just try to make good decisions most often than not, in every aspect of my life, but I understand that I can't be perfect.
I think the OP has other issues to figure out. If eating more liberally helps you, who are we to say otherwise. However, don't just take what you've learned and toss it - apply it when you can. That's what knowledge is there for.
I'll second that. This is my exact mentality in regards to my diet as well. Do the absolute best with your resources when you can, and when conditions aren't ideal, adapt.
I belong to the crowd that can't take a bite of a brownie without creating a demon that voraciously eats the remaining brownies on the plate. The same goes for bread and many carbs. My adaptation, cut these out entirely. However, I can enjoy several carbohydrate sources like honey and dairy without awaking this peculiar demon form of my otherwise angelic self.
My question is, do you really think Grok didn't gorge on certain carbohydrate sources at various times? And do you think he even gave it a conscious thought? No. So neither should you once you re-establish a homeostatic balance and retain the knowledge that got you there. Find what works for you, and then just coast from there. Don't let this become an obsession. Stressing over that apple may cause just as much of an insulin spike as if you had actually eaten it - this is total speculation based on the idea that stress leads to cortisol leads to gluconeogenisis leads to glucose leads to insulin leads to fat deposition. Anyway, you get the point.
My 15 years paleo/primal were pure hell and basically made me anorexic. I've left for other reasons though, not so I can agree with others more or be more sociable. I've realized without question it's a spooky world out there; I can't just stop seeking when theres so much dietary b.s. I've had to put up with in my life. Whatever you do, keep seeking the truth. Don't eat and live like everyone else so you can be comfortable. Starches and PUFAs will get you, one way or another.
Sorry but why would you continue for that long if it wasn't working?
Most people realise after 6 months or less if they need to change something. Again this is another thing that can't be blamed on primal.
The only way to eat more or less healthy and NOT be follow Primal Blueprint nutrition is to eat grains and vegetable oils, basically. And because of carbs and allergens and sparse nutrient density, those are just not AS healthy as PB foods. End of story. You don't have to follow all of Mark's guidelines to be a healthy, successful eater. He just shows a way that is smart, easy, and works for him and a heck of a lot of other people. If PB was "hell" for you you had a bigger problem than diet.
This is why the 80/20 rule of the PB is so important, at least for me. When I eat at home which is about 70% of the time, I eat 100% Paleo, but as with most things, life gets in the way, you have to go to dinners, parties, have lunch at a restaurant, go on a weekend trip, etc. The way I see it, I have three options: be obsessive and only eat paleo foods or not eat at all (and probably not have such a good time), don't go out at all unless I'm sure I can maintain my paleo eating habits or try to eat as paleo as possible, but don't care if I can't ocationally.
It is this simple rule that has allowed me to stick with it, it allows me to enjoy myself and be healthy at the same time, sometimes I go out to dinner and I really want to have something that isn't paleo, I just do it, 3 or 4 meals a week that are not paleo is not the end of the world. However, when I do eat non paleo foods, I make it count, I save it only for food that I really like or that is specially good.
For example, the other day I went to eat with my parents to a really good restaurant (1 michelin star good), do you think that I even bothered to see if anything on the menu was paleo firendly??? hell no! I just ordered whatever I wanted and had an awesome meal.
The key is to avoid the "all or nothing" mentality that so many of us had/have when it came to diets or eating habits, eating paleo 50 or 60% of the time is better than 0. Related to this is the license to cheat that some of us get whenever we fall of the wagon, it is a very slippery slope of might as wells: oh, I just had some bread, well, I might as well order some pasta. Oh I just eat some pasta, well I might as well get dessert...and so on until two weeks later you forgot how to eat paleo and quit altogether.
Primal works for me because it's just a way of eating and not a diet. That means when I eat some junk once in awhile, that's exactly what it is. Once in awhile. Not the norm.
And maybe those last 20 pounds aren't actually 20 pounds you need to lose for optimal health. People in the slightly overweight category tend to enjoy the best health into old age, especially if it's muscle mass.