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The Rules...but who sets them?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

So I am looking at this website called "100 days of real food." It's the story of a family who decided to cut out all processed foods for 100 days, and then decided to share their story and helpful information with others who might be interested in doing it too. Here's what they did:


The thing that really got to me about it was the comments. There are TONS of them, and they're all from people looking for permission or justification or to argue. "Is Stevia OK? Is this OK? I have an allergy to _____. Can I substitute _______? Don't you know that Triscuits are made with GMO wheat? How can you recommend them?"

Why is everyone so desperate to find one list that is the 'right' one? Foods you CAN eat, foods you CAN'T eat. Exercise that is the RIGHT exercise. Magic Vitamins. Permission to give into their vices.

This is a blog about ONE family's journey. They weren't making the rules for anyone else to live by, just shared them b/c they thought it might help some people. They know no more about the subject than does anyone else who has used their common sense, research skills, and experience to attempt to live this way.

My point is, it seems as though there is so much fear and uncertainty and anger when it comes to food and nutrition, exercise and healthy living. Why? Why is it so scary? Why is it a hot-button issue when someone else is doing two hours of hot yoga a day...or glued to the couch every night after work? What is it about improving our lives that makes us think we know what other people should do to improve theirs...or that makes other people think that we have the answers for them?

NO ONE has the magic answer that will fit all situations, solve all the problems, make everyone slim and fit and happy and gorgeous. YOU might have the answers as to what will work for you, or maybe you don't have them yet, but I'll bet you have the tools to get them!

I realize there's a plethora of information to wade through. But I think a big problem is that so many of us are waiting for someone else to give us the answers. With books and libraries and the internet, we have more information available to us than ever before. All it takes is a little common sense, and the time and patience to figure out what is important to us, what works for us, and what we want to spend our time, money and attention on.

What I'm interested in, as far as eating and using my body, and living a happy and healthy life, shouldn't really have an impact on other people working on improving their life journey. It's great to meet people, online and IRL, that have similar goals or interests or experiences. The mistake we make is when we start thinking that those other people have the answers for us.
They might be able to share information in a way that helps us, but no one can REALLY walk a mile in our shoes. We have to make the journey for ourselves, make up the rules as we go along, and give ourselves permission to seek out what matters to us, to live in a way that makes us happy.

That's what it all comes down to anyway, in my opinion - the pursuit of happiness. I won't be happier if I do an army-style regimental training to force myself down to 125 lbs (though some people might be, and that's OK for them!). I won't necessarily be happier if I live to 105 years old or make a million dollars next year. Those aren't the goals I find to be important in living my life. I WILL be happier if, like Thoreau, I live my life deliberately, and thoughtfully, and honestly.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Exactly. If a gym makes you stressed or uncomfortable or makes your life more complicated, why should you have to go? Just because it works for someone else? That doesn't mean that it will work for you, or even that it should.

    I'm the first to admit that in the past, when I would get excited about my weight loss or getting fit, I would tell like EVERYONE. My mom, my hubby, my co-workers. Looking back, I'm sure I've gotten really annoying with it from time to time (my husband has flat out told me, so I know this is true. :P ). Even the people closest to me have their own stuff to deal with, and aren't going to follow (or want to follow) the same path I'm on. I understand that now.

    I also understand that while I can find tools that will help me (like, I can't expect it to work the same way for someone else that it does for me. The Flylady has routines for cleaning and organization, but I have to tweak them so that they work in my life. No one else can spell out exactly what I need to do to succeed in anything. I have to figure things out for myself - and so does everyone else.
    1837 days ago
  • WINGLESS98465
    I got into a discussion yesterday at work, with a coworker and a customer. The coworker joined the gym that's a couple doors down from our store, and the customer is both a shopper with us and a gym member there. The coworker and I were working several registers apart, so this conversation had to be conducted at a rather loud volume. Essentially, I felt ambushed. My coworker began with "Have you ever thought of joining a gym?" and it went from there. I started with a simple "Nope, don't like gyms. I had one I was at a long time ago, but I don't like them overall" and thought that should be good enough. But no. Other comments: "Oh you're just like my sister: Nobody will tell me what to do" "It's about accountability" I love learning about all different perspectives, incorporating ideas that I feel will work for me, and getting rid of the ones that don't.

    However, that's not the "right" way to lose weight. I have to join a gym that smells bad and is always hot and steamy. It's next to work, so I'd basically *have* to go before clocking in each day and lug showering supplies and work clothes. I have to follow the advice of my *randomly* assigned personal trainer as if s/he's God.

    I'm sick of such hard-and-fast rules, too. That's why I'm on SP. I can disagree here, and it's fine. We've got hundreds of different plans, and they're all great. We have people like me making it up as we go, and that's great. Because the part that ACTUALLY matters is that you eat healthier and move more. Who cares how you do it? Thank you for your post. It felt good to see someone else as irritated with this.
    1837 days ago
    Tracy, I love hats! I have an abnormally large head (it's a family trait) so I know what you mean! emoticon

    Happy early birthday by the way!
    1837 days ago
    You are exactly right! We all must find our own path in life. I know (particularly in hat shopping lol) that one size does not fit all. ~Tracy
    1837 days ago
    Exactly Libby! Fast-food advice - I love that! I think maybe when we give other people the power by thinking they have the answers, we can also blame them when we fall off the wagon or fail at a program, rather than blaming ourselves.
    1837 days ago
    thanks for the link - and loved your observations that came from the comments. Think also that people nowadays are used to fast-food everything - including advice?
    1837 days ago
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