Saturday, 14 July 2012

I'm Not Perfect...

I'm not perfect, and neither is anyone else. We're all human. Even our paleo-blogging gurus.

The other day, in a few moments of "OMG, I'm starving", I devoured 3 Source-brand yogurts. Yea. Those little guys. I think it was a mixed berry flavour, then peach, then raspberry. Now, for commercial flavoured yogurt, it could get a lot worse. Sure, its fat-free and uses splenda to sweeten. But it's also full of active bacterial cultures and low-carb/high protein when compared to other yogurts. I could have done far worse. Around here, all greek yogurts are fat free and loaded with sugar, so even though greek yogurt is supposed to be the best choice, its just not, not here, anyways.  I was hungry. It happens.

Matter of fact, I had a particularily bad month where my "treats" were coming way too frequently--and we all know that sweet craves sweet, right? Its a cycle I'm currently trying to remedy to get back on-track and in-control.  It had gotten a little out of hand, despite them all being paleo treats.

There's a funny misconception out there that all those paleo blogging gurus are lean and hard-bodied and perfect in every way. Ok, so maybe Mark Sisson, who like the guy on Dos Equis beer commercials, runs on the beach not because he has to but because he wants to--maybe he is perfect and has rock-hard abs. And so does Robb Wolf. And for that matter, Sarah Fragoso, too (how did she have 3 kids with those perfect abs? I will never understand the difference between why my belly looks like it does and hers looks like it does, sigh...) But there are also a lot of other fabulous paleo bloggers out there who are not perfect, and instead are just normal people trying to do right, trying to be healthy, trying to heal various health issues and help others along the way.

They're not perfect. Nor should they have to be. Case in point, Stacey from Paleo Parents was recently chastized for her choice to eat corn in a restaurant. Juli of PaleOMG had quite a few non-paleo alcohol-filled beverages on the 4th of July and some non-paleo treats, Mark and Robb admit to eating rice on occasion. It's all about doing what you can when you can, and forgiving yourself for the not-so-great choices you make on those off-moments. There's no perfection necessary.  I've heard self-conscious body comments from Wellness Mama, The Clothes make the Girl, The Paleo Mom, Cave Girl Eats...the list can go on and on, but you get my point, right?

6 months into my paleo journey, and with braces
The problem is not that overtly zealous paleo peeps chastize them (ok, that is a problem, too, but not my point here).  The problem is that we perceive all these paleo-blogging people as perfect and when we do that, we perceive ourselves as less worthy, less successful and embarrassed about our own less-than-perfect bodies.  We all want a piece of that perfect body pie, but surprisingly few of us get it.  That doesn't particularily shock me.  Less than 2% of the population can eat from that pie.  What really shocks me is that no one is showing photographic evidence that this is the truth. 

Have you noticed that many paleo bloggers are afraid to put pictures of themselves on their blogs--or that they only show upper body shots? They're afraid that you (and me) will judge them, will call them faleos or otherwise criticize them. I for one won't. I wish that everyone would adopt an "eyes wide open" stance and show everything. Let it all hang out there.  Let the world see what real, healthy bodies should look like and wear those scars and stretch marks with badges of honour.  If all of us showed ourselves with all of our "flaws" apparent, then I think the whole paleo movement would become less intimidating and more reachable. People deserve to know that paleo does not suddenly make them that perfect 2%--but rather it brings them a long way from unhealthy to more healthy. We do not turn into Scarlett Johanssen.  But we do change and improve.

Check out this photo, taken earlier this year. I'm wearing a hat in almost every pic ever taken of me outside over this past decade.  It's really unflattering.  I'm laughing at my son, who can't seem to find the coordination to find his way through the rope obstacle in the childs playground. I am always laughing or speaking when people take pics of me. Its never flattering, but its true because I never shut up.  It is an honest representation.  I always make that face.  I should stop making that face.

I have begun posting more and more pics of myself on my Facebook fan page.  They aren't flattering.  I am horribly unphotogenic.  I haven't gone from 150 lbs to 110.  No, actually, I've gone from 132 to 120 to 128 and I've kinda settled in here.  I've built muscle.  I've sweated for those abs.  So I'm not going to hide behind my food pictures.  I'm going to show that despite all the work I've done, I still have a post-baby belly.  Heck, I'm 41 and I have more than a few grey hairs on my head.  But despite my flaws, I think I'm doing ok.  I don't look like the women in magazine spreads and I don't look like Sarah Fragoso.  But if I look around me, at the real people who surround me every day, I think I'm doing pretty damn good.

I would love to see many, many more pics from all of my favorite paleo bloggers.  I want to see their faces from every angle.  I want to see them enough to truly recognize them, to be as familiar with those faces as we are with our friends faces so that when we cross paths on the street (and maybe one of us is scarfing down an enormous ice cream cone), we can say "hi, how've you been?" as if we are old friends.  If the intent of blogging all things paleo is to build a community (that is very much my purpose in blogging) then we should make our faces more visible to the community.  I want this movement to be all-inclusive.  I want people to feel like they fit in and they are just as successful as the guy standing next to them.  I want this paleo movement to be about great health from the inside out, and not about the outside body results.  I wish everyone could be less self-conscious and just come on out and join us and have some fun already.  Life is short; it's not about the finish line, its about the journey getting there.

Now, take a seriously good look at these shots.  They were taken a couple of weekends ago, at the cottage, the morning after several beer were consumed.  I had seriously considered NOT posting the pics because my belly is ridiculously bloated.  Because my butt is not my best feature.  Because my hair is frizzy.  Because I'm not at my skinniest.  But then I thought, you know what?  This is how I look.  Really.  And perfect body or not, I got out there and had a lot of fun in my teenie, weenie polka dot bikini.  And I just didn't care how I looked.  Because I was having fun.  And that's why I turned to paleo in the first place.  So that I would be fit enough to have fun.  Doing anything I wanted to.
  And I do.

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