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Mindful Bytes: Your Way

So I’m going to go on a bit of a rant. Not triggered at all, this blog just gives me the chance to explore topics I think about a lot but don’t share often. It’s a mini rant. I promise I’ll leave you on a high, happy note.

Whether it’s social media, changes in how communication impacts our lives, or the polarization of so many opinions in society, I don’t really like or believe in too many absolutes. I think life is incredibly complex and while simplifying life is a must have to find some focus, over simplification becomes a hole that is really hard to climb out of. Once simplification works, it becomes incredibly hard to break away when results slow or stop, and that fear that we may not know what we’re doing starts to creep in.

This is a long way of saying I don’t like it when people on this health journey tear down the countless ways we can use to get healthy.

I have two absolutes on my journey: I) Am I progressing towards my health goals? and (II) Can I sustain the behaviours responsible for the progress indefinitely?

That’s it. Those are my only true tests for what I utilize to get healthy. In my lifetime I’ve seen: the low fat/cardio craze, Atkins, vegetarianism, veganism, organic lifestyle , raw lifestyle, the grapefruit diet, cleanses, the supplement craze, cross training, high intensity interval training, strength training, Keto, Paleo, Weight Watchers, WW, Jenny Craig, Slimfast, Dr Bernstein, hypnosis, intuitive eating. You know I can do 20 others but you get my point.

Are you seeing progress, and can you live this way the rest of your life? If you answer yes twice using any of that stuff above, don’t let anyone (other than your doctor) tell you that you’re “doing it wrong”.

That pressure people apply, it comes from a good place, a generous place, they want to help. But someone who happily lives a keto lifestyle will often talk about how evil carbs are to people that eat carbs every meal. Someone on WW will announce deprivation doesn’t work to healthy people who choose to not eat chips. When a lifestyles saved your life, the passion to help others can morph into oversimplifying this complicated journey down to only one way to do this. I have to check myself constantly to avoid this, and I fail sometimes.

The power of this message is this: take the burden that others place on your shoulders on what you “should” be doing, and dump it in a ditch.

Are you progressing, and can you sustain the lifestyle? Just keep asking and answering those two questions honestly. If you’re “yes and yes”, you’re doing it right, and don’t let anyone lead you astray.

I’m big on one indulgent meal per week, regardless of the week. That has worked wonders for me. Changed my life. But if you’re yes and yes to those two questions, and you’re having 7 mini indulgent meals per week, completely ignore my advice!!!! It will wreck what you’re doing. There’s no magic bullet that works for everyone. I spend a lot of time crafting these messages from the “what works for me” stance. I’m not always successful in my delivery, but it’s absolutely my intent.

But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone, who’s been successful with intuitive eating, absolutely shred WW as the embodiment of evil diet culture.

And this is where I’m supposed to tear down intuitive eating because I feel so incredibly motivated to defend what has saved MY life. That’s how this game is played right? It’s time to let those people know why their WRONG!!!

But maybe somewhere out there is someone who’s had success with intuitive eating, but has hit one of those tough patches we’re all too familiar with? What if they can save their life if they just tough it out and keep going? What if my shredding of intuitive eating stops that from happening? I’m sure I’m overestimating what this blog is capable of, but this journey is hard enough without making it needlessly harder.

Fastest way for someone to lose credibility with me is to tear lifestyles down as ineffective without adding “for me” at the end. Talk endlessly on what works for you, and what doesn’t. I think that’s so valuable, positive, supportive, generous. But once someone starts standing taller by pushing success around them down, they’re showing me they can’t be tall on their own. As my kids say, “They’re s us Dad”…..

Sure, there are general principles and concepts that are close to universal or irrefutable. Overwhelmingly, studies show you need a caloric deficit to lose weight, how you achieve it (WW, keto, intuitive eating, Jenny Craig) doesn’t matter.

I met an Italian guy who has maintained a 120 lbs loss for 9 years living a paleo lifestyle. Anyone wanna try and tell that guy he’s doing it wrong because he doesn’t eat cake? I don’t. I can’t live a paleo lifestyle, I like cake. But he clearly can live like that. So how could he possibly be “wrong”?

Even though this rant makes me sound like a grumpy old man (and I might be 😊), the point is don’t let anyone oversimplify this complicated journey to the point where they’re telling you to stop doing something that answers those two questions positively for you. Borrow from everything. Try everything. Stay out of your comfort zone until it expands. Customize this journey until it works and it’s sustainable. BE HONEST with yourself. Be gentle in your self talk, but cold and calculating in your assessment of progress. There are thousands of paths to success, it just feels like there’s only one because so many of us search endlessly for success.

The paths to success are there, they’re everywhere. They’re all around us. We just need big mindset shifts to find them.

One final point and nice note to end on. One of the reasons I’m so happy blogging here is because Nick and Jean Luc do this so so well. They share their experiences and encourage/cheerlead people on their own personal exploration. There isn’t a hint of “what those people are doing over there leads to failure” in how they talk about getting healthy. It’s not easy. I promise you they have things that are essential to their success and it’s tempting to position their personal strategies as essential for everyone. You hear none of that in their content. Instead, all their effort goes into trying to lift people up, and I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to help them. In my own small way.

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