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The Imperfect Journey to Perfect Health

Skillful Juggling. By azza-bazoo on Flickr

Hi, my name is Crystal and I have a confession to make…

I am not perfect…Not even close!

I am still emotionally tied to certain foods. Generally processed foods like chippies, chocolate and those insidious ‘special occasion’ gluten-free treats.
From time to time, I struggle with cravings for cheats & treats, especially when I am tired, grumpy or stressed.
I have not totally laid waste to the sugar demons.
I have fallen off the Paleo wagon a few times and have turned into an absolute horror to live with each time.
Leading my husband, Andrew to politely request that I NEVER, EVER to step outside the Paleo template EVER again.
There are times when the little voice inside my head convinces me that if it is gluten free then it is ok.
My 80/20 drops to more like 50/50 when things like gluten-free cakes, alcohol and takeaway food slip back into my culinary rotation.
I still have some health issues that haven’t yet completely resolved with a Paleo approach.
Acne and eczema are beginning to creep back onto my face and have bought with them symptoms of leaky gut…(actually this is probably the other way around!).
I suspect I may be insulin resistant.
I don’t always get enough sleep. I definitely don’t get enough exercise.
And, there are certainly times when I get overwhelmed by stress and all of the balls I have in the air come crashing down to the ground.

Ahh…that feels better!
Don’t you always feel better when you have gotten something off your chest?

For a while now I have been tottering around under the weight of self-imposed expectation and striving for a level of perfection that is totally unrealistic for mere mortals…even mortals of the Paleo persuasion.

Tottering under the weight of expectations. By ralph repo, via Wikimedia Commons

I started off this ESM blog with the kind of fanatical zeal that only someone newly converted to Paleo (or religion) can have.

If you have been there before, you will know what I mean.
You have that special kind of conviction that everyone & their dog simply must adopt a Paleo lifestyle because it is the only way to be truly healthy.
You feel awesome!  All happy and energetic, so it is only natural that you want that for everyone else as well.

Had I made it to Paleo Nirvana?
Did I have it all figured out? Do I always make the right choices?

Hmmm…No, not really.

Does that matter?
No …and this is a realisation that I have come to only recently.

Health is a journey, not a destination.”
~ Dr Brett Hill, How to Eat an Elephant Click to Tweet This

Not only that – as Dean Dwyer would say – The journey to health, is not a perfect journey.

It is definitely not all smooth sailing along the way.
Progress is not always made in straight lines and not always in the forward direction.
Success is not guaranteed, just because you gave it a go.
And, no-one gets it right straight off the bat.

I am on this imperfect journey…just like you.
I certainly don’t have it together all the time.  I still have hang-ups and road-blocks.
I am still writing my own personal blueprint for Perfect Health.

The nature of the imperfect journey is such that, if I waited till I had it all figured out, this blog would become a wasteland of crickets and tumbleweeds.
So, I will share my learnings so far with you, in the hopes that something will resonate. Something that you will be able to implement to make your journey a little easier and a little smoother.

Strategies for Smoothing out the Imperfect Journey to Perfect Health:

  • Take some responsibility for your current situation. Be honest about where you are at right now and how you got there.
  • Make the commitment to a continuous life-long journey of self-improvement and take it one step at a time.
  • Become the expert on yourself. Learn what works for you and what does not. Write your own user’s manual.

…turn yourself into a scientific experiment of one, so you can figure out for yourself, once and for all, whether the foods you are eating are making you more healthy or less healthy. And that’s worth more than any scientific findings you read about – because there hasn’t been a single scientific experiment that includes you as a subject”
~ Melissa & Dallas Hartwig, It Starts With Food 

Screenshot of half a day recorded on my iPhone

  • You can only do this if you are consciously aware of what you are doing and are mindful of the effect that the food you eat and actions you take have on your mind and your body.
  • If you are wondering where to start, make a list of what you could Start, Stop or Keep Doing. Make a plan for what you are going to change. Have a strategy for how you are going to go about this and stick with it.
  • Actually take action and do something!
  • Measure your results. Keep a record and reflect on how you are going. Is it working for you? How are you looking, feeling and performing? What should you Start, Stop or Keep Doing?
  • I am currently keeping a food diary in the notes app on my iPhone. This keeps me accountable and helps me to track what foods are causing certain symptoms.
  • Change only one thing at a time. In any credible scientific experiment only one variable is changed while keeping all the others constant. This allows you to really assess how that food or action is actually affecting you.
  • Be consistent, give yourself time to adapt. If it is working for you, make that one change a habit that can be sustained. Then turn your attention to the next change.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself.  If you muck up, let it go and move on. Work out where you went wrong and plan accordingly for next time.
  • Reflect often on how far you have come. Celebrate your success’s and ‘tell yourself a positive story’ when you think about your journey thus far.
  • Check out Dean Dwyer’s excellent ‘Make Shift Happen’ Podcast and the equally fantastic ‘Wellness Guys’ Podcast with Dr’s Brett Hill, Damian Kristof & Laurence Tham
  • Also, take a look at the Hartwig’s awesome book ‘It Starts With Food’ for more pointers on steps you can take to make changes that are sustainable.

Is Perfect Health even possible?

Probably not, but that is the beauty of the Journey.
While you still have breath in your body you have the ability to take responsibility for yourself and to influence your own health and wellness.

As long as you continue to take small steps and actually do something, you will be able to make changes that build up over time and will become sustainable over your entire lifetime.

So, tell us guys, where are you at on your imperfect journey?  If you would like to share any of your steps or learnings please leave us a comment below.

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6 Responses to The Imperfect Journey to Perfect Health

  1. Jen Wednesday 7 August, 2013 at 11:32 AM #

    Thank goodness I found your journey. After 2 months of feeling great on Paleo (more energy, no bloating), the wheels fell off a few weeks back when I’d have days of, shall we say, tummy distress that left me exhausted, fearful and with no appetite. The diet hadn’t changed, but it appeared my body had. My already underweight frame lost even more and I’m now afraid of what to eat. Do I give up Paleo? Do I add some rice (horrors!) to sop up all this animal fat? I’m sure time will tell as I continue this imperfect journey, but boy am I tired of being on it. I have multiple food allergies and medical conditions, so it really feels as tho I’ve been backed into a corner

  2. Jaxz Friday 23 November, 2012 at 4:42 PM #

    All the above points are good. Lately I’ve found Geneen Roth’s a huge help, especially “Breaking Free from Emotional Eating.”

    • Jaxz Friday 23 November, 2012 at 4:43 PM #

      That’s a book, by the way -- typos grrr!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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