You haven’t even started on your new caveman diet yet, and you are already thinking about how to sneak in that scoop of ice cream or slice of cake. Right?
That’s because you are human, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. The idea of never again having cheese and crackers with a glass of wine, or cookies and milk, or hot apple pie and ice cream—well, that’s inhuman, isn’t it?
It’s hard to stick to a plan, any plan, with unwavering devotion, day in and day out, especially when confronted by so many temptations and opportunities to cheat.
Our modern world full of dining options makes adherence to any diet difficult. Cavemen were fortunate in that respect; they didn’t have a whole lot of choice.
So let’s assume you are going to stray now and then. Let’s come up with a strategy for handling it—one that won’t totally negate all of the progress you’ll be making.
After all, the object of the Paleo Diet is to get back to healthy eating, in tune with the way our bodies have evolved, not to make us miserable.
Here are four possible ways you might want to address the issue of cheating. Give each one of them some thought and see which one might fit you best.
- No Margin for Error.This is a complete lifestyle change. I will totally reject my old ways of eating, fully adopt the Paleo Diet and never deviate from today forward. My will power is strong. I will make this happen and come up with punishments for any lapses I might make. My desire to be in the best health possible, along with my distaste for failure, will enable me to make this change once and for all. I will not allow myself to fall back into old habits.
- Applying the 80/20 Rule.This is a major lifestyle change. I am willing to make big changes in my eating habits, based on the Paleo Diet, with some leeway for modern circumstances that I know I’ll be unable to avoid. I will stick to the plan the vast majority of the time, but I won’t beat myself up over occasional lapses. My desire to be in good health, along with acknowledgement of my own weaknesses, will enable me to get tremendous benefit out of following the Paleo Diet most of the time. I will not fall back into old habits.
- Three Open Meals.This is a huge lifestyle change. I am willing to base all of my eating habits on the Paleo Diet, while permitting myself three “open meals” a week, when I’ll be free to eat whatever I choose. My will power is strong. I will not feel guilty about my food choices because I’ll be sticking to the Paleo Diet the vast majority of the time, and the open meals will be my reward for succeeding. My desire to be in good health, along with accommodating my desire to “cheat” occasionally, will enable me to get tremendous benefit from the Paleo Diet. I will not allow myself to fall back into old habits.
- Accepting Trade-Offs.This is big lifestyle change. I am willing to base most of my eating habits on the Paleo Diet, with a few personal exceptions. I recognize that there are some food items I am unable or unwilling to give up. I have made a list of them and in order to be able to embrace the Paleo Diet sufficiently to improve my health, I am going to give up half of them. The others I will continue to consume without feeling guilty because I have “paid” for them by sacrificing the others. I will not fall back into old habits.
Whichever one you choose, make a commitment to stay with it. Or if none of them seems to fit, come up with a strategy of your own.
The main thing is to anticipate lapses and build them into your plan. That way, you will have no reason to give up on the Paleo Diet before you get to see for yourself the remarkable changes in your body, from weight loss to proper blood sugar balance, increased vitality and more.
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