Easy There

Posted by Brian PCF
Apr 14 2011

Speaking to several clients lately, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around personality type, goal setting, and compliance.

Since our migration away from a Zone based diet about two years or ago to a Paleo approach, we would seemingly see a greater degree of happiness because of the wider variety of options. No need to drag a scale around or “calibrate your eyeball.” Just eat meat and veggies, seeds and nuts, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar/grain/dairy/legumes.

But it seems that some personality types psychologically need an extremely strict diet – even if it isn’t healthy for you (Vegan, Vegetarian, Grapefuit Diet, etc). So they have issues with Paleo because it allows so much. You’ve got a TON of options with Paleo, but some folks feel a need for an extremely ascetic ideal of diet (and they usually feel the same thing about exercise: Filthy Fifty every day!!!)

The big problem is that when you try the Paleo Diet and you train with Potomac Crossfit, you’re trying to change severely ingrained behaviors and habits. If you’re trying to do that by putting tremendous amounts of pressure on yourself when you mess up (and you will), or if you’re simply thinking about messing up, you’re going to make small issues into really big issues.

That’s part of the reason the Paleo Challenge is so effective. We remove a few things here:

  • Self-Comparison.  By competing with a large group, you just have to think you’re doing a little better than somebody else.  You’re not competing against an idealized version of yourself.
  • Skin in the Game.  This is a huge reason why people fail trying the Paleo Diet solo: There’s no consequences except that they are just living the life they led for the last 20-30-40 years.
  • Prizes.  Never underestimate a persons desire for a prize, no matter how small, big, likely, or unlikely it is: $10, $1,000,000, Arm Wrestling, or the Lottery.  People want to compete for a prize.

But don’t kill yourself psychologically to get there. Maybe you missed a workout or had a Creme Brulee: Big Deal! Get over it. Don’t jump out the window, and don’t say to yourself, “I had some Creme Brulee! I’m a terrible person, but I promise that I’ll be super strict for the next 30 days/weeks/years!”

This diet and exercise routine should make you happier and make your life easier. If the angst your feeling for failing self-imposed goals is too much for you, GET NEW GOALS.

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