Friday, September 30, 2011

The 100% club

We often discuss on the Fuhrman forums whether it's better for us to go 90% or 100% nutritarian.  Dr. Fuhrman's life plan allows for 10% excursions once you attain health and appropriate weight.   I don't think he intends for that 10% to be the worst foods like cheese and ice cream, but even those are allowed rarely.   I really think this is an individual choice.  For some people, making foods forbidden makes them more desirable, and increases the cravings.  For others, eating just a little bit opens the floodgates.  It probably depends a lot on how you look at it.   For me, both those feelings can occur.   Overall though, for me, it seems 100% is much easier than 90%.  There is much less deciding involved, and studies have shown that having too much choice and making too many decisions is exhausting and weakens your willpower.  Now 90% might make life easier for other people I interact with and might make me more sociable and less of a standout.  But I don't think I can handle it.  It is easier for me to go 100%.  Plus, I've found people don't care as much as you think when you do funny things like not eat, or top a plate of lettuce with your own fixings, or bring your own food.  Also, if I'm 100% most of the time, on a daily basis, then if something really unusual comes up, it's no big deal if I decide to partake.  I just have to remember that these unusual events need to be limited to only a few times a year (and that remembering is kind of a hassle so again, it's easier to just stay on plan and have fewer decisions and fewer things to remember!).  Like I said, this is a very individual choice.  My main point is that even though it might seem counterintuitive, 100% is easier for me than 90% and I'm kind of surprised by that as much as anyone else.  Emily discusses something like this in her latest Diseaseproof post.


Darryl said...

My observation from seeing many folks struggling at Dr. Fuhrman's member center is that 100% is infinitely easier than 90%. You're right on target with the point that making exceptions creates decision stress. It's a huge distraction from the real task, which is how to make sure we have a good food selection available when needed.

What happens in practice is that the previous maximum exception becomes the OK exception, and the new decision is how far to go beyond that. This leads to a ratcheting up of the limit, usually leading to complete collapse. How much simpler and enjoyable it is to just select the best nutritarian option available.

ttujill said...

I think of the 90% as a cushion. I try to stay on plan 100% but when I screw up or make an exception at a social event I dont feel guilty or like I have ruined my diet. Although for me, eating something unhealthy only further motivates me to stay on plan following, but some people seem to go on carb binges that lead to downward spirals,so I guess each person probably needs to do what is right for themselves.