Health like Baseball, or One Day at a Time
It's the first inning of the first home game
of the season, and you're up to bat. Through several pitches, you stood there ready to swing, but held off. The count is now 3-2, and you have one shot left. This is make it or break it time, and you swing! The pitch didn't even look good. You could have let it go by and walked to first base. But the pressure was on, so you shattered air, and struck out. You sit back down in the dugout undeterred, though, because you know there is plenty of baseball left.
A choice was made. It wasn't good, but it wasn't necessarily bad; it was just that--a choice. Maybe you've made a decision to give this whole Primal Living thing a try. You step up to the plate, try to keep your commitment during that first week to completely eliminate dangerous foods, and for one meal you just flat out miss! (Does that completely derail your progress? It depends, and we'll get to that in a second). The good news is, you'll get another chance to make it right. I could go on to describe the people in the stands like the cells in your body, cheering you on... but I digress.
One of my favorite mantras of the Primal Health lifestyle has always been about the choices we make on a daily basis: they are not necessarily good or bad, just choices. Much like you batting average over a season, your choice to swing or not swing, to eat this or that, to play outside, to go to sleep on time, do add up over time, but don't turn that into an excuse.
Every snack, every meal (or lack thereof
), every decision to move or sit behind a computer for hours, to go to bed or watch one more show on Netflix, have a direct impact on our health and wellness in significant ways. As a Health Coach, I'll always ask that you strive for perfection, but regardless of whether you bat a thousand, we need to celebrate your daily wins.
With that in mind, let's consider the immediate impact just two of these choices can have on your emotional and physical well-being:
The emotional significance of letting a bad meal slide in
The beginning of anything new for you is absolutely critical.
If Primal Living is new for you, this can make an even greater impact: there is a big difference between steadily adapting to a new eating regimen through exchanges and substitute recipes, and feeling like a slice of chocolate cake your first week is acceptable as a 'reward'. There could be huge emotional triggers that are reset by not following our plan of eliminating harmful foods from your diet right off the bat. So fight the temptation, and use paleo-approved substitutions
to help the transition.
The impact of vegetable oil, i.e., the fries you just ate
Dr. Cate Shanahan goes to great length on this subject in an interview with Dave Asprey. According to research published by the American Journal of Cardiology,
eating just one serving of fries, "ages your arteries to the point where you’re an unhealthy 80-year-old for up to 24 hours." This study was done by young, healthy 20-year olds! Dave Asprey goes on to say that eating fried restaurant food is one of the dumbest thing you can do to your body. And I tend to agree with him (for more on this topic, do listen to this excellent podcast episode here). There are lasting effects to eating this way, all the way down the genetic level. Nothing makes this a good idea, even as a 'treat' every once and a while. Vegetable oil is toxic, should be treated as a poisonous thing, and avoided at all costs.
These things no doubt have the ability to cut you and your journey down, but healthy choices many times in a row build your average back up for the eventual failures. As time goes on, a K
won't move the needle enough to break all of the progress you've made. But be careful of the habit forming principles and the health ramifications - there are consequences to the decisions you make about food. Does that mean you can't ever try a non-Paleo foods again? Certainly not, but you might not want to.
I don't eat chocolate covered almonds anymore. Not because I can't, but because of the emotional connection I have to that experience (I used to like them a little too much, and would eat about a half-pound bag a day). And now, I don't even miss them. But, if someday I were to have a handful of indulgence, or a piece of birthday cake, or a slice of pizza, I'd do so without guilt knowing that this is completely out of the norm. You can be sure next at bat I'll be hitting a home run, and because of good habits built up over time, my average didn't move a bit.