“Making a decision was only the beginning of things.”
Paulo Coehlo, The Alchemist
It’s amazing what happens when you acknowledge your circumstances, and just get started toward your goal.
- Six months ago, I was confined to my couch, unable to walk down the street
- Six years ago, I was looking for my first job out of college amidst the toughest economic environment in decades
- Sixteen years back, I was a chunky 10 year-old trying to prove my athletic worth to Little League coaches and teammates
The common thread to overcoming each obstacle? Accepting where I was, and getting started by taking small steps to reach my goal.
After replacing soda with water, I shed my baby fat. Instead of applying to only the “top jobs” in my desired city, I cast a wide net and ended up in a better position than I ever could have imagined. And once I stopped loathing my health and accepted my condition for what it was, I immediately felt lighter and started noticing improvements.
I’m On A Journey
Rather than try to wait for everything in my life to be perfect, I’m going to share my path with others heading in the same direction. Instead of waiting to accumulate the requisite “expertise,” I’m going to expose what works for me, offer advice, share resources, and spread the knowledge I’ve gained to this point.
Which begs the question: What path am I on? I suppose that might be helpful to know before following my trail.
My goal may sound familiar to many. It’s simple enough:
I want to optimize my health and happiness.
And as an ambitious twenty-something, I know there are others out there interested in the same thing.
The Double-Edged Sword
There are many positives to being young and ambitious. We have the ability to make waves challenging the status quo, the freedom and flexibility to explore and try new things, and the comfort in knowing our mistakes result in relatively minor consequences.
In many ways, these attributes define our generation. We want to do work that has an impact, have the freedom to explore the world, and generally live rich and meaningful lives. But these desires often come with hidden mental and emotional costs. We become so narrow-minded in achieving our career, social, and lifestyle goals, that we’ve created our own little Generation Y rat race.
We’re constantly stressed, over-thinking every little decision we make (or don’t make). Our schedules are packed from dawn till dusk with all kinds of activities, since we’re simultaneously trying to advance in our careers, socialize, and live “interesting” lives dammit! And heck if we can’t prove how fun and interesting we are through social networks.
The ironic part is, most of want to be healthy. But we’re facing an uphill battle trying to get there.
Here’s a partial list of what’s holding us back:
- Overly busy schedules
- Career stress
- Social norms and expected behaviors
- Cultural practices and beliefs
We’re fighting against a lot of resistance – cultural, social, socioeconomic, etc. So how do we overcome these obstacles?
Start With Paleo
“The anthropological record provides a framework for further examination of nutritional science; it does not prescribe a diet.”
When you hear the word “Paleo” what immediately comes to mind? For most people, they think of an anally restrictive diet touted by neurotic health nuts and cross fitters.
That’s unfortunate. While there’s some truth to that perception, the concept behind Paleo goes beyond a diet craze. Paleo is a starting point, a “template” as Chris Kresser likes to say. There’s value in looking back at a simpler time, examining the factors that allowed humans to thrive for thousands of years, and applying them to modern life. It makes sense to remove the most common modern-day stressors, and replace them with positive elements of our ancestor’s lifestyles such as functional movement, quality sleep, stress reduction, and healthy social relationships.
However, it really does all start with food. Eating is where we get our energy, our enthusiasm, and our vibrancy. Without a healthy relationship with what we eat, it’s difficult to achieve anything else we’re after in life.
This blog is about sharing what works for me – a 20-something working professional interested in improving my health through real food – and hopefully imparting some knowledge to others along the way. The Paleo template is my guide, and I’ll share how I’m able to incorporate it into my life, as well as provide tips so you can do the same.
But Paleo isn’t the sole source of truth. I like to experience new things, and have fun while doing so. There’s more to health than a strict dietary regimen, and a positive mindset towards food is important to actively cultivate.
The health challenges we all face today are unique and daunting. But if we get started now, there’s nothing we can’t overcome.
If you’re on a healthy eating journey of your own, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up in the comments to share your successes, struggles, and any questions you have.