Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Trouble With Normal

Nobody wants to be average. We all want to feel we are somehow better than or at least distinct to the other seven billion people on the planet and, to prove that, we'll exaggerate, cheat and lie to impress other people with our extraordinary distinctiveness. Strangely enough, however, if we really do stand out by dint of some characteristic uniquely our own, we'll end up with an inner yearning to fit in.

I listen to a lot of “paleo” podcasts and read a lot of “paleo” blogs. This is a whole lot like a confirmed Catholic going to Mass everyday. It truly is preaching to the converted. Sometimes I wonder why I do this. True, I often garner some new pieces of information that help me in my quest for the best possible health, but, lots of times what I hear or read is not new to me. I think my drive to consume the “paleo” lifestyle is a lot more about wanting to fit in, than it is about wanting to educate myself.

Alone at Little Oberon Bay
The truth is, if you don't eat grains (yes, corn is a grain), any kind of processed food (with the exception of bacon, of course), reduced fat dairy (reduced fat anything), and restrict your carbohydrate intake to a level that improves rather than impairs your physical functioning, you will, sooner rather than later, find yourself feeling more than a bit weird compared to all your friends and acquaintances. You'll pass on the birthday cake, the ice-cream, the “just this once” treat, the bread, the biscuits, the crackers, so many staples of most people's diets that even your closest friends will start to think you are a bit weird, possibly even neurotic, and most certainly uncomfortably different. At this point, you'll start thinking it is easier to fit in than stand out, and you'll start looking for some sense of community where people are more like you than not.

 Alone on Razorback Ridge

That may lead you, like me, on your journey to “paleo land” where the idea of trying out something new to you and seeing if you “look, feel and perform better” actually has real meaning, because you have real measurable performance goals. Not wishy washy “I want to be a better climber/skier/biker/runner” goals which you can wriggle out of because you never really committed to any finite target, but real performance goals that you are intrinsically motivated to work at every day even if it means – gasp – changing your diet and throwing out all the dogma you've assimilated from whatever media you follow. 

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