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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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April 04, 2013

8 Ways to Cultivate Health Integrity

By Mark Sisson
103 Comments

Health IntegrityIn last week’s post “Why Health Integrity Matters,” I suggested that owning your own health journey comes down to willingness – how willing you are to accept full responsibility for each choice you make. I appreciated everyone’s comments and – as always – loved to see how people extended the idea with their own experiences, wisdom, and admissions. Quite a few declared it was a post meant for them and where they were in their personal journey. For various reasons, they needed the reboot, so to speak. I imagine we’re all there at some point – at the skeptical beginnings of major changes, the less than stellar times we lose our footing or the crises of confidence that can settle in when we’re going through a rough patch of life. How do we cultivate health integrity? Let me offer some thoughts – some wholly practical and a couple a little unorthodox. I hope you’ll add your own additions to the list.

Make an excuse board.

Put it all out there – every last whine, reason and justification you use for not living healthily. Make columns for eating crap, chronically skipping exercise (everyone legitimately needs rest days), going to bed late, drinking too much, stressing yourself sick, etc. Every time you use one of those excuses, give yourself a gold star next to it. At the end of the week/month, see how much you’ve excelled at cheating yourself. Harsh, yes, but effective.

Accept your own resistance.

Let’s not gloss over the fact: there are times when we don’t feel like showing up for ourselves. Every one of us probably would pin a different reason on that one, but we’ve all been there. For some, it comes out in our health related choices. For others, it can take a different form (e.g. money, alcohol, etc.). But here’s the rub. We don’t have to like “showing up.” Seriously. You don’t always have to relish making the healthy choice. If you’re generally living well – eating Primally, moving frequently, challenging yourself enjoyably, sleeping soundly, destressing regularly – you know the benefits. Likewise, if you’ve ever backslid – by choice or circumstance – you also know how much you can pay a price. Still, we move through however many moods and challenges each day. Accept that you’re going to be more willing some times than others, but still stick with your basic intention.

Deal with serious underlying issues.

Sometimes there are deep and difficult reasons behind our tendencies toward self-sabotage. Be honest with yourself about the internalized messages and ongoing compulsions that keep weighing you down. Get the help you need to sort it out, and grant yourself permission to believe you’re capable of a better life. Surround yourself with the support and engage in the self care you need to see yourself differently. Accept that it may be a life long commitment and not a single “fix.” While it’s not your fault you were left with the baggage, it’s a choice whether you let it hang around your neck each day.

Plan for your weaknesses.

Keep some Primal worthy snacks at work for the days you have to work late. Put a list of last-minute simple recipes on the fridge for mornings you don’t have time to make what you’d planned. Don’t let the weekend pass without cooking your stash of meat and chopping veggies if you know it means you’re setting yourself up for failure come Monday’s dinner. Keep up on your life enough that you’re not testing yourself unnecessarily. Some things won’t rattle you. Other things will. Be mindful of what will, and be preemptive however you reasonably can.

Accept that you can’t plan for everything.

As good as it is to plan and prepare, it’s important to not make the journey one massive control trip. Loosen up, lighten up, and cultivate enough self-possession that you don’t go nuclear if you forget your lunch one day.

Track your day.

It’s hard to argue with hard numbers. Seeing the concrete rundown of all you’ve done (or not done) in a day can be affirming – or sobering. Either way, you’re facing empirical fact, and that’s a level of accountability itself. There are numerous programs and gadgets you can use to do this: everything from pedometers to sleep monitors, FitDay to the CHRON-O-Meter.

Partner or team up.

It can be easy to skip an open ended group like a run club (not that they aren’t great for other reasons). Skip your team’s basketball match-up with a rival office, however, and you’re gonna hear about it. Likewise, you wouldn’t leave a friend hanging by herself ready for your a.m. run at the park while you hit the snooze for the fourth time.

Write letters to yourself.

I’ve mentioned before an old friend who used to leave notes for himself that aren’t suitable for a general audience. As severe as they were, it was his brand of motivation. I’m not suggesting leaving profanity laced post-its around your home (especially if you have children), but write two letters to yourself and keep them where you can either see them or easily find them. Keep a copy at work or in your inbox. One is to congratulate yourself on taking care of yourself (e.g. “Thank you for not feeding me those awful sugar bomb donuts Phyllis always leaves in the break room. And, by the way, there’s always dog hair on them.). Put a picture of yourself happy and healthy in the letter. For extra emotional tug, put the kids in there, too. Make the other letter a “plead your own case” letter. Make it as imploring, guilt-inspiring, or ruthless as befits your personality. Attach the label of the prescription drug you finally got yourself off of or an old picture you’d rather not remember. If you’re tempted to stay up late for the third night playing Candy Crush on Facebook (No, I do not play this.) or eat the bag of Doritos your brother-in-law left in the cabinet at his last visit, it will be your job to read this letter. You’ll know what you need to say.

