Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Paleo perfectionism, a.k.a., Everyone, please calm the f%^& down

As you stand at your CrossFit gym gazing at all the very in-shape people, and as you listen to your favorite paleo podcasts and read your favorite paleo websites, it's possible to lose a little perspective.

If you are trying hard to do this thing right, that's awesome, and here's the thing: you should be really really happy with awesome.

I repeat: keep doing your best, but if you fall down, just get back on the paleo/primal horse and forget about all that perfection nonsense. Sure, you can strive for perfection, but when it doesn't happen, just move the eff on, and keep on living as best as you can.

This thought particularly hit me the other day at Citizens Bank Park. My wife and I were there to see a Phillies game, and our friends, whom we were meeting outside the gates because we had all the tickets, were running a little late. So we sat down under a tree, and waited 15 minutes or so, watching the people head into the stadium, and...

It was kind of appalling.

I mean... I realize that the cross-section of people that we were dealing with is best defined as: "Those who like to gather in large numbers, eat fried food, drink copious amounts of beer and watch other people play sports." But, Jebus, man.... *way* too many folks there were really overweight, and really sick and having trouble walking a relatively short distance without assistance.

And they appeared to almost all be younger than us. Some were a *lot* younger than us. And they were struggling to move. Some were struggling to stand still. And they outnumbered the fit-looking people by many many times.

It was awful, and it was something that, living in my CrossFit/paleo-centric world, I don't see often in that kind of sheer, unspeakable volume.

People are not healthy, yo.

And I am not ridiculing them. They can do whatever they want. (I *have* made that clear by this point of this blog, haven't I?) Sure, I hope for their health and happiness that they pick a better path, but it's their call.

But you paleo/primal/CrossFit/healthy people, for the love of all that is good and right, stop beating yourselves up over a drink, a dessert, a body-fat number that maybe isn't the *absolute* ideal. Yes, do your very best, but when your very best is an oversized serving of Ben and Jerry's, enjoy the bejeezus out of it, and then get back to the plan. No guilt. No bullshit. No emotional breakdowns. Just get back to the plan.

If you do that, you'll be *fine*. And the rest of us will notice you for all the right reasons as you walk into a stadium.


  1. Awesome! Thank you for such a rational perspective. So many of us are uber-focused on eliminating every single molecule of vegetable oil or every last crumb of wheat flour from our diets that we forget that even doing most of the right things most of the time will get us pretty close to where we want to be. Sure, that last half a percentage of body fat or 1 mg/dL of blood glucose might come down if we tweak things even further, but we have to balance the hyper-vigilance and food phobias against the sheer enjoyment of life. Most of us -- even those who are far from "Paleo perfectionists" -- are probably leaps and bounds ahead of the average SAD eater out there. (At least, that's what I tell myself when I have ice cream now and then!)

    P.S. Just found you courtesy of Liz Wolfe. Great blog! Love your perspective.