In all my years talking with clients and readers, I’ve heard people often say they’re starting from zero, from rock bottom, with no baseline at all. I understand where they were coming from. Everyone is beginning this journey with a different level of fitness and health. I get that. Yet, I let me tell you this: never in my entire career have I met anyone starting with nothing. The concept defies physiological reality.
You might be in the worst shape of your life. You might be tipping the scale at an all-time high. You might be fighting a serious health condition you never dreamed you’d be dealing with. You may have battled disordered eating. You might not remember when/if you ever had a good self-image.
You might get winded walking up half a flight of stairs. You may have lost significant muscle mass. You might struggle to simply sit with (let alone carry) around the extra 50, 75, or 100+ pounds you’ve put on. However, your body is still made to move. It still craves it. It likely feels harder to train, sure, but—make no mistake—living and breathing within you is that pure physical force you and everyone else was born with. Choosing to live Primally—with the right fuel, the expected movement, the necessary sleep and sun—simply allows you to live out the full measure of that vital potential.
And let me say something else about one’s “baseline.” When beginning a journey like this, baseline is about much more than VO2 max, mile time, bench press weight, or lipid profile. Numbers don’t tell your story, and they don’t determine your prospects for success.
Think for a minute about what else you bring to your personal resolution. What about the motivational power? What about the emotional stamina? What about the social strength of friends, family, and Primal community? What about the force of full-on personal investment or raw will? Those count for something. In fact, those often count for everything. Your physical baseline determines the particular level you start from, but it doesn’t define the trajectory of your journey or the fulfillment of your experience along the way.
Along these lines, let me offer a few suggestions and invite each and every one of our readers to give their own perspective and encouragement.
As you begin the Challenge, make sure you’re taking full advantage of the support system you have. Not everyone in your life is on board with the Primal Blueprint, it’s true. Regardless, look to those in your life who bring a Primally sympathetic or just open mindset. Some friends, even if they can’t understand why you’re eating so much fat, will support you because they want to simply celebrate any investment you make in your health and happiness. Embrace that. Open yourself to the support of folks in this community. Participate in the comment boards, join the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook Group, and you’ll see what I mean. Finally, if you feel like past issues like disordered eating still have a grip on you, enlist the professional help you need and deserve.
Sometimes people get caught up in a particular goal and lose sight of the full process. Embrace daily Primal living and not just your long-range goal. Going Primal will get you to the destination you have in mind, but it’s not the deprivation-focused, white-knuckle experience you might be used to. Use this year to transform your life as well as you physiology. Relish the myriad of benefits going Primal offers. It’s more than the weight loss and lean muscle mass. Notice the better quality sleep, the more even mood, the sharper focus, the more consistent energy in your day. On that note…
You’re making a point of eating real, ancestral-worthy food, of adding an exercise regimen. Rest assured, you’re remaking your physiology in the process. You will absolutely reap the benefits long before the first couple months of the year is over. But also make a point of doing something (or several things) that make you feel good today. These healthy “indulgences” can help get you through a rough day of low carb flu or unexpected stress. Relax in the sun. Relish turning in early for a full night’s sleep. (Remember what that feels like?) Share a walk with a good friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Play. Enjoy an old hobby. Take a personal retreat. Make a masterpiece dinner and savor it in real ambiance. In other words, let yourself enjoy the process. Make your Primal lifestyle a continual experience of “good life” indulgence as well as a powerful investment in your health.