Free Days. Sometimes I eat non-paleo / Primal / low-carb. In fact, I do it about once a week, sometimes more. Sue me.
I have a hard time with an exhaustive pursuit of perfection. Luckily, since I’m not OCD-ish, I don’t panic when I indulge: I understand that it can slow my progress, and even cause me to backslide a bit (like my last weigh-in), but I accept that as the price I pay for the freedom to live as I wish.
On occasion, I regret it afterward; I’ll feel bad about the moment of weakness I could have overcome with a bit of effort. Mostly, however, I take my Free Days and Meals consciously, enjoying them and accepting the consequences.
Adapt and Overcome. I’ve found what seems to work most of the time for me: eat a low-carb / Primal / paleo lifestyle with daily IF during the week; enjoy a meal or two off-plan on the weekend or on a special occasion.
It’s a modification of the 4 Hour Body program which prompted me to begin this blog in January 2011. On the 4HB plan, you eat what you are supposed to during the week and then have a planned Free Day once per week in which you deliberately eat everything you’ve been avoiding. It’s supposed to reset your body so you don’t get stuck in a metabolic rut.
This worked fine for me in the beginning but eventually I stalled. Combined with other aspects of the program (e.g. eating lots of beans and some dairy), weekly gorges stopped my progress cold.
In January of this year, I switched to Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint program which is, in simplest terms, a low-carb program which emphasize whole, organic foods.
I’ve since transitioned back to a more standard low-carb approach (mostly because buying that much organic stuff is expensive), but I have held on to Mark’s principles of whole foods when possible, only a bit of dairy, and no beans.
Putting this intake together with week-daily 18-hour intermittent fasting + a relaxed weekend has been pretty good to me. I plan to continue this for a while until I plateau. When that happens, I’ll tweak things again and move on.
Taking the Long View. If it takes me longer to make my goals than it otherwise would have, so be it. I’m not in a race.
For those of you who can be perfect, more power to you! That’s great and I applaud your perseverance.
For the rest of us, beating yourself up emotionally over not having an iron will is a short road to failure. Live your life folks. Don’t let the rules live it for you.