Who’s hardcore?

A friend paid me a huge compliment today – she commented on my “Paleo pregnancy” and said that while she wasn’t as ‘hardcore’ as me, she was inspired by me to make her own healthy choices in her pregnancy.

I was honestly taken aback. Hardcore? Me? The first thing I had to do was set her straight; I was nowhere near hardcore during my pregnancy. Now, at just over 38 weeks, I eat dairy daily. I indulge in ice cream and potato chips. I have a couple of decaf lattes each week. I felt uncomfortable with her thinking I was living a picture of Paleo-perfection.

But then, as I began thinking about what Paleo means to me – using the Paleo framework to make the best choices possible for your own goals and your own body – it occurred to me that maybe I am just a teeny, tiny bit hardcore.

No, my choices don’t line up with the “Eat/Don’t Eat” lists you’ll see on every Paleo website – but, I feel great about them. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are all made at home with protein and vegetables as the core of the meal. The dairy I eat is either a garnish for an otherwise completely Paleo meal, or is a dairy choice that has other health benefits – such as Greek yogurt. The ice cream? Homemade by my talented husband and uses fresh fruit and palm sugar as sweetener. Yes, the potato chips are store bought, yet are organic, gluten-free, and contain only ingredients I could find in my own kitchen. The lattes are probably the only item on my ‘treat’ list that I feel the smallest bit of guilt about…and that’s more because they cost $5 than anything else! I look forward to the day, post-breastfeeding, when I can enjoy some really good, strong black coffee again.

Despite these regular indulgences that take me away from picture-perfect-Paleo, my pregnancy has been remarkably different than my previous one, which was 5 years ago in my pre-Paleo days. Despite being 5 years older, and starting at more-or-less the same weight, I’ve experienced:

- No heartburn
- No edema
- No high blood-pressure
- No terrible back pain
- More energy & better mood overall
- One third the weight gain that I had last time. ONE THIRD!

I still have two weeks to go (or more, depending on when Baby decides to arrive), and of course things like edema and high-blood pressure could rear their ugly heads – but even if they do, I know, deep down, that I’ve given this baby the best shot I could have by making choices that were good for my body and my soul.

And I guess that is pretty hardcore.

SchoolOfRock_hardcore

A Means To What End?

Paleo is a means to an end, but the end is for you to decide. Having said that, if other peoples’ ends and what they call Paleo make you uncomfortable, you probably haven’t really settled on an end that would make you happy.

 

I’m an EPLifefit member, and the coach there, Jason Seib, said that to me about a week ago in a discussion we were having about not being ‘all the way’ Paleo. It really hit home, because I haven’t ever formalized in my head what my ‘end’ is. What am I really trying to achieve…and not just with the way I eat, but with the way I live? To me, they aren’t disconnected.

What do I really want? I say:

“I want to be healthy”, which is true. But how does that manifest itself for me? What is my health end goal?

“I want to be strong”. Yes. But I’ve never quantified strength.

“I want to be fit”. What does that even mean?

While I feel very content in not being hung up an aesthetic or externally motivated goals (I love my body, no matter it’s size and shape), I’ve come to realize that without understanding what health, strength, and fitness really mean to me, they will always be nebulous, and when a goal is nebulous it’s very easy to make compromises as you work towards it.

It’s time to set some concrete goals; goals that are measurable and achievable, goals that will force me to understand the impact of any compromise. Some of these are long-term, but most are short-term, and I will revise them once I reach them.

Health goal: Put my kidney disease back into remission. Eliminate my back pain. Eliminate my frequent headaches.

Strength goal: Do 10 full push-ups, 10 sit-ups, and 10 squats. All with perfect form.

Fitness goal: Take the stairs to my 4th floor office and not be winded.

Even as I write this, a whining voice in the back of my head is saying “but what is ‘the end’”? What will make me truly happy? I called this blog my path to whole health and happiness. I think that perhaps part of my path is discovering what whole health and happiness is, and that discovery, I suspect, is a goal all unto itself.