I’ve come to realise that the tipping point is one of the most important points you can reach. It’s the moment when your mind screams ‘That’s it! Something’s got to change!’
The concept is something I’ll go into in much more detail in the future, but right now, I wanted to share mine. Mine was actually something quite small – although if you’re squeemish, you may want to look away now. My tipping point was simply the fact that I couldn’t button my work trousers up anymore. That was it. I had put on so much weight over 18 months in a new job, that I was going to work with my belt holding up my trousers. (I did warn you that it wasn’t pretty.) That was not good for my self-esteem, let me tell you.
The thing is though, that was just one example of all sorts of physical, mental and emotional issues. A tiny one, but it kind of made the point – I’d let things slide too much.
And so, faced with the choice of buying new trousers (unlikely, I’m a cheap skate) or losing weight, I chose losing weight. Luckily for me, the answer was sitting next to me.
A pal of mine had, days before, started a strange way of eating. Primal, she called it. All of a sudden her snacks were eggy, cheesy, meaty goodness – and it all looked great. She sent me the link to Marks Daily Apple, and, like some chubby corporate Alice in Wonderland, I lost myself in the primal rabbithole.
It made so much sense, and while reading and reflecting, it also made me realise something very important. The choices I made led me to look and feel like this. It wasn’t anyone else’s fault. I was fat, tired, lacking energy, irritable, had the most ridiculously stressful commute of anyone I’ve ever known (M25 for two-four hours every morning and afternoon anyone?), and never saw my fiancee. How had I let it get to this?
I changed my diet immediately. I had reached my tipping point and was ready. Out went processed crap, in came fresh vegetables and grass-fed meat. Next came the training. I had always loved lifting weights, but had also always thought that cardio was the way to go to lose weight (how wrong I was…). I ditched the cardio, focused on weight training, and started sprinting. The physical changes started to happen quickly, but it was the mental changes that got me thinking there was even more I could do.
Many people on their primal or paleo journeys will stop at diet and exercise. And that’s fine. If you dial in your diet and focus on real food, you’ll be more healthy than most people you know. If you add in the training, you’ll get to the stage where the change in you will be so recognisable, people will start coming to you for advice. But, if you’re then willing to continue the transformation, that’s when you’ll start to get into the Live Simple mindset.
It’s what happens when you assess everything around you, and challenge it. When you start to really define what’s important to you. When you realise you don’t need stuff to make you smile. When you realise you probably already have everything you need to make you happy.
When Angela and I got there, everything changed. We started buying organic. That led us to questioning all the other chemicals in various bottles and potions around the house, and looking for alternatives. We found local farmers markets. We began making dinner together, and sitting at the table while we ate (rather than sitting with dinner on our laps watching Man V Food). We returned to the simple things that we love doing – playing cards, reading, going for walks. We started decluttering the house, giving us the mental and physical space to create. We tried to change from a consumer mindset to one where we appreciate all that we have (Apple products still make this challenging!).
As someone who has always been interested in training, this process also made me redefine what health and fitness is. Fitness is more holistic to me now – it includes the physical, but also the emotional and mental.
If you add all of this up, this is what Live Simple means to me. The beauty of it is that it’s a concept that’s going to mean different things to everyone. The busy executive can find simplicity by freeing up the schedule to find more time for family and friends. The overweight parent can simplify their food to dramatic effect. The amateur marathon runner can ditch the endless miles and embrace short, sharp workouts for even greater