So, let me turn this topic over to you. How do you cultivate self-honesty and responsibility in your Primal life? Share your thoughts, reflections, and good humor. Have a great end to the week, everybody.

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103 Comments on "8 Ways to Cultivate Health Integrity"

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Nick
3 years 5 months ago

In my personal experience planning for weakness is a tried and true approach. If I don’t, it presents a lot more stress then the little amount of time sent planning would ever cause.

Scratch
Scratch
3 years 5 months ago

Amen. Make your plans and preparations when you’re feeling strong in your convictions, so that it’s easier to make the healthier choice when you are not feeling so strong.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 5 months ago

The anti gold star chart, love it! Ranks up there with an idea I have for dis-invitation cards. Dis-invitation cards are given to people you do not want crashing your party because you did not invite them but they learned about it via word of mouth. Let them know upfront!

bjjcaveman
3 years 5 months ago

harsh… but effective…

you can make it even more convenient by setting up an e-uninvite

PrimalParkGirl
3 years 5 months ago

I find spending time with people who have similar goals but slightly different implementation (paleo/primal meetup group folks or online) is really helpful for because it both motivates and challenges me regarding my decisions.

Harry Mossman
3 years 5 months ago

Good stuff. I read in the paper today that dementia is expected to double by 2030. Add the skyrocketing of diabetes and other largely preventable diseases. Seriously, the Primal Blueprint is a strategic line of defense against disaster.

Rob Harrison
3 years 5 months ago

Funny you mention disaster. As an emergency responder, the thought flashed through my mind about all the primal folks, and what their abilities after a disaster compared to the abilities of others to survive. Having a higher grade of health I think lends itself to the ability to survive longer without a good supply source, and I also think it lends itself to a higher degree of innovative thinking to meet the needs. I’m glad I made the decision to move into this lifestyle.

Harry Mossman
3 years 5 months ago

Oh, I agree. I think we will survive even in the midst of widespread poverty, ever more frequent natural disasters, senility, chaos, etc. etc. but it would be wonderful if enough millions of people when Primal to avoid those disasters.

Marc
3 years 5 months ago

After the last post i wish you would have added to this great post :

Dont worry about validating your own experiences TO OTHERS that work great for YOU.

Thanks to amrks daily apple and many others, all the qualityinfo you need is outthere to live a much much bettter existance than most.

Would you rather be right……or happy?
Marc

Primal V
Primal V
3 years 5 months ago

I’m pretty sure I’m right AND happy 🙂

Lindsay
Lindsay
3 years 5 months ago

+1!

BonzoGal
BonzoGal
3 years 5 months ago

+1!!! Bravo!

Alisa
Alisa
3 years 5 months ago

I had just finished reading the article below when I saw your phrase “worry ourselves sick”, and thought the coincidence was too good not to share:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/04/the-nocebo-effect-how-we-worry-ourselves-sick.html

Nikki
Nikki
3 years 5 months ago
MyFitnessPal! While being Primal has changed my life for the better, I will never be one of those people who does not have to watch their calories. I’m a 5’3”, 126lbs teacher. My husband is 6 feet tall, 170 lbs, and active all day. I can out-eat him with ease. And it’s fun. The overly-stuffed feeling that I know is coming afterward is not enough to stop me (I think I starved to death in a past life). I need something to answer to, and MyFitnessPal (app) acts as my checks and balances. Watching the scale creep up is tough,… Read more »
Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 5 months ago

Is that a gluten and sugar free “pie” chart?

Sambo712
Sambo712
3 years 5 months ago

I find that the more people I tell about my resolutions the more strict I am with myself. I spent the last weekend with my family in the mountains, and they are practically the antithesis to paleo. I told them all that I was going to maintain my diet, but that I would allow myself indulgence X, X and X, so if I went overboard everyone would put on their judgmental faces.

This really helped me maintain my integrity in the face of Easter chocolate and mom’s home made cookies.

