I am not a perfectionist, and I don’t think you have to be one in order to be ‘healthy’.
Sure, to get ridiculously low levels of body fat and extreme levels of muscularity, you have to be very dedicated, but once you step away from the ledge of extremes you’ll find that you can get a way with looking pretty good and feeling pretty good on a relatively small amount of work, and certainly a lot less stress.
I fast twice a week for roughly 24 hours. Sometimes it’s twenty, but rarely is it ever over twenty-four. This, combined with somewhat responsible eating ( I didn’t get a donut this morning, but I am eating a bowl of frosted mini-wheats) keeps my body fat somewhere between 10 and 12%. Not fitness model 8% or extremely low 6%, but a pretty good 10 to 12%. It’s pretty good, and I’m OK with that.
I work out with weights roughly twice per week. This amount of training is not going to win me any bodybuilding contests, but it’s enough to keep the base I built over the last twenty years. I could workout more, and sometimes I do, but right now, 2 workouts per week means a lot of extra time to spend with my family. and I’m more than OK with this too.
I’m also pretty good at staying healthy. Yesterday news came out that suggested that consuming processed meat is linked to cancer. Eating 50 grams of processed meat per day can slightly increase your risk of Bowel Cancer. Well, for two 24 hour periods per week I don’t eat any meat at all. So no stress. Sugar is apparently bad for you too.. again for two 24 hour periods per week I don’t eat any sugar at all… so I’m not too worried about that one either.
Could I do more for my health? Green smoothies every day, no alcohol, only raw organic local produce? sure. But I’m OK with where I am.
Bottom line – there are lots of experts who can help you with the extremes. So if extreme is what you want, there are lots of options. I’m a master of ‘good enough’. If looking good and being healthy is important to you, but not at the expense of consuming your life, than I have some pretty simple, time tested advice.
1. Fast once or twice a week – it doesn’t have to be 24 hours, it could be 16, or 20, must make sure you’re taking a break from eating occasionally.
2. Stress less. Do your best to only stress about the things that are actually worth stressing about.
3. Lift. As little as twice a week can do wonders. Three to four times per week is great, just be careful as you’ll start to see diminishing returns after a while.
4. Move. Do something that makes you breath a little harder each and every day. I like climbing, but do something that you find fun.
5. Eat. PLEASE EAT. But eat responsibly. You don’t have to be a saint with your food, but you can’t eat like every day is thanksgiving either.
6. Sleep – Get a good nights sleep. If you’re doing the first five things properly, this should be a little bit easier.
It’s a bit of an art-science to discover your own ‘pretty good’ and your own ‘good enough’. A beautiful blend of combining what you know you should do with what you actually want to do. It’s worth knowing and worth experimenting with… life shouldn’t always be about extremes.