A few definitions to start:
Perfect: having no mistakes or flaws
Consistent: always acting or behaving in the same way
CONSITENT is NOT the same as PERFECT.
When people come to see me as a physical therapy patient or a coaching client, they often ask, “Do I have to eat perfect paleo?” Sometimes people often compare themselves to me and say, “I am almost as perfect as you.” Perfect is the wrong word. Having no mistakes or flaws is impossible, yet maybe only in the subjective sense as far as feelings go.
My answer to the question, "Do I have to be perfect?" the answer is clearly, “No.” But you ABSOLUTELY have to be consistent in your choices. The mistake I often see is that someone might think they are trying to be like me, yet they aren’t seeing the health benefits. The first problem is that of comparison. The recipe for health for me looks different than what it is for you despite the ingredients are the same. The foundational principles of eat well, move well, sleep well and soar on are the same for all.
If you happen to have a health condition that you are seeking improvement on then my answer is a bit more involved. You can take baby steps to improving your lifestyle and you will see mild improvement if you are lucky. But if you want dramatic improvement, like rock your world improvement, then you must make dramatic changes.
Dramatic improvements require dramatic changes.
It’s like ripping the bandaid off versus slowly and gently taking it off. You might not ever get the damn bandaid off all the way.
So if you are still struggling in your health condition then you need to step back and really evaluate your application of the four foundational principles into your life. I mean really stop and check. Are you eating whole foods consistently? Are you moving your body consistently? Are you sleeping regularly and consistently? Are you connecting to your body consistently? If the answer is no to any of those questions, then you need to stop. If the answer is a clear "yes" then it's time to seek help.
It’s not that you can’t fall off the wagon periodically, like a cheat meal that includes cake or ice cream or pizza (assuming you aren’t celiac), but if you haven’t been consistent before and aren’t consistent after said “cheat” with eating well, then yes, that cheat meal is a problem. Cheat meals are to be done on purpose and only once you have consistently changed your lifestyle habits.
If you are recovering from an injury or illness, then the consistency needs to be more rigorous.
If you have a scab that is healing and you just continue to pick at it little by little, it will start bleeding again and you have to start the healing process all over. And the second round of healing won’t be quite as good as the first time, and now you have a scar.
Cheat meals are also not binge drinking beer with pizza with the guys, that will derail your health progress. Cheat meals are not gorging on an entire birthday cake in one sitting just because it’s your birthday and you deserve it. A cheat meal is sitting down with good friends and enjoying a slice of cake while sipping on a glass of wine. The next morning, you pick right back up on your healthy habits of eat well, move well, sleep well, and soar on.
If you compare where your life is to mine, please don’t. But if you and your family aren’t where you want to be health wise, then please evaluate how consistent you are in your choices. What seems like an occasional cheat is actually more than you think. And maybe the only difference between you and I is not perfect versus imperfect, but consistent versus inconsistent.
Consistency, not perfection, is how to become your best self, even with cheats.
Remove. Replace. Restore.
Remove idealism around perfection.
Replace with consistency in making positive lifestyle choices of eat well, move well, sleep well, and soar on.
Restore living your best life.
Eat Well. Move Well. Sleep Well. Soar On.
Dr Carolyn Dolan DPT, Cert MDT, MSHN
Where physical therapy, nutrition and lifestyle meet, because how you live your life determines whether or not you soar. Inspiring action with information so you can reduce pain, optimize healing and improve function naturally during recovery from injury, surgery or painful condition. This is a website for the open-minded; obstinate need not apply.