Kelda
Kelda
3 years 5 months ago
Mindfulness has been my saving, cultivating an attitude of being present and of really noticing and welcoming aboard (my bus) all aspects of myself, good and bad, but still driving in the direction I want; not being diverted by the greedy me, the needy me, the really can’t be bothered me. I’ve noticed that by acknowledging and welcoming them aboard they no longer have the hold over me like trying hard to out run them, deny them, or throw them off the bus; because those activities simply distract you from going where you want to go and use up valuable… Read more »
KWM
KWM
3 years 5 months ago

Most Excellent. Thanks for the re-minder. When I am self-possessed enough to practice morning breathing meditation, even if only for 5 minutes, everything in my day flows better. One of my “I deserve this” excuses is I WANT TO BE MINDLESS! (Picture 2 year old having tantrum.)

tkm
tkm
3 years 5 months ago
In my experience, the most important step to take in any personal growth/improvement program is to increase your self-love first, or at least concurrently. Without sufficient self-esteem, we approach improvement from a place of judgement and lack, and it’s hard to take pleasure in it, much less succeed, whereas with a healthy sense of self worth, we can assess our weaknesses honestly, have fun with the challenges inherent in the growth process, and ultimately succeed. Approaching personal improvement from a place of self-love is win-win: you enjoy the process and the result; doing it from a place of low self-esteem… Read more »
Stacie
3 years 5 months ago
Self-worth is a HUGE factor. I remember in my teens wanting to lose weight for every reason under the sun EXCEPT for me and because I deserved it. It was always to fit into a smaller size or so the boys would like me or so I could fit in with the right crowd. After high school and even after college, I finally made myself worth it. And bam, my mentality toward health completely changed and I dropped 40 pounds in 6 months. I still have weight to lose, but I’m less stressed over it and I’m doing it for… Read more »
Kelda
Kelda
3 years 5 months ago

Totally agree. Understanding why you don’t value and love yourself is the crux to successful, permanent behaviour change and an area over-looked by just about every self-improvement ‘system’ out there. Willpower and strategies are not enough for many.

Finding out why you don’t value/love yourself, consider yourself worthy of health takes courage and often the support of talking therapies.

I’ve just read Geneen Roth’s Women Food and God – she gets it!

AriaDream
AriaDream
3 years 5 months ago

Plan for your weaknesses is a good one. When I go to the office, I KNOW I’ll be tempted by doughnuts and cake, so I usually make some gluten free treats for me and whoever wants them. They’re still not good, but they take away my cravings for the really ucky stuff.

Siren
Siren
3 years 5 months ago
This literally made me burst into tears, right at my desk at work. I can’t even begin to describe all the awful, frustrating things I’ve been through in the last 12 months, but needless to say, they have not changed. Living Primally used to be my reason for living; these days it feels more like a burden: all the shopping, the cooking, the planning, the guilt when I don’t work out, or fall asleep watching TV- again… it just doesn’t end. I’m ALMOST ready to call it quits and go back to the SAD. I was overweight, but I was… Read more »
Amy
Amy
3 years 5 months ago
You were overweight but you were happy??? Hmm…me thinks if you went back and time and talked that person you might discover that you really weren’t that happy then either. Here’s the real lesson of Primal: you need to let go of food as a means to happiness. Food is nutrition, not reward, not punishment. You’re not there yet because you’re thinking that SAD will solve your problems. It won’t. It will just make you more tired and sick. In other words, Primal doesn’t create happiness. It directly feeds the the happiness you are creating for yourself. You are worth… Read more »
Siren
Siren
3 years 5 months ago
Thank you, Amy. What I meant by saying I was happy was that I didn’t have the digestive issues I have now. I’ve been in & out of the gastroenterologist’s office since last March, been through numerous tests and procedures, and nothing has come up. My doc thinks it’s SIBO, which it may well be, but I don’t have the ability to solve it right now. When I was on the SAD, I had some problems but not many, and they were only occasional. I have pain, cramping, bloating, and distention daily, after every meal, no matter what I eat.… Read more »
Kevin Hood
Kevin Hood
3 years 5 months ago
Hi, it’s possible you have Candidiasis. Which means two things. You’re diet needs to be even more strict than it is now -and- it’s going to get worse before it gets better. I know mark doesn’t like advertising here but I think this website could potentionally help as it has helped me over the past two and a half years. I actually had no idea about “the primal diet” for the majority of the past couple years dealing with candidiasis. I just happen to find out later that what I was eating to heal myself was pretty similar to the… Read more »
Amy
Amy
3 years 5 months ago
Siren – Ah, that does make more sense. 🙂 Consider this: your autoimmune problems might be much, much worse on SAD then a Paleo diet. It’s hard to tell if the diet change alone is causing the problems without other evidence. In my 30th year, I found I couldn’t “play around” with what I ate, as I had done in the past. Even time alone is enough to create changes in your body. Paleo can improve your situation, but it’s not a cure-all. If you have caught some sort of virus since going Paleo that caused this condition then no… Read more »
anabelle
anabelle
3 years 5 months ago
Oh, Siren, my heart goes out for you. It sounds like you are just overwhelmed. Trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle is just part of the overall picture, and everything feeds back into health and happiness. You need to start generating some positive feedback. Maybe promise yourself that you will do 1 thing you know is good/healthy, an easy thing, like take a walk after dinner, no matter the weather, 5 days a week. If you have to let other things slide (buying conventional meat, for example- we can’t afford grass-fed/organic all the time, either) for a while, do it.… Read more »
Siren
Siren
3 years 5 months ago
Thank you, Anabelle. I am overwhelmed: personally, financially, mentally, emotionally… There are other issues going on that I’d rather not discuss here, but in a nutshell, I understand the value of positive feedback, but it’s tough to make any when everything feels so negative. I’ve made several dietary changes as far as food quality goes. I live with my mom and she pays for our food, but when the Bush-era tax cuts disappeared, she lost a lot of her monthly paycheck. I’m paying my fair share of the groceries now, but it’s had a major impact on my savings. That’s… Read more »
Thomas
Thomas
3 years 5 months ago

