When in Jamaica... Drink rum!
I write these blog posts for several reasons. Firstly I enjoy writing. I didn’t really appreciate it while I was studying Media and Communications at Melbourne Uni, nor did I enjoy Creative Writing classes. But now that it’s a hobby and no one is forcing me to do it, I love it!
Secondly, I am absolutely passionate about nutrition. I find it fascinating. I think the word ‘passion’ is thrown around too much these days. It is an idealistic term. It’s like the concept of “love”. Yes you can be “in love” but it’s a bit of a vague notion - an internal reflection. In the movies characters romantically fall crazy, madly, deeply in love, but for most people it’s actually more of a slow burn - a journey. And then one day you’re like, ‘hmm… I think I’m in love”.
Well that is pretty much how it worked for me and my “love/passion” for nutrition. It’s been a thing in my life for a while. I grew up with a Mum who was borderline neurotically obsessed with holistic medicine (in a good way!). Our pantry always smelled like a health food shop and our fridge could wipe the smile off a child’s face in a microsecond upon opening… “Would you like some psyllium husks with your rice milk, Timmy?”
Miraculously even this borderline-hippy upbringing, years of being called ‘soy boy’ at school and having to smuggle my own yeast-free rye soda bread to Cadet camp didn’t permanently turn me off healthy eating. After a few years of sausage-roll-and-chocolate-milk rebellion in my early teens I was back on the bandwagon, and this time with my own motivations! The rest is history.
One recent evening I found myself listening to five hours straight of fairly heavy (dull) science on podcasts about autoimmune disease and gluten sensitivity and I’m like, shit, it’s 2am and I should probably go to sleep but this is too damned entertaining! That’s pretty much when I realized that it was ok to officially label this as a 'passion'.
Now the third reason why I write these posts is because I love educating people. I’ve always been a bit of a know-it-all and have a knack for remembering all kinds of odd facts and stats. So it’s pretty easy and fun for me to relate all that I’ve learned over the years to a captive audience... Suckers!
The problem with forming an identity as 'The Paleo Model' is that people tend to think I’m some kind of superhuman diet freak, with a magical cape of self-discipline and an iron will. HA!
Those of you who know me personally will attest to the fact that I am no saint. Yes I’m fairly disciplined and generally look pretty reasonable with my shirt off but I certainly have my vices.
Often these days when people catch me eating rice, drinking a beer or sleeping in til midday after a late night they’re like, “WTF. I didn’t know you drank beer/ate rice/partied until 3am!” Well in defense to that, I don’t really have any defense. The truth is I do my fair share of unhealthy shit and I’m totally fine with it. Why? Because perfection is completely overrated.
What’s your goal? Let me guess. You want to be healthy, happy, and preferably look good naked. Well trying to be perfect 100 percent of the time and then beating yourself up whenever you waver - which you will, often - is definitely not going to help you achieve those goals.
Perfection is NOT the aim. Improvement is.
I worked incredibly hard for years and years at my physique. I went through periods of straight up masochism - six or seven days a week in the gym for an an hour and a half a day, smashing through ridiculous workouts like the imbecilic Aries ram that I am! In hindsight the kind of training I was doing, paired with a fairly hectic travel, work and party lifestyle was quite stupid, completely unsustainable and probably bad for my health.
I’m a lot smarter these days. I’m happy to trade off one or two percent more body fat to avoid getting colds every few months. I'm happy to be good at many different forms of movement than great at just one. I’m happy to have some corn chips and a couple of Coronas at a birthday party at a great Mexican restaurant. And trust me, I’ve done my fair share of crazy, unhealthy binge drinking and partying over the years. But I don’t regret that for a second.
I honestly live what I preach for the most part. My diet is clean and my workout routine is well balanced and consistent. I make smart choices the majority of the time and practice willpower when I need to.
Having said that, I still have room for improvement. We all do. My sleep could be better and I could lay off the caffeine and alcohol a bit more. But as I keep saying, having a few vices is what makes us human. And there's no reason why you can't be healthy, happy, look good naked and have some fun once in a while.
As the psychiatrist explains to Bill Murray’s nervous character in ‘What About Bob?’ it’s all about baby steps - "setting small, reasonable goals one at a time. One tiny step at a time.”
This is such an apt analogy.
If you want to try Paleo but you are daunted by the seemingly momentous dietary changes it would entail just think 'baby steps'. Maybe give up sugar in your coffee at first. Then switch to black coffee. Then give up wheat. Then ditch the cereal in the mornings and switch to eggs for breakfast. Eat less packaged food and more veggies. Trade in your weekend beer for a weekend vodka/soda.
Focus on the small improvements. There is no need to be perfect, just try to improve. Before you know it you’ll be full blown Paleo and feeling a million bucks. Hell, Paleo may even become a passion!
"Form a habit. Forge a lifestyle."
PS - If you liked this post please take a second to share it on Facebook or Twitter. I take note of the popularity of these posts and it helps me decide what to write about in the future. Suggestions welcome. Cheers!