You’re almost done
Congratulations! If you’re a first time PNCer or done multiple rounds you’ve come close to the end of this iteration. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The mantle will be lifted. These chains of kale and grass-fed beef will soon break and you can again go sprinting toward loaves of hot, toasted bread. Should you make poor food choices? If not, what should you do next?
We don’t believe in “cheats”
Every suggestion or recommendation during the PNC has been framed within the paradigm of informed choices. The food you consume or do not consume is a choice and it is your choice. There are no “cheats” when it comes to food. There are only choices. Attaching a psychological significance and an emotionally arousing word to poor choices might be an effective strategy for discipline but it does nothing to cultivate a healthy relationship with food. A cookie isn’t an exam or your spouse so stop calling poor food choices “cheating”.
Not all poor food choices are created equal
There is a spectrum of poor food choices. You’ve been eating well for eight weeks and your body will provide immediate feedback if what you’ve just eaten is a poor food choice or a poor food choice. Red wine, dark chocolate, gourmet cheese, whipped cream are poor food choices. Cupcakes, smores, onion rings, spaghetti are poor food choices. Make sense?
80/20 and choosing one day a week to relax
You don’t want to be “that guy” lugging a cooler full of “paleo” foods to every party and you don’t want to offend your mom at Thanksgiving by grumpily munching on only turkey. Poor food choices, in moderation and with an understanding of their effects, are necessary to be social and, frankly, sane. One way to approach this is to adopt the “80/20” rule. This means, 80% of the time you make good food choices and 20% of the time you go wild. If you eat three meals a day, or 21 meals a week, you can make poor food choices for a total of four meals. Most people pack those meals into one day. Piling the gut punch into one day allows you to spend the week recovering and rebuilding through whole, nutrient dense foods.
Party like it’s 1914
Another method is to live like your Grandparents. Before the advent of grocery stores and the explosion of restaurants, people actually had to make the food they ate. The ingredients for poor food choices tended to be expensive and preparation was time consuming. Because of these factors, eating poor foods was a treat. Want a cheesecake? Fine. But you have to buy grass-fed dairy, farm fresh eggs, and organic flour. You have to make the cheesecake from scratch. You’ll find, like your Grandparents before you, that the hit to your wallet and your time will relegate these foods to “once in awhile” instead of “lets go to the store and pick up a cake”.