Thanks to the internet ,there is now no shortage of free health advice available from self-proclaimed gurus and experts. A lot of these health bloggers have great advice, but I often want to throw my hands up in exasperation when I read it. Give up processed food completely? I like packaged cookies too much. Spend 2 hours and use 4 pans to make one dish? Definitely not in my nightly plan! Eat a fully raw diet consisting of 40 bananas a day? Not gonna happen!
Making these sorts of extreme diet changes isn’t for everyone. But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the advice just because you aren’t striving for the brand of perfection (or 80% perfection) that the gurus are prescribing. These gurus are a constant reminder that we can change our ways to achieve whatever goal we want.
We Are Prone to Doubt
As humans, we are prone to doubt. This could probably be seen as a protective measure to prevent us from bad decisions. Doubt can also be seen as a positive thing that pushes you to find alternative ways of doing things, and many great ideas have come from doubting the status quo. But, most of the time, doubt is what holds us back from making positive changes or striving to achieve our goals.
No Meat Athlete gives one great example of this when he talks about the 4 minute mile. For the longest time, no one thought it was humanly possible to run a mile in under 4 minutes. In the 1940s, the record got done to 4:01 – but it stood there for 9 years. Then, in 1954, the athlete Roger Bannister broke the record. His training included visualizing the achievement. Basically, he believed it was possible, so he was able to do it.
After Bannister broke the record, athletes began breaking 4 minutes left and right. Now, it is routine.
We Need Someone to Do It First
Most of us simply don’t want to be the trendsetters. We don’t want to be the first one to wear that new style of boots, or whatever unchartered territory is in question. But, the moment we see other people doing it and thriving, we feel empowered to try it ourselves.
Online inspirational guru Scott Dinsmore of Live Your Legend describes his turning point when he was able to cast doubt aside and make his dream a reality. He was about to give up when he decided to go out and see if he could find other people in similar situations as himself, but further along with their goal. He started to meet people and his mind was blown. He had no clue anything like this was possible:
The more I met people like this, the more it started to feel normal. And suddenly, without even knowing it, my thinking shifted from “how could I possibly do this” to “how could I possibly not?”
This is where the real value in diet gurus is: They show us that it is possible to change your diet, and change your life in the process.
But Don’t Read Into It Too Much Into It!
When studying self-doubt, psychologists have found an interesting pattern: people who doubt themselves too much end up engaging in excessive information processing which leads to procrastination and self-handicapping.
Sound familiar? You doubt your ability to go on a diet, so you start searching the internet for advice and tips. Then you get so overwhelmed that you ultimately do nothing.
So, while it is good to take inspiration from diet gurus, maybe you shouldn’t spend too much time reading their advice on what to and not to eat, how to organize your meals, and their beliefs on nutrition. Information is only empowering up to a point!
“I Could Never Give Up Meat!”
Putting this all in context of veganism, one of the most common responses to the vegan diet is “But I could never give up meat.” It is sad that so many people immediately dismiss something as impossible before even trying it.
As a critical mass of vegans develops (and the numbers definitely are growing!), the doubt is going to shift away. All those doubters will realize that it isn’t so hard to substitute their burgers for a plant burger, or put some legumes in a casserole instead of meat.
Don’t ever underestimate the impact you are making by following a vegan diet. Sure, it may not seem like you are making a dent in the bigger picture of animal welfare and climate change. But, every day you serve as living proof to all those doubters that it is possible, and that we can change our ways to make a healthier, happier planet.