Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
21 Nov

A Midweek Kick in the Pants

Do it!Every Friday I love highlighting stories about men and women who took the challenge and transformed their lives. Whatever their circumstances (e.g. diabetes, obesity, chronic autoimmune conditions), they grabbed hold of the Primal process and made it their own. Whether they went cold turkey or began in fits and starts, they eventually committed 100% and got the life they wanted. It doesn’t get any better than that. That’s why I wonder so much about folks who come to MDA on a regular basis but never really get so far as to implement the content in their own lives. Whether it’s information about low (or even moderate) carbing, moving frequently, standing workstations, going barefoot or relishing good natural fat, their interest never translates into action.

I’ll call them earnest lurkers. They’re regular readers and enjoy the community here, but somehow the rubber never meets the road. Sound familiar? (No need to slink back in your chair – seriously.) They enjoy what they read, but then they sort of ignore/forget about it and go back to doing the same old thing. So, they come back for more inspiration and a few more ideas. So armed, they muster up a little more resolve but then never quite get things off the ground. It becomes an ongoing passive cycle. Maybe they’re doing some parts right like surrounding themselves with positive influences (e.g. the MDA community) and learning about how to live healthily – Primally. Yet, they never really make the plunge and stay content to dabble.

You’ve of course heard the old saying about “&%@# or get off the pot.” I’m not suggesting anyone stop reading MDA or not look to this forum or other like-minded communities for support and inspiration. However, there’s a certain confusion about one’s intent if you keep coming back for something you never take on. What’s keeping you at a polite (and thoroughly ineffective) distance?

I think people in this situation often run the risk of self-identification by mere association. In other words, you can read about something for so long that you end up feeling like you’re a true blue follower even though you’re more of a passive onlooker. Although I appreciate anyone’s readership, the fact remains that the Primal Blueprint doesn’t happen by osmosis. Ultimately, it’s a crying shame because instead of nodding in agreement, you could be feeling amazing at this very minute. The PB isn’t an intellectual exercise. It’s a blueprint for living, and either you’re living it – or you’re not.

Let me say I’m not picking on anyone. The truth is, I think we all at some point in our lives need a swift kick. For whatever reason there’s a psychic blockage that we can’t snap ourselves out of. After weeks or months or years (or decades) of denial, someone calls us out in a way that first gets our dander up but ultimately shifts the ground enough for real change.

Nor am I talking about unquestioning compliance with every suggested activity.

As someone who devoutly questions authority, I don’t ever encourage obedience just on principle. (That’s why I designed a blueprint and not a regimen.) What I’m talking about is grabbing the ball and running with it instead of sitting in the stands time and again watching it go from place to place – observing other people’s game instead of pursuing your own. What’s the point, really?

At the heart of this hemming and hawing or general passivity lurk a few motivations, I believe. Sure, one can be sheer laziness: I want to show up and enjoy the community but not do the actual work. The thing is, those people eventually seem to float elsewhere over time. If you’re reading but consistently coming back, I think there’s something deeper at play. Call it self-directed stone-walling, an inward withholding from yourself – of better health and a better life.

Address whatever is going on – the nonsense about I’m not capable or I don’t deserve the good life in the same way other people do or it’s never really going to happen that way for me. Bull. Dump the self-defeating attitude. Resolve to end the self-sabotage. (Seriously, accept it for that.) Analyze it if you will, but the point is to move on even if you have to fake it until you make it. Fake the confidence if you don’t feel quite worthy. Fake the motivation if you feel (or even know) that you’re 100% lazy. Fake the self-image if you think on some subterranean level that you shouldn’t and won’t ever be thin/healthy/successful/happy. Faking it will at times hurt. It will take energy. It might even take more energy than working out and lifting the chopping knife to make yourself that Big A$$ Salad you’ve always meant to make for lunch. No matter. Work your own sense of worthiness or optimism or diligence as a muscle, and expect the same stress, fatigue and progress along the way.

So, have we cast every phantom excuse into the light of day? What’s left that’s keeping you hiding or distant? Are you willing to put it out there on public display? (Trust me, it will feel good having done it.)

