When we make any change in our lives, it initially uses up all our capacity to make that change. Willpower is not a bottomless pit but more a daily budget to be saved or spent. Making a single change, like switching to a Paleo lifestyle, is sometimes all you can do at any one time. It’s why most of us have to go it alone initially without worrying about whether the people around us are following or not. I expended a lot of energy over the years wishing and hoping that the people around me would change with me and all it ever lead to was personal failure. The fault was mine of course, not anyone else. I was, as Internet guru and curmudgeon Merlin Mann is fond of saying, trying to solve the wrong problem at the wrong level at the wrong time.
But once you’ve made that change and made it your “normal” life, what can you do to take it to the next level? That’s an intensely personal thing you need to figure out. To my great fortune, my personal answer fell into my lap last weekend while we were camping. One night we ended up sitting around the campfire with friends. As we talked, I discovered that one of the other people was working on the switch to a Paleo lifestyle as well. We dominated the conversation like two people with a similar interest invariably do. Just as we finished talking about food my wife whipped her head around and said incredulously, “After saying all that you still feed your son bagels for breakfast!?”
She was exactly right.
I had spent the last five months expending my willpower on making the change in my life. It was time to start directing some of that energy into making changes in my family’s eating habits as well. I’m a work at home Dad that typically does most of the meal preparation in the house. Every day starts with the best of intentions for what I want to feed my family but I find myself getting worn down by the demands of ingrained eating habits established even in my youngest. That one moment of clarity around the campfire illustrated for me that I now need to direct the energy and dedication I used so well for myself to feeding my family. There will be no announcement of “going Paleo”, there will be no pronouncement of a sea change in our eating habits. What there will be though are new and exciting meals. And I’m known for meal experimentation anyway so I don’t think they’ll even know what I’m doing.
To that end, I picked up Loren Cordain’s The Paleo Diet Cookbook last night on my Kindle. I’m looking forward to making these new recipes for my family and finally banishing the food that’s hurting them from their lives. Both of my sons have asthma and any slight cold quickly turns into a head or chest infection. It will be interesting to see if changes in their diet clear up any of their symptoms.
I don’t know what the next change you make will be. You need to decide that for yourself. For me, it will be bringing the benefits I’ve found in the Paleo / Primal life to my family. I suspect that many of you may be in the same boat in regards to feeding your family. May be that might be a good next step for you as well. Now that I am much healthier and happier than I was I want to share that with others and especially my family whom I love dearly. By aligning our actions with our thoughts we truly make a change permanent in our lives and spread that change to others.