Wish I had all the answers, I guess I do, just not willing to be honest with myself. I am always starting over cause my commitment never holds. As is said by many “find the BIG WHY”. Like so many of us still searching.

River Song
River Song
3 years 5 months ago
Siren, I went through a very bad time when I was in my early 30s that I got myself out of just by making up my mind to call a truce with myself. I would not say anything negative to myself anymore, no matter what. It really helped a lot. You also need to accept your weakness, and not criticise yourself for it. If you are ill with SIBO (been there), all you really need is to get yourself some cabbage and make your own sauerkraut, that with kefir (you can buy the grains and cultivate it yourself) will sort… Read more »
Bryan W
Bryan W
3 years 5 months ago
There’s a reason why we shoot for 80/20 – and this is it. Don’t go for perfection if its making things worse to try and be perfect. I don’t buy grassfed meats because I can’t afford it, I just don’t worry about it (I do buy grassfed butter tho, yum! And I just found brown eggs at my farmers market for cheaper than conventional eggs! w00t!). If I don’t feel like working out today I don’t, and I don’t worry about it. I do the best I can and so far that has been enough to get amazing results. That… Read more »
Siren
Siren
3 years 5 months ago
Thank you, Bryan. I don’t necessarily strive for perfection; skipping one day’s workout, sure, but 10? 30? 90? Not so much. If you read my replies to Amy, you’ll see that I’ve been sick with digestive problems for over a year. It’s affected my sleep and my energy levels, so most days I don’t even have the energy to workout. I can barely walk to & from the ladies’ room at work without feeling exhausted. Also, I believe because of my possible SIBO, I’ve developed a mild case of germ phobia. Granted, the fear is self-induced, but it’s no less… Read more »
Kai
Kai
3 years 5 months ago
Siren, I want to find a way to hug through the internet just for you! Cut yourself some slack – there’s no such thing as paleo-perfect. Just do the best you can. If grass-fed is too expensive to buy all the time, buy it when you can and buy what you can afford the rest of the time. So long as you are staying out of the aisles with the processed “food” products, you are still eating healthier than you were before. If the planning and shopping are a burden, find a paleo cookbook with pre-planned meals (there are dozens… Read more »
Siren
Siren
3 years 5 months ago
Thank you, Kai. It’s not so much the planning or the shopping- that’s the fun part. =) It’s the actual cooking, and the clean-up afterwards. I’m the only one in my house that does both, and, if you read my previous replies, being sick for as long as I have has really taken the energy and drive out of me. And you’re right; I can’t un-know what I know, which is why I’ve sworn off gluten, soy, and corn for life. But you know what they say: ignorance is bliss. Not that I want to be unaware of the lifelong… Read more »
George
George
3 years 5 months ago
Well, you have begun step one I see, making the Excuse Board. Simplify things by thinking of your health as nutrition, exercise, sleep and de-stressing. Is it really that much harder eating veggies, leafy greens, eggs, meat, nuts etc. than high carb crap? Can you do some walking, stretching, light band work, yoga? Can you take a hot bath at night, listen to some relaxing music, some kind of routine before you get to bed at a decent hour rather than staring at the TV all night? Take three to five minutes each morning to write out your goals for… Read more »
Siren
Siren
3 years 5 months ago
Excuse Board: check. But if you’ve truly suffered from depression, you know it’s not just about “thinking positive.” The mind & heart are more than willing; it’s the body that won’t follow suit. I’m sick, and I don’t know why or how to fix it. Even my doctor doesn’t know. As for the food, no, it’s not “harder,” it’s more time-consuming, and there’s a lot more work involved. And no, I don’t actually have time to do any of those things before bed or in the morning because I work 10 hour days. Believe me, I want change. I NEED… Read more »
Sunny
Sunny
3 years 5 months ago