By all means, read. Visit. Chat. But more than any of that, manifest. No one can do this part for you, but everything meaningful hinges on it. Make yourself a Primal plan every single day if you have to. What am I going to do today to get my butt in the game? Bring some chicken thighs and cut vegetables for lunch? Get sun over the weekend instead of sit inside? Hit the gym on the way home? Practice a mini power outage and be coaxed into a natural bedtime? Then do it. The next day, do it some more. Start edging out all the garbage that doesn’t work for you in your life and health. Come back for more ideas to elbow out more still. Nod less. Do more – today of course.

Anyone willing to admit being in the hot seat today? What’s been holding you back from taking the plunge? What’s the first thing you’re going to commit to right now? Does this ring true of your past with the PB? If so, what gave you the swift kick to get going? Looking forward to reading your thoughts… Thanks for stopping by today, everyone.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I never learned how to cook and now I have physical limitations that make cooking very challenging. Have you tried to do Paleo without cooking? I bought some Pre-Made Paleo brand food which helped but I can’t eat peppers and their food turned out to have a lot of peppers not listed in the descriptions so I was buying food I couldn’t eat. So, I just keep reading and thinking and trying to figure out how to do this. Microwave-grilled hamburger patties everyday with canned pumpkin on the side gets a bit boring. But I can’t bite into a whole apple and by the time I core and slice one that’s all the “cooking” I can physically do for one meal. I’d love to have all your suggestions for real food that requires no prep. You can send them to sandsys at gmail dot com.

    Linda Sand wrote on November 23rd, 2013
  2. I am a lurker as well.
    Though I have ditched the wheat & grains, I admit I still feel sad that I can’t eat them anymore. I still eat dairy because I CANNOT give up my greek yogurt or my cheese b/c I love it so much (though I don’t drink milk). I also find it hard to give up tofu (sounds weird I know), but I’m Asian and it’s always been part of our family’s diet, and I think it’s been hard enough to give up rice in favor of low carb. But, MDA has helped me abandon the idea that whole grains are healthy (Iremember when I used to eat quinoa and oats thinking it was good for me but not really enjoying them), and become more comfortable with eating a steak. I’m not totally committed to primal, but it has helped me realize all the conventional “wisdom” out there are lies, and generally adopt a healthier diet that works for me. I still eat peanut butter, tofu, and dairy, because I feel like I’ve already given up a lot.

    Elle wrote on November 23rd, 2013
  3. HAHAHA I really think Mark is talking about me, I am Thee earnest lurker. Started noticing this site since August after a colleague send a link about clean eating as I’m really overweight (the highest I have ever been to be exact) and obviously that led me to many similar sites and blogs. I have all the books (Blueprint included) so I have done my research. But I haven’t bitten the bullet yet, it’s so difficult for me. I live with my boyfriend who is in good shape without any effort and he has a palate like a 4yr old, eats McDee and chocolates like they going out of style and living in South Africa also means that I grew up on Carbs it’s our staple and we literally have every meal with Maize and it’s my weakness……*sigh* I need to JUST DO IT already

    Gigi wrote on November 25th, 2013
  4. Sigh… I’ve actually gotten fatter since I started lurking on MDA, but it’s correlation, not causation. I started a new, high-stress, long-hour teaching job about the same time I found Primal/Paleo and have spent the past couple years indulging in emotional eating/drinking despite my new-found Primal knowledge. Plus, with my limited amount of free time, I’d rather choose to spend it connecting with my spouse than connecting with the free weights, although I do miss the free weights.

    Erin wrote on November 26th, 2013
  5. Oh wow, I needed this!! I’ve been a lurker for years (eek), occasionally dabbling in the primal lifestyle (and ALWAYS loving it!). Something always happens…my husband wants to order pizza, I visit my family and my mom makes my favorite dish from my childhood, I don’t want my mother-in-law getting on my case (she once yelled at me for not partaking in baby shower goodies…the cupcakes didn’t look very appetizing and I just didn’t want a freakin’ cupcake, k?)….etc., etc., excuses, excuses. I was reading before bed and was going to visit this site and was like no, I will look at it tomorrow. Something told me to look at it right then and I cam across this article. I’m in my second semester of graduate school and a newlywed and I have not been very nice to my body since my wedding in July…and I look it and feel it. Thanks for the kick in the pants! Holiday weight gain and feelings of sluggishness be damned. It’s time to stop lurking, once and for all.

