My friend Herm “Old School” Blancaflor shared a pretty awesome article from the “Paleo Chronicles” blog.
The article is called “On Being Strict”, and the author discusses the mental implications of telling yourself that you “need” to maintain a “STRICT” Paleo diet in order to gain results or to be healthy.
At no point is it suggested or encouraged that we deviate from a clean diet in order to see optimal results. However, (and this is a huge point) what ends up happening when we approach eating Paleo like this, is we tell ourselves that if we “cheat” on the diet, we are bad people or that we are doing something wrong. We approach our diet, and the “concept” of food, as something that can so easily become riddled with guilt. I don’t know about you, but I know for a fact that I’ve been there (and still am there sometimes). “Oh man… why did I eat that? I messed up. I’m bad. I have no self control.” Those reactions may be a little drastic, but I think you know where I’m going with this. A great quote from her post:
“I suppose it is the motivation behind the words that bothers me. Strict implies discipline. Strict implies willpower. And strict implies compliance. You are forcing yourself to NOT do something, and that PRESSURE is not sustainable. Because it is motivated by FEAR… Fear is not a sustainable motivator. If it was, no one would smoke. There are labels on cigarettes that tell you they will KILL you.”
Don’t approach your diet, or your nutritional choices as I prefer to call them (as “diet” just sounds too temporary), as a system based on punishment and limitations. My advice is to simply learn what foods are good to eat, and have every meal you eat consist of those foods as often as possible.
I’ll refer you to the CrossFit website for a minute. When giving people advice on how to start the program, they’ve had a little “saying” for years. They call it “World Class Fitness in 100 Words.” The CrossFit program starts it’s most basic instruction of all, by addressing diet first. Greg Glassman (CrossFit Founder) says:
“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.”
That’s it. Don’t tell yourself how “strict” you need to be for every meal you ever eat. I’ll leave you with one more quote from the post:
“You don’t need to discipline yourself, I guarantee that what you really need is to love yourself. Then when you are deviating, if you even do so at all, you do so with a clear conscience: no baggage, no guilt.”