Unhealthy Perfectionism vs. the Pursuit of Excellence

Over the past five years I’ve witnessed many individuals repeatedly struggle with the nutritarian diet-style because of the greatly misunderstood topic of unhealthy perfectionism vs. the pursuit of excellence.  

Unhealthy perfectionism entails the all or nothing, obsessive mindset of striving for flawlessness that messes in a negative way with the psyche. In the context of changing eating habits, this type of perfectionism can be felt as a burden that leads to dissatisfaction and depression if perfect flawlessness can’t be obtained.

“If I can’t eat perfectly, I won’t do it at all.” 

Or . . .  “I blew it. I ate a cookie so now I’ll go ahead and pig out on everything.” 

Or  . . . “I didn’t lose any weight this week so I’m quitting - it's all or nothing for me.”  

That kind of stinkin’ thinking has to go, because it is detrimental to success. 

 

However, like an Olympic Champion who gives 100% to win the Gold Medal, getting out of food addiction takes 100% commitment. One can’t give half-heartedly and expect to see great results. It takes complete abstinence and no compromises to get free from the entanglements of addiction.

A nicotine addict can’t smoke “just one” cigarette a day and expect to get free from, or stay out of the addiction. Nor can a recovering alcoholic drink “just one” glass of wine every day. It takes abstaining 100% from the addictive substance to get free, and then to remain free. 

Additionally, it’s much easier to eat perfectly – strict adherence to the plan - and get completely rid of nagging cravings than it is to vacillate and keep them continually percolating beneath the surface; waiting to ignite at a moment’s notice. The latter is spelled M-I-S-E-R-Y, because you’re always fighting the demons of temptation. Whereas, once the overwhelming cravings are gone, the inner turmoil is silenced.    

The one who strives for excellence may make mistakes in the learning process, also known as slip ups*, but those errors propel the incentive to work harder. Slip ups may impulsively happen from time to time, but they are minor and short-lived as the quest for excellence is wholeheartedly pursued with great joy and excitement!

[* A slip up is not an intentionally planned cheat: a whole vacation, an entire week, a full day, or even an entire meal. It is a small indiscretion, like maybe some bread that was not health-supporting as a part of one meal, and it didn’t create a total binge of unhealthy eating. The imperfection didn’t destroy or even interrupt 100% commitment to nutritional excellence.]

It’s absolutely necessary to carefully link days of perfect eating together for cravings to subside and then go completely away; and then it is equally important to never return to old habits in order to achieve long term success. One bite of an addictive substance can open the addiction right back up to full force. 

Unfortunately, I’ve observed many who don’t want to be labeled a perfectionist (for fear of being the unhealthy kind) so they intentionally veer off the path of perfect eating just to avoid it! 

That kind of stinkin’ thinking has to go as well, because those who intentionally veer off the path of perfect eating will end up in head on collisions with the Standard American Diet and never get free from unhealthy dietary entanglements. Ever. And sadly, they’ll never achieve optimal health or a quality of life either.   

Ask former nicotine addicts if they smoke a couple cigarettes a day to avoid being labeled a perfectionist. Ask recovery alcoholics if they still hang out at the bars after work to avoid the label as well.

To get free, and to remain free, one has to eat almost perfectly – for life.  

   

PS   As I was taking the above photo of the scales, I couldn't help but be reminded that 2-3 years ago, junk food and candy were still somewhat tempting to me at times; but now that stuff is disgusting.  I didn't think that would ever happen, but it did.  I used to think that Dr. Fuhrman was some kind of saint from outer space (not really) to say that candy and junk food were disgusting to him . . . but it really does happen over time! 

        

Interview with a Nutritarian: Chris

Sometimes it takes the responsibility of being a parent to wake-up to the realization that we want to “be there” for our kids; not just when they are little, but when they’re grown up too. Chris was incredibly wise, because he took the necessary steps while his daughters were young to be the healthiest dad that he could possibly be for them. What a gift he’s giving to his young family! Welcome to Disease Proof, Chris.  

     

What was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian eating-style?

As someone who always worked out or competed in sports I never had to think about what I ate.  As I got older and other things got in the way of exercising, I would gain weight fast, because I ate like I was working out.  I always thought I was eating healthy because I'd make sure I ate some kind of animal protein with dinner.  It wasn’t until the birth of my second child that I realized I’m going to be in my 60's when they are in there 20's.  I remember not being able to put my socks on in the morning by bringing my knee straight up; I had to turn it to the side because my belly was so big.  I also remember thinking, “How am I going to carry my two daughters up the stairs when they want me to carry them?”   I didn't want to be that kind of dad.  I wanted to be the athletic dad that could do anything with them, even at a later stage in life.
 
