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Remember the 80/20 Principle

We’ve officially rounded the corner into the second full week of the 30-day Primal Blueprint Challenge [1]. Updates, anecdotes, anyone? How is everyone doing – and feeling? As the Challenge progresses, it’s inevitable that the surge of initial gusto moderates while something else – something ultimately more important, more influential – takes its place. With a week under your belt, you’re undoubtedly shaping the Blueprint [2] to your life, using the principles but adapting the particulars to your own circumstances and tastes. That’s how it’s designed. In fact, it’s exactly how it works best! I thought now would be an apt time to add another layer of perspective to our efforts. It’s a bit of advice that nicely reflects this personal progression as well as the overall versatility of the Blueprint. I’m talking that bastion of PB pragmatism: the 80/20 Principle.

The central point of the 80/20 Principle [3] is this: 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 [4]. Once in a while, we deliberately make concessions for a special occasion. Compromise [5], a serviceable centerpiece of life, also plays a purposeful role in the Primal Blueprint.

Truth be told, I have my “sensible vices [6],” foods that I love and make reasonable Primal compromises on like dark chocolate [7], wine [8], good cheese [9] and, as I mentioned in today’s contest post [10], the occasional dark beer. As part of today’s mini-challenge, I hope you have fun exploring your own sensible, Primally-inspired vices [11] 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 [12]. Nor should it be cause to lose your footing [13].

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 [14]. Nor is it some dictatorial dogma [15] that imbues guilt and shame for the smallest dietary transgression. The Primal Blueprint is all about enjoying eating while taking ownership of our choices [16]. The 80/20 Principle helps give shape to that accountability, but you provide the substance.

How are you making the PB your own as the Challenge progresses? How would you say the 80/20 Principle figures into your Primal picture? Let me know how things are going at this stage of the Challenge. Best to everybody, and I’ll look forward to reading your comments!