Hmmm…. so are you suffering from depression then? I would definitely dial back the work hours if at all possible, 10 hours a day is too much to be working.
Also if you have depression then you might want to look into something like Acupunture or St. John’s Wart or even a conventional medication if the first don’t work for you?
I would start with an Acupuncturist, they are also trained in herbal remedies.

Siren
Siren
3 years 5 months ago

Hi Sunny,

I know I’ve got some kind of depression going on, but I can’t afford to work less. I’m already paycheck to paycheck. My insurance will cover acupuncture, but only 40% if it’s not prescribed by a doctor. I can’t afford to pick up the gap- again, money is a big part of my problems. I’ve tried a few alternatives, but either there’s no effect or they wear off and the blues come back. It’s a vicious cycle…

George
George
3 years 5 months ago
My lifestyle is killing me but I can’t change it. You counter every bit of advice and encouragement with an excuse as to why you MUST and WILL continue to suffer. Tell your boss starting next week you are going to work 8 hours daily, not 10. Go to a well known, competent internist and have a complete examination done. Go to this site, I hold Dr. Teitelbaum in high regard for his over thirty years of work finding ways to combat chronic fatigue: http://www.endfatigue.com/ I don’t think “positive thinking” is the answer to everything, but as a software engineer… Read more »
Sunny
Sunny
3 years 5 months ago
George is right, You need to do whatever you need to do to take care of you. When I realized I needed to dial back the work hours, I planted an organic garden so that I could save money on food. This is your mental health and it’s very important. Life is not about money and sometimes we need to let go of things that we think we “need” There’s a blog… I think it’s called “the simple dollar” He has some ideas on little things you can do to save money here and there.. Every little penny adds up.… Read more »
Sunny
Sunny
3 years 5 months ago
One more thing about Acupuncture, lol I know I’m going on about it but it’s really helped me out with stress and anxiety in my life. If you cannot get referred then find out if their are any colleges in your area that teach acupuncture. You can get treatment REALLY CHEAP their. Make sure you read reviews and all because these are students that were talking about. But as a last resort it’s at least something. I go to one that’s a bit of a drive from my house but they only charge five measly dollars and i’ve never had… Read more »
Rokzane
Rokzane
3 years 5 months ago
Seek out a Community Acupuncture Center in your area. They usually have sliding scale fees that make it very affordable. I go to one twice a month and pay $20 a session. Patients w/ IBS like problems can get a lot of relief and support w/ accupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. I myself work A LOT. I work two jobs because circumstances demand it (my husband and I went through a natural disaster 3 years ago and we’re still climbing out of the financial burden of it), but I’m still able to maintain my primal lifestyle much of the time.… Read more »
Sunny
Sunny
3 years 5 months ago
Siren, I am sorry you are experiencing discouragement. I understand what you’re describing. It’s hard to cook all day when you have work and other responsibilities. I hvae work school and kids and somedays I find myself running through the drive thru to order a low carb burger and then theirs the guilt. It can be tough. I have a few suggestions that I hope will work for you: -Going primal is not the answer to all your life’s problems so if you are experiencing depression that has persisted you might want to talk to a doctor. I have had… Read more »
Heather
Heather
3 years 5 months ago

Wow I hope Siren comes back and reads all these loving responses, well done crew, you are all such hopeful and thoughtful people, you light up my day!

Sharon T
Sharon T
3 years 5 months ago
MDA has an awesome community and your answers to Siren have helped me as well. Siren, I hope you read and take the advice to heart. I used to constantly worry about buying the best of the best in terms of meat/produce, even knowing I could not always afford it. As soon as I realized that I couldn’t always do that, some of the burden lifted. I don’t exercise every day but I do try to move around as much as possible. Walking the dogs, walking to the front of the complex to pick up mail instead of driving, etc… Read more »
Lindsay Coleman
Lindsay Coleman
3 years 5 months ago

