Hey guys! Today we want to talk to you about one of the most important parts of living the Paleo life: finding your own balance with food. We all know that in order to achieve and maintain good health, we've got to make good choices most of the time. But the key word there is most. I mean, what is the point of living so strictly that you stop having fun? We need to be able to find to a place where we can still achieve our own goals and stay healthy but are still enjoying life in the meantime. All work and no play makes for some stressed out grumps, and we don't want that! So how do you find your own balance? Here are some tools to help you ditch the all-or-nothing mentality that ultimately sets a lot of us up for failure. Try them out and see that works best for you.
Follow your health regimen 80% of the time, and don't sweat it for the other 20% of the time. Confused about what that means? Well this part takes some experimenting on your behalf, since it could mean a variety of things: Maybe you follow Paleo during the week and then allow one day a week to be your "treat day", where you enjoy whatever foods you like. Maybe it means that you eat clean every day but enjoy a Paleo (or not so Paleo!) treat after dinner a few nights a week. Or maybe you want to save it up for special occasions when you know there's going to be some irresistable grub (your grandmother's apple pie? A birthday cake?) The point is that you shouldn't be pulling your hair out over the little details all the time or adhering so strictly that you lose sight of enjoying life. (That type of stress and obsessiveness can cause health issues all by itself). Find a 80/20 balance that works for you, that allows you to still progress and get closer to your goals instead of slowing you down, but make an effort to loosen up every once in a while! For me personally, I know that gluten will give me a three day hangover, so I steer clear of that most of the time and indulge in a sweet or other gluten free but non-Paleo snack every so often. And if the time is right and I really decide that the gluten hangover is worth it, I go for it with no regrets (World famous Voo-Doo Doughnuts in Portland, anyone?).
As you finagle this balance, the important things to keep in mind are your own personal goals and why you began seeking a path to health. When you're debating whether the office cookie tray is worth it or not, take a moment to remember your goals, and why you are making these choices in the first place. Instead of making food choices based on how you think a food will make you look or how much weight it might make you gain, (because that implies there is something wrong with the way you look, and there ain't nothin' wrong with how you look, honey), try to connect with yourself and make food choices based on how a food will make you feel. Will it make you feel slow and sluggish in the gym and keep you from kicking ass like you usually do? Will it energize you and keep a smile on your face? That gluten hangover I mentioned earlier is something I choose to avoid because I know how much it will effect my training, my mood, and my ability to fight off the sugar cravings that will inevitably follow. So remember why you began your journey to health, and use that as a base point to make your decision. You might find that it will shift your mentality from "I can't have that", to "I don't want that". And most importantly, if the answer to your own question happens to be YES, you want it (and how it will make you feel will be worth it), then enjoy it, girl, enjoy it, and without a trace of guilt.
When you diverge from the Paleo lifestyle, either thoughtfully and intentionally as part of your 80/20 balance, or something you didn't think through and did spontaneously, remember this (burn it into your brain, ladies!): IT'S OK. It. is. ok! Don't stress about "messing up" or whatever other burden you may be putting on yourself. Enjoy the those moments, savor the food and the company, and don't sweat the small stuff. Get back on track at your next meal, the next day, or when you feel ready. It's very important to be kind to yourself during these moments. You are already making the hard choice to get healthy, so feel proud of yourself for doing right by your body most of the time! That's a big deal, and it makes all the difference.
We want you to be healthy but we also really want you to enjoy your life. After all, isn't that what it means to thrive?