How Honest Are You to Yourself?

Honesty is the first chapter to the book of wisdom.

Honesty is the first chapter to the book of wisdom.

There’s an old saying: “honesty is the best policy.”

True, without a doubt.

And we try to be honest with the people around us. We’re surrounded by people every day, people with different motivations, and it’s hard sometimes to keep being honest – but unless you have major issues, you know that just being honest and telling he truth makes life better and easier.

So: how often are you honest with yourself?

There are probably as many ways that honesty to ourselves is as important as is honesty to others, and frankly, many of them probably benefit us in the same ways. The way I want to talk about today, though, is in the realm of health.

I’ve had a cold this weekend. (Bear with me, this is related to honesty.) My son brought it home from school, I assume. And I am dealing with it right now with rest, lots of nose-blowing, some essential oils, and more rest. But since I started following a Paleo lifestyle several years ago, I have been sick much less than I ever was. It’s been nice – getting sick less and when I do get sick watching it vanish much faster than in other people.

But this time it’s been a nastier cold – face all stuffed up and painful, poor sleep as a result, and even a missed day at work. And I can’t help but be honest with myself and put the blame solely on my own choices of late.

I haven’t been as diligent about eating healthy food as I should. I haven’t been as dutiful to myself about my morning rituals – some exercise, meditation, and a proper start to my day. Instead I’ve been eating what’s available and easy to fix. And while I’ve been getting up at my normal time, I’ve also allowed myself to be distracted from my morning ritual tasks.

Once in a while, we have to decide that enough is enough. We have to look seriously at what’s working for us and what isn’t. We have to take the time to examine or habits and decide what’s working and what isn’t. Clearly, not being diligent about my diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, and more is something that simply isn’t working for me.

Why these things have been let up isn’t important. Your body doesn’t understand excuses. It understands habits, behavior, and results.

So for a while I’m going start back up with a new Paleo on-ramp program. I’ve been reading The Wild Diet by Abel James, and it’s a good plan with a little bit of variation to it that I haven’t tried before to keep it fresh and interesting. I’m going to put together a new workout plan to incorporate the stuff I’ve talked about he past few weeks – some parkour and the like. And I’m working with my iPhone meditation app regularly to keep that habit going as well. I have the pieces in place and I’m being honest with myself to get myself back in gear.

But there’s another kind of honesty that needs to be taken into consideration sometimes, too – the honesty to know when something you believe in isn’t working for you. And this is one of the lies that I see people allowing into their lives on a regular basis, especially in our quick-fix and easy-access society: the lie that modern “progress” is good for us.

Too often, we think we know better than our ancestors how to live and work and play. We think that, because we’re living in the most modern society in history, we’re somehow immune to the challenges of the past or that our modern conveniences are going to make everything better if things start to go wrong.

All it takes, though, is a few moments of looking around at the state of the modern world to know that this outlook is a load of BS. Just because something is new and based on science doesn’t make it a good thing.

Someone I care about very much once told me, in a tone that suggested that he didn’t care for my outlook in this regard, that he considered “science to be a good thing.” To him, science meant new discoveries and new technology based on science. Things like GMOs, modern exercise techniques, modern pharmaceuticals, and such “new” stuff. The stuff that’s easy to market, ironically.  And I’m not saying that marketability was the reason he felt that way, I just find that part ironic.

But there’s other science being done as well. There’s science that is proving that the healthiest way to live is to try to go back to the ways things were in the past, before we had industrial food, and symptom-relieving medicine, and health clubs and Zumba classes and such (Not singling out Zumba, it’s just the first thing that jumped to mind). Science that shows how low-fat, high-carb, processed-food diets are part of what’s fueling the obesity crisis. Science that shows how our obsession with reducing “wasted time” with regard to cooking our own food, or getting to work, or reducing manual labor in everyday tasks, or creating the most comfort in our lives, is having a negative effect. Science that shows how enabling people to stay up late and work insane hours is killing us slowly without us even realizing it till its too late.

Science is also showing us that one diet plan isn’t going to work for everyone.  For example: a while back I was listening to the Obstacle Dominator podcast with Ben Greenfield and Hunter McIntyre, and Ben (who is a fantastic follow and podcaster for his breadth of knowledge, if you’re interested) was talking about vegetarian and vegan diets. And he describes how humans have a varied ability to process their food and get all the nutrients they need from a vegetarian diet.  Some people can handle it outright.  Some need supplementation of some kind.  And some simply aren’t going to thrive with this.  I talked about this a bit more on my Periscope last night if you’re interested.

And the same goes for Paleo folks, before you think I’m singling out vegetarians.  Some people, like me, do great with that plan.  And some people just need more carbs or less fat or whatever.  That is totally fine.

But…

The point here, once again, is HONESTY.  Be honest to yourself with how you feel and adjust accordingly.  I fully support doing a 21- to 40-day plan no matter what you do so that you can reset your system and see how the plan you’ve chosen works for you.  I really don’t think you can know after a week or whatever, until you break through whatever plateau or cravings you may be having.  But after that point, it’s time to start being critical and honest in whatever you pick.  You may feel better after a month, but then going forward find that something in that plan isn’t working for you, and you’ll need to adjust.

So today, I would love to know how you’re going to 1) track your progress with a diet plan, no matter what you pick; and 2) how you’re going to hold yourself to honesty in that choice.  Let me know in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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