+1

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
3 years 5 months ago

+1

Leslie
Leslie
3 years 5 months ago
Sunny, thank you for your comment about taking medicine for your ADD. I was diagnosed last summer, after years of wondering what the hell was wrong with me that I couldn’t ever accomplish anything, and my life changed completely when I started taking Adderall. I don’t even think I have a very severe case, but the difference has been amazing. Even my husband, who thought I was crazy when I said I wanted to go to the doctor (“You don’t have ADD – you just need to organize better and learn to follow through with what you start”), now says… Read more »
Juli
Juli
3 years 5 months ago
There is hope in staying on the path. A year seems like a long time but it’s a great investment in the rest of your life. I developed a serious constant chronic pain problem in 2005 and at the time my life was a complete mess on every front. Every single piece of advice I got made things worse: do this, do that, be a different person yesterday — that’s what it felt like. After some time, I did have the benefit of working with a health psychologist, and I understand that’s not an option for you (although a little… Read more »
Stacie
3 years 5 months ago

Haha! Candy Crush….what a time suck. I’m ashamed to say I played it quite about for about a week, and proud to say I deleted the damn thing when I realized how much time I was spending playing it. I’ve been reading a lot more lately.

Great post, as always. Thanks!

Janine
Janine
3 years 5 months ago
The most meaningful line in today’s blogpost is: “grant yourself permission to believe you’re capable of a better life” Wow..that really sums it up for me. It goes back ot the self worth comment by a previous poster as well, to know that I am worthy enough of being awesome. I am capable of a better life, a healthier life, and I don’t need others to dictate my life for me. It’s hard to live your own life, as many of us, as parents, as caregivers, as sons, daughters, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, live our lives for other people. It’s… Read more »
Tim
Tim
3 years 5 months ago

Janine, have you read Mark’s latest book? There was a section in there about being selfish. The gist is that you need to treat yourself as well as you treat others. I think a lot of us with heavy responsibilities have more than a little martyr in us – willing to put ourselves after everything else. I find – and I’m sure a lot of us do – that the better I treat myself (food, sleep , exercise), the more effective I am in the rest of my life. Always good to remember.

Siren
Siren
3 years 5 months ago
Hi Janine, I TOTALLY understand what you mean. I do all the shopping, cooking, & cleaning, in addition to my full-time job and paying my own bills, even though I live with my mother (who can’t be bothered to bring in the mail, much less sweep the kitchen floor). I’ve been battling a still-unknown illness for over a year, which has turned my whole life upside down. I’m also a parent, though not full-time, and am in a committed relationship. I’ve spent the last 2 years preparing for a “future life” (paying off debt, saving, planning for the ‘what’s next’,… Read more »
Angel
Angel
3 years 5 months ago

My gut problems subsided considerably when the stress in my life subsided considerably. I’ll guess your gut issues are mostly caused by chronic stress. As in, there’s no diet change, medication, therapy, pep talk, etc that will address it – only stress management will reduce stress-induced issues. Stress management could include getting a different job or moving.

Ryan
3 years 5 months ago

I think one of the biggest things I use to keep me on track is a before and after picture, or sorts, that I have from when I was my heaviest (235 pounds in 2006) and a picture I have from when I finished my first 21-day primal blueprint challenge (195 pounds in 2012). Although I only lost 5 pounds during the challenge, my body transformed in ways I never thought was possible for me. The picture is a good reminder of where I was at my worst and where I was after starting Paleo.

trackback

[…] In last week’s post “Why Health Integrity Matters,” I suggested that owning your own health journey comes down to willingness – how willing you are to accept full responsibility for each choice you make. I appreciated everyone’s comments and – as always – loved to see how people extended the idea with their own experiences… Mark’s Daily Apple […]

Rob Harrison
3 years 5 months ago

Anyone here from the Pacific Northwest?

Pam
Pam
3 years 5 months ago

Yep, Snohomish County.

Rob Harrison
3 years 5 months ago

Right across the water! Very good. How goes your experience with Primal?

Pam
Pam
3 years 5 months ago

Loving it! It’s a totally luxurious way to eat, not to mention feeling tip-top.

Lindsay Coleman
Lindsay Coleman
3 years 5 months ago

I’m in Portland!

Rob Harrison
3 years 5 months ago

Right on. My youngest boy lives there.

KWM
KWM
3 years 5 months ago

You Betcha — only I call it The Great NorthWET. I’m now in Goldendale, Washington, but still run down to The Big City (Portland/Metro & Vancouver) every 6 weeks or so for haircut, dry cleaning, shopping, brunch with friends . . .

We are blessed up here, aren’t we?

Rob Harrison
3 years 5 months ago

We are indeed.