    Brittany wrote on November 26th, 2013
  6. Yep, I lurk too. Clearly there are plenty here. :)

    In fact, I just finished a bowl of cardboard (cereal) with sugar! Hence why I can here to read this post in more depth.

    I guess it’s just a case of gutting it out. But the walls/barriers can be … difficult. For example, I’d love to toss my statins but my cholesterol goes through the roof (340 in US terms, I’m in Australia).

    I just started to follow a running program and buggered up my achilles. Now I can’t even jog! So, while I continue my pity party, it seems that at any stage I commit something gets in the way. (and even as I write this I just want to delete it and not bother!)

    So, I’m resigned to statins for the rest of my life it seems as it is the family history version (which by the way my mother did not die of!), I can’t even just head out and run, the simplest bloody exercise of all.

    So you’d think just eating better would be a simple thing to do and we do not do too badly. But without the exercise, the weight continues to rise….. and so all the effort at times seems pointless!

    Mark, feel free to delete this comment if need be.

    Ron1n wrote on December 2nd, 2013
  7. Got the 21 day book, did the plan and lost 16 pounds in 21 days, then I stopped? I wish I never did. Now I just can’t commit, I am most likely a 60%/40%’er and need to get myself back to 80% at the least. I am trying to ease myself into it to prepare for the New Year. I need to be a Friday Post this time next year. Thanks for everything Mark.

    robb75 wrote on December 5th, 2013
  8. Guilty!! I’m a chronic procrastinator and not real good at follow-thru. It’s been a problem my entire life. I’ve bee here at MDA for several years and have yet to dive in to any depth. I’ll start exercising only to stop after a couple of weeks. Ditto for changing my eating habits.

    I SHOULD be at the point where the straw is breaking the camel’s back. At 410 lbs (5′ 11″) I just tested diabetic via my H1g blood test (6.7 with avg blood glucose 137). My Sensitive Reactive Protein reading has been 17 + (yes… read that right….17.xx) and I have days where I have so much generalized, systemic inflammation that I’m miserable. My sedimentation rate blood test was normal so It’s “non-specific” inflammation…..whatever that implies.

    One thing I have an abundance of is hope. I may not start often and I may not stick with it long but I’ll never give up on trying. I’ve got a friend who is in worse shape than me and he gave up long ago. That will never happen with me.

    Chris wrote on December 5th, 2013
  9. I’ll admit it; I’ve lurked occasionally in the past and have been lurking/reading MDA again for the past few days. In December 2011, I bought The Paleo Solution and lurked on this site (amongst others) for a few months, until implementing a strict primal diet in February 2012. After that I transitioned back to having occasional grains and dairy regularly. I also weight lifted primarily for my exercise during that time and did fun things like mud runs! I felt strong and I was fairly lean through the waist and hips. I kept that up for most of the year until purchasing a “clean eating” nutrition plan in December 2012 (don’t be surprised that it limited fats). I have sort of followed the clean eating for most of 2013 and switched my exercise to mostly cardio. Anyway, I’m back learning about Primal eating because I feel that my processed carb and sugar cravings have gotten out of control and I’m a bit out of shape – I feel sluggish, look a little chubby, have acne again, and don’t feel as strong as before. I remember how good I felt (and looked, imo) back in 2012 and want to get back to that. My copy of The Primal Blueprint should arrive in the mail today! :)

    Kara wrote on December 6th, 2013
  10. Wow I needed this. Immediately bought Primal Blueprint and am now on my second week of following the guidelines. I am off the rollercoaster and have experienced positive changes already. THANK YOU MARK. I needed this kick in the pants!

    Cold Turkey wrote on December 10th, 2013

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