 

How did you feel then?

Being on a high protein diet continually, I experienced toxic hunger really bad and called it “hypoglycemia".  I'd get moody if I didn't eat every two hours. My days centered around eating five meals a day.  I also suffered from adult acne and would catch a few colds every year; and it was no fun looking at myself in the mirror when trying on clothes. It was difficult for me to be out of shape while playing with my one-year-old, especially since I was in such great shape when I was younger. 

 

How did you find out about Eat to Live?

After the birth of my second daughter, I adopted a whole food, plant-based diet after reading The China Study, and I was going to raise my two girls vegan as well.  My parents and in-laws thought it was a crazy idea, because they were afraid their granddaughters weren't going to grow up to their fullest potential; so I set out to prove them wrong.  I first discovered Disease Proof Your Child, and then found Eat to LiveEat to Live made the most sense to me of all the plant based books that I had read so it was the lifestyle that I wanted to adopt for my whole family.

                                

How do you feel now?

It's crazy to think that I now weigh the same or less than I did in high school!  My energy levels have never been better.  I no longer have crazy mood swings or adult acne.  I’ve lost 7 inches around my waist and it’s fun to shop for clothes again.  Sometimes I find myself looking for clothes on the rack next to high school kids. 

I started competing n running races again and have won twice in my age division while pushing a double stroller! I’ve also received a "Super Preferred" status from my life insurance carrier.  It’s fun to say that I’m 43-years-old and in the best shape of my life; and my life insurance company just confirmed it.

  

 

Before

Now

Height

5’11

5’11

Weight

190 lbs

154 lbs

Hemoglobin A1C

5.5

5.3

Triglycerides

164

82

Cholesterol

212

145

HDL

68

70

LDL

111

58

LDL / HDL ratio

1.64

0.84

 

Do you have any success tip(s) to share with others?

 

  • Discover the “WHY”. You need to find out "WHY" you are doing this.  Mine was for my two girls ~ I wanted to be that active, healthy father for them while they were growing up and beyond.  If you have a deep emotional commitment to your "WHY" you can achieve anything. 

 

  • Choose the highest scoring, nutrient dense foods. Always find places where you can sneak in the most nutrient dense foods like using cooked collard greens instead of tortillas.

 

In a nutshell, what has nutritarian eating done for you?

It has made me make conscience decisions about everything I put into my mouth.  If one eats for health, the weight takes care of itself.  I love not having weight issues now or ever again, and I can live life to the fullest.  Plus now I’m competing in running races again and showing my girls how fun it can be.  When my girls are older, I will be able play sports with them instead of just watching, and I know that I’ll never have to worry about having a heart attack.  I’m also eating all the anti-cancer foods to protect myself from ever getting cancer.  I know that I will live a long and active life, thanks to my nutritarian diet.

 

Congratulations Chris on achieving your goal of being the healthiest dad that you can possibly be! 

 

Interview with Martin Oswald

Chef Martin OswaldLast weekend the first Nutritarian Food Festival was held in beautiful Aspen, Colorado.  It was organized and co-chaired by renowned chef, Martin Oswald, who owns the Pyramid Bistro on Main Street; the first, fully nutritarian restaurant in America.  Dr. Fuhrman said the cook-off contest between the top chefs in town, making their best nutritarian dishes, was a blast! The entire event was a great success and widely received by the public due to Martin’s vision and dedication, and everyone’s hard work. Welcome to Disease Proof, Martin.

 

How did you discover nutritarian eating and cooking that eventually led to opening the Pyramid Bistro?

I heard about Dr. Fuhrman many years ago, but it wasn’t until someone in the health section of Whole Foods in Denver introduced me to his books again. I saw the nutrient density guides and recognized the chef-friendly approach of Dr. Fuhrman’s plan. It was one of those, "Nutrition meets chef" moments!

 

From your perspective as a renowned chef and owner of the first nutritarian restaurant in the United States, what was the highlight of the Nutritarian Food Festival for you?

The highlight for me was to see all these chefs from competing restaurants, and nutritionists with different backgrounds, come together and push forward a bigger idea. As you may know, Colorado is the only state with under 30% obesity rate so it makes sense to join forces to create a tipping point right here. I think Dr. Fuhrman has come up with the right approach that everyone can embrace.

