[Discussion] How to keep eating strict paleo

I might catch flak for it, but I mostly just use it as a guideline, as I believe it is a healthy/"ideal" diet. I'd estimate I only eat "strict" primal about 80% of a typical week.

I generally base it around my social schedule. I work a "9-5" M-F (actually 7-3, but who's counting), so my social stuff generally takes place on the weekends. That's when I relax my rules. If I go out with friends or eat at their place, I do my best to make good choices, but I don't forego trying stuff nor would I dare force my friends to cook paleo-friendly items/meals. For me, that generally means I "cheat" during ~2-3 dinners/brunches a week where I may eat anywhere from a few bites to a full meal of non-paleo/primal food and 1-2 nights a week where I'll have a couple of beers or glasses of wine. Either way, I figure it's not like I'm eating a bag of Fritos, a little Debbie, and a can of Pepsi. My "cheat" meals are generally restaurant/home-cooked meals made with whole ingredients... I doubt a little bit of rice/potatoes/beans/wheat/etc that isn't on the list is going to kill me. This also doesn't leave me feeling like I'm missing out by eliminating entire food groups or when trying a new restaurants.

Dinners during the week where it's just me and my girlfriend? We cook, and 95%+ of what we make would be considered primal... yet you'd hardly know it. I tend to avoid the "paleo brownies" knock-off junk food type crap and just cook real food that happens to fit the paleo/primal criteria. I very rarely get recipes off of "paleo" sites because they seem to be full of that crap... and I feel like imitations to be unsatisfying/just make me wish I had the real thing. It tastes like "diet" food. I don't miss "cheat" food when I'm eating something that tastes delicious and as it should... and we have plenty of variety.

Lunches are typically leftovers or just a quick salad that I toss together. I happen to love both cold leftovers and salads, so it works for me. There's a lot you can do with a salad.

Regardless, I'm a big believer in the thought that stress plays a huge role in weight management and overall health, whether or not it's physiological or psychological or both. Be it that the body stores more fat when stressed, stress causing me to eat more, or whatever... I don't like stress, and don't like being stressed out, so I try and avoid it. The last thing I want is for making food choices to stress me out. Yeah, that means sometimes on a Tuesday night when I'm just REALLY craving some tacos and we're both too lazy to cook, we'll go and get some tacos. However, I usually find those types of cravings to be few and far between. I tend to crave paleo-friendly food items just as, if not more often.

My point is... do what works for you... but if you make it a "diet" that stresses you out and deserves rewards, I feel like you're going to have a bad time. Set some loose guidelines that you'll be able to follow without feeling like you're depriving yourself. Strive to eat "ideally" and make every meal a reward by just making good food that doesn't have the stuff you're not supposed to eat. Hell, for me... I love the food I've been eating since starting... not to mention feeling better has been a reward onto itself.

/r/Paleo Thread