Today we are having a paleo judging contest on foods brought and muscles shown
We have over fifty paleo rific folks coming to share their stories and results
How are you assessing your successes or failures?
Happy meat and fish filled Fourth PaleoHackers!
Pretty much everything hinges on mood.
How do I feel?
If my body functions optimally, if my sleep is optimal, if I'm incorporating play and non-excessive stressors on my body, the end result is how well I interact with the world, and myself in general. So my "mood" is how I determine my success.
I used to judge my mood based on my social life. Now I base it on my holistic (family, physical, social, sexual, professional) life. If I have success in some of those things, I'll have success in all of those things.
Going Paleo and learning from all these wonderful people here gave me that little glimpse that I was the creator of my own misery. It is easy to live in misery when one knows others are creating it — what can one do? One is helpless. That´s why we go on throwing responsibilities on others, whether it is the SAD or the USDA or the FDA or our doctors..
Grok (borrowed from Mark Sisson) has revealed that life is a verb. Life is not a noun, it is really "living" not "life." It is not love, it is loving. It is not relationships, it is relating. It is not a song, it is singing. It is not a dance, it is dancing. Now I See the difference, Now I savor the difference.
A Happy fourth to all.
I take the Robb Wolf test. Because really, it's perfect.
How do I feel? (yeah, Joshua's answer is good)
How do I perform? (workout, life, activities)
How do I look? (am I leaning out and losing fat)
To me, success is about getting to a point of homeostasis. It's about being able to do a workout, be lean, and feel good.
I know I'm not there yet though...I feel good and perform well, but I need to lean out, so #3 is the focus of my attention. So I'm doing n=1 experiments to get there.
So I am going to take a different route than the others. While how I feel is certainly important like others have mentioned, it is far from my primary measure or barometer. I used to feel good on SAD for many years also. This reflects my Archevore bias (see attached links)
Moreover, physical metrics like % body fat are certainly visible and important to me since it would be disingenuous to state that vanity isn't a motivating factor, but this is not ultimately important. Additional biometrics like HS-CRP or HbA1C perhaps reflect that the underlying biochemical benefits of this diet are being realized, but again still not most important to me.
What is most important to me in assessing lifestyle success, is exactly that - has this become a lifestyle or is it still a diet?
I have seen tremendous benefits since changing my diet about 6-7 months ago. So I am very happy and proud with the progress I've made and never intend to go back to my old lifestyle. But...
I could go on, but the point is the following - I am still relying on willpower to make the right choices. As long as this is a willful act, I am reluctant to declare that I've made a lifestyle change. I'm sure many of us have been on diet and exercise programs even for extended periods, only to eventually fall off the wagon...and fall hard. A conscious decision to cheat is one thing, but when the primary factor stopping a negative behavior is willpower, that is a different thing altogether IMO.
Some of you are going to respond that cheating from time to time is ok, it is "natural" to desire the aforementioned things, or that I am holding myself to an unreasonable standard. You are certainly entitled that opinion, but I do not feel this way - to each their own. I don't find it acceptable to cheat on my wife from time to time. I don't find it acceptable to beat my child from time to time. I don't think it is acceptable to physically abuse myself from time to time vis-a-vis dietary choices that are unquestionably damaging based on the science and evidence that has gotten me here.
Why do I feel this way? Because for me this journey has ultimately been about a spritual transformation, not merely physical. The physical is just a means to the end in this case. And so as to avoid religious/philosophical debates which are completely irrelevant in this context, I could have replaced the word "spiritual" with "emotional", but my point is to differentiate this from "how I feel". I am trying to get to something deeper here.
Since this is already more words than I intended, I will insert a parable that my grandfather told me many years ago that has stuck with me. It is a parable so you have to ignore the unrealistic aspects of it - "A monk was in meditation trying to find enlightment. He maintained his celebacy for 101 years. After 101 years, a beautiful woman walked past him and in a moment of passion, he ended his celebacy. How could someone so focused for 101 years succumb to his passions?". The moral of the story is that strength of mind will always yield to impurity of the heart. Purity of heart is beyond the mind. So for me in the dietary sense, I still want to bang the hot chick walking by me, and therefore I know I have not arrived where I hope to be.
Final comment - I am not at all dismayed or being negative by the above commentary. Far from it, I am happy that each day I have to look forward to progress even in the absence of perfection. In this sense, perhaps I can claim some aspect of this being a lifestyle change because this is the first time in my life where I can say I'm not in it for a bit, but I'm in it to win it.
Sorry for the rambling....
I generally try to maintain a constant BF% (give or take 3% points) while improving on strength. If I do that, then I'm happy. I feel good about accomplishments, and striving to convince those who are high-carb/low fat of their foolishness in BJJ, Weightlifting, etc. Is what causes me to feel good.
I definitely agree with the posts regarding judging how one feels (and looks), but in addition to that I judge based on my annual blood panels from my endocrinologist. I want to see that my body is improving each year I have them taken.
I view success as my ability to adapt to my ever changing environment. I measure this using the following metrics: lab results, self experimentation and feedback from loved ones (ahem - how cranky or nice I am).
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