 

Was it hard to bring so many chefs together to organize such an event for an entire community & city?

Yes, first of all we only had about two months to get the chefs to read and learn the guidelines. Then they had to approve it with the restaurant owner, and all this was done at the height of the busy summer season. For example, the winner, Miles Angelo, caters all summer long and it was difficult for him to switch gears.  I'm very appreciative of everyone’s efforts who participated in the events. 

 

With the nutritarian health revolution on the horizon, what do you see the restaurant industry’s role will be in helping to repair our broken healthcare system?

I'm very fortunate to live here in Aspen and meet some of the great thinkers of our time. For instance, while I was proposing a non-profit approach to spread more information on nutritarianism, some prominent people told me it would make much more sense to come up with a business model that is for-profit and encourage others to do the same.  The Pyramid Bistro had a great first year and people have asked me to open in other locations, which is so important for a nutritarian revolution.

The role of restaurants will be to work much closer with nutritionists in order to prevent obesity and other health related issues. By working with nutritionists and then creating dishes that everyone can enjoy we can make a real difference in peoples’ lives that will ultimately lead to a healthier nation.  

 

Do you have any final comments to share with the Disease Proof reader?

Talk to your favorite waiter, restaurant owner, or chef about Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian eating-style.  By encouraging them to include nutrient dense items on their menus, you just might start a food revolution in your own hometown!

 

Thank you Martin for pioneering this exciting vision to promote nutritarian food choices in restaurants all across America and beyond!  Best wishes of great success ~ bon appétit! 

Interview with a Nutritarian: Ruthlette

Ruth always took good care of her body, but right along with middle-age birthdays came increasing weight gain. She was feeling the heaviness and burden of the scales climbing higher each year .  Thankfully, at age 44 she discovered a new book that changed her life in the aisle of a Whole Foods Market. Welcome to Disease Proof, Ruth.     

 

fit nutritarianWhat was your life like before discovering Eat to Live?

I’ve always been into health and exercise, but when I turned 40 it became harder to keep weight off and look toned; even with the daily cardio exercise and weight training.  Although I was still able to fit into most of my clothing, some were snug and I would no longer wear them. The numbers on the scale were creeping up and I felt heavy and sluggish.  

I had been mainly a vegetarian. I ate lots of fruits and vegetables, but I did eat cheese, yogurt and salmon.  I tried The Zone Diet but gained 10 lbs. after a year of sticking with Dr. Sears' terribly unappetizing recipes.  At 5’7” I topped the scales at 140 lbs. I was open to becoming vegan, but afraid to take the plunge, because I wasn’t convinced that it was healthy. 

  

How did you find out Dr. Fuhrman high nutrient eating style?

 I went to Whole Foods and saw a display of health books.  One was Eat to Live, and I noted that the book quoted from The China Study, which I had read and greatly respected. I decided to commit to nutritarian eating.

 

 What happened and how do you feel now?

Within three months I lost 15 pounds, dropped two to three dress sizes, and reduced my body fat from 33% to 24%. I feel younger and sexy, and I now have more energy and feel rested each morning.  My workouts are stronger and I’m finally toned again ~ my husband says that my body looks like a teenager’s! (By the way, my husband also lost 15 lbs!) 

 

portrait of RuthDo you have any success tip(s) to share with others?

  •  It’s important to understand that you can’t eat all-you-want of “healthy” foods like nuts, seeds and whole grains.   When I first started Eat to Live, I wrote to Dr. Fuhrman on Ask the Doctor and told him that I couldn’t believe how much food I could eat and still drop 4 lbs. in the first couple of weeks.  He warned me not to "pig out" and to only eat until I was full.  I was initially put off, but eventually learned that he was right.  I learned to listen to my body and stop eating when I was full.  After that, I dropped even more weight rapidly. 
     
  • I eat greens with every meal: spinach in my morning smoothie, a large salad with soup for lunch, and a large salad with dinner.  By loading up on salads first, my “hunger” is largely quenched.  I’m amazed at how much more energy I have by eating less!
     
     

In a nutshell, what has nutritarian eating done for you? 

It has made me able to be more in tune with my body.  Fueling my body with nutrient rich foods helps me have more energy and look and feel great!

 

Congratulations Ruth for taking the plunge into nutritarian eating!