Sara
Sara
3 years 5 months ago

I am forever making excuses not to work out! I really like the idea of an excuse board. I’m thinking about trying the 21 day challenge soon. Thanks for the info.

KWM
KWM
3 years 5 months ago

Oh, yeah. Food for me is the easy part. Exercise — sigh. DISMAL. Working on the Excuse Board now. Wonder if I’ll have to order gold stars in bulk from Amazon or something.

Siobhan
Siobhan
3 years 5 months ago

Once again you nailed it, Mark! Thanks for this inspiring and spot-on post.

Sunny
Sunny
3 years 5 months ago

I need some paleo friends… even my husband makes fun of my “bizarre” lifestyle. It can wear on ya. Great post though. I love being primal, it reiterates beliefs i’ve had all my life but now I feel validated.

Susie
Susie
3 years 5 months ago

I went to http://www.meetup.com and searched “paleo chicago” and instantly got a great group of people. This has been a life saver for me as my family is officially sick of hearing about paleo but I just can’t seem to shut up about it!

Casey
Casey
3 years 5 months ago

I have had to accept that I will not be one of the cool people who do primal “right.” I eat primal, lift heavy things, bicycle commute, … but then there’s the wine. Gotta have it. And I’m not talking a glass a day. I could wallpaper my house in gold stars. But otherwise I am healthy as a horse. My health has improved by leaps and bounds since I stopped eating grains. You do what you can.

Rob Harrison
3 years 5 months ago

I love it!

Juli
Juli
3 years 5 months ago

+1. I just love how you put this. Perspective is a huge part of being healthy, not to mention having a sense of humor!

Rich Wolff
Rich Wolff
3 years 5 months ago

I feel like I battle all of these everyday. It makes it even harder when those around you are so relaxed to their health.

The one item that helps overcome all of these is a strong partner in your journey. Things were easy when I was living near people who believed in all we preach. When I was transferred to a new city, I developed a new social group that had interests outside the primal lifestyle. Immediately, I felt myself fall off the wagon.

Melissa
3 years 5 months ago

I like the idea of excuse board. If you look up at the board each time you don’t feel like working out or staying with your diet you will see that these are not real justifications but mere excuses to get your lazy butt off the couch.

Tao
3 years 5 months ago

I run every morning. To deal with excuses of being tired, and needing to rest occasionally I go put on my shorts and shoes every morning and at least go for a 20 minute walk. If I’m not truly in need of a rest day I always end up running within the first few minutes.

Hassan
3 years 5 months ago
Become a lifestyle Ninja. Understand your lifestyle and put yourself in situations to succeed. For example, I know that it’s nearly impossible for me to workout if I come home after work and sit on the couch. It takes more energy to get me up then completing the workout. So, I go straight to the gym after work and it’s been working great. Know you tendencies and use them to your advantage. “Accept that you can’t plan for everything.” This is by far the most valuable lesson for me. You have to be adaptable and embrace change on the fly.… Read more »
Groktimus Primal
3 years 5 months ago

I like the tip about not going nuclear if something unforseen happens. I try so hard not to let the unforseen surprise me.

Rose
Rose
3 years 5 months ago
I’ve found that the days I least want to go to the barn and take care of the horses turn out to be the times I have the best rides, training break-throughs, or an interesting chat with a friend. If I hadn’t gone as part of my regular routine, I would have missed out on something good–so that’s what I tell myself when I am looking for excuses to stay home. My horses and my yard have been the best motivators for getting regular primal-style exercise that manifests itself in my stronger and healthier body, better trained and conditioned horses,… Read more »
Balaji
Balaji
3 years 5 months ago
The thing to note is that a lot of the unhealthy practices are like opium or smoking addiction. I know many smokers who are well aware of the health implications (more easily demonstratable to smokers compared to what you can do with effect of grains and sugar to people who follow SAD) and yet, they find it very difficult to kick the habit out. Other drug addicts go to clinics, therapies and whole lot more and yet struggle to quit compared to pinning gold stars on a chart. Make no mistake, tactics such as outlined by Mark definitely help. I… Read more »
Ara
Ara
3 years 5 months ago
Yes, but at some point we have to accept that we are grown-ups who need to stop whining and stop making excuses and “just do it, already.” The primal eating is actually the easy part for me. Since going primal I don’t have any cravings whatsoever. It’s not a struggle to resist non-primal foods because my body has been “detoxed” and simply doesn’t crave that stuff. My struggle is with exercise. For some reason I just can’t get motivated to lift, walk, and sprint. But, at some point I need to just decide to be a mature, disciplined, human being… Read more »
Ara
Ara
3 years 5 months ago
I just had an idea while writing my last post. Diane Rehm of NPR recently shared that she had an awful potato chip habit that she couldn’t seem to kick despite her deep desire and attempts to do so. She decided that it takes 21 days to start a new habit so she picked up a calendar and focused each day on resisting the temptation. Each day she crossed the day off her calendar. It was a visual cue that allowed her to reach the 21 days and once she did she found that the cravings subsided and she could… Read more »
Steve
Steve
3 years 5 months ago

