I get many people asking me about my approach to health and wellness. They wonder why with all the other “fad diets” they have tried have been strict with the foods they eat and timing and do this not that, blah blah blah. My response, “Have those diets worked for you?”. The answer is always a big NO. These diet approaches focus mostly on what you cannot have and what you must do to lose weight and have the best life possible. How can restricting yourself totally be living the best life?
Overall my approach to health and wellness is the philosophy of the Primal Blueprint that is people need to not feel the need to have a perfectionist view of diet and exercise. The goal is to have realistic lifestyle habits that will work into each person’s unique life. No two people are the same so how can a diet and exercise regime be a cookie cutter do this not that? This interpretation of health and wellness is the “80 Percent Rule.” Success can come from not being strict and hating the popular method to a lifestyle change. Most programs that require this devotion to guidelines usually have the client building stress and anxiety and put a huge feeling of failure on themselves when they fall short to the programs perfectionist standards.
Health and wellness are not only about diet and exercise. Stress, sleep, play and movement are also key factors in living an awesome life. There have been many cases that when a person gets so intensely focused on avoiding unhealthy foods it can lead to eating disorders such as orthorexia. The basis of the primal/paleo/ancestral movement is focused on eating natural, whole foods along with but also avoiding poisonous things (processed cooking oils, etc.), moving frequently (sitting is the new smoking), lift heavy thing (including your own body weight), sprint once and awhile (get that heart rate up), get plenty of sleep (mind-body recovery time), play (remember having real fun as a kid), get plenty of sunlight (it amazing what sun does to wellness), avoid stupid mistakes (that text while you drive can wait), and use your brain (read, write, do crosswords, etc.).
To go deeper into what I mean about the 80% rule truly is about. The suggestion is that you attempt an all-out, full commitment to follow those previously mentioned guidelines 100% of the time. With that being said, the perfectionist approach will hinder the overall goal of well-being. Trying for a complete, no mistakes allowed lifestyle will make your emotional and mental health go down the drain. Many people forget that without your sanity the rest of the plan is a waste. Stress can disrupt many hormonal processes within your body that could lead to you feeling worse that ever.
The modern world can sometimes get in the way of attempting to live a mindful, conscious, well balanced healthy life. By not letting yourself feel like a total failure if you veer off course of your goals you can use your “mistake” as an opportunity to correct, grow and reorganize. I like that quote by Norman Vincent Peale. “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.” You’ve set your goals. You’ve been making progress towards these goals. Beating yourself up when you fall short doesn’t mean that all of improvement is lost.
I know that a lifestyle change can be extremely hard. I have endured many to get to where I am now. Each struggle felt like it was never going to end. If you can be true to yourself and honestly say that your have given a devoted effort towards your goal you should never feel discouraged that you aren’t being “perfect”. Nobody is perfect.