Mark, I love the excuse board idea. It’s so obvious when you think about it. The reason most excuses work is that they remain hidden. It’s when you bring them into the light that you can see those stinkers for what they really are.

Sherpa
Sherpa
3 years 5 months ago
Thanks all for your thoughts. This posting is all about removing the idealism / extremism from pursuing physical health which was my secret weapon for success. Thought I’d share a few extras that worked for me. 1. When moving toward my version of healthy diet/workout routines, I made ONE change at a time but stuck to that one change ferociously. That made the shift gently progressive while inducing serious life change. 2. I found that MyFitnessPal was seriously helpful for monitoring my good vs bad food intake. 3. I assign myself WEEKLY, not daily, dietary mandates. For example: 3 desserts… Read more »
trackback
3 years 5 months ago

[…] you make? How do you apply that integrity to your eating and dieting choices? Mark Sisson offers some advice on how to cultivate that so vital integrity into your life. A necessary read for everyone. Mark has […]

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[…] 8 Ways to Cultivate Health Integrity […]

Dave
3 years 5 months ago

One of the things that has helped me most was to learn to measure my progress from where I started and not against some kind of ideal goal. Learn to celebrate your successes along the way and motivation is easy to come by.

Emily
3 years 5 months ago

I love the excuse list! I already track my food and my workouts. I should track what excuses I use to avoid them!

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[…] Take responsibility for your health! Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple talks about 8 Ways to Cultivate Health Integrity. […]

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[…] knew I was having a tough week so he wrote an article about maintaining health integrity.  It reminded me why I’m doing this in the first place and in a very Grok kind of way kicked […]

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[…] 8 ways to cultivate healthy integrity […]

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[…] the option of sitting on the couch all weekend watching a netflix marathon, or we can be outside. Here’s a great article that offers 8 tips on how to take control of your health. The article focuses on a excellent concept; health integrity -an honesty to one’s self, a […]

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[…] 8 Ways to Cultivate Health Integrity – Mark Sisson’s follow-up to last week’s thought provoking “Why Health Integrity Matters” is full of advice for adopting and sticking to a healthy lifestyle that fosters mental and physical wellness. […]

Ben
3 years 5 months ago

Great nickname Sherpa!! I’m not quite there yet but I totally agree to “START PUSHING THOSE WORKOUTS” as no pain no gain right? Though I am at the beginning of my fitness journey i’ve decided to use myfitness pla to monitor my intake while focusing on weekly objectives.

Thanks for the great blog Mark!! I look forward to all the inspirational articles to come.

Marlyn
3 years 5 months ago

It’s really hard to change the habit when you started at young age. These days people are used instant ways. In olden days they cook their own food. today they depend on fast food or restaurant. That’s the big difference. so many people are obese and they blame the food chain. Let us wake up before it’s too late

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[…] that work best for you. Mark Sission has an excellent post on his blog: marksdailyapple.com called “8 Ways to Cultivate Health Integrity” in which he includes 8 ideas that may help you to establish what motivation works best for you. I […]

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[…] Eight Ways to Cultivate Health Integrity *Post thoughts to comments […]

Rohil
3 years 4 months ago

Great post. But what about artchokes? Also, It would not hurt to mention smoke and alchol, too, as factors that make the liver overworked and overloaded.

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[…] a morning routine allows you to assert your own authority over the day. You take charge of your own work-life balance by, in effect, paying yourself first. […]

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[…] Whether it’s a question of food or the proverbial toilet seat, we all have a choice in long-term relationships to stew in a cauldron of resentment and discontent about our partner’s lack of compliance or “good sense.” Alternatively, we can let that $#!% go—really go—and focus on ourselves. […]

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[…] (Here is a cool example of how to do that for one area of your life – your health.) […]

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[…] (Here is a cool example of how to do that for one area of your life – your health.) […]

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[…] each of these shifts with your clients, and appreciate the empowerment that comes from fully owning one’s process—respecting both the external behaviors and the internal attitudes that guide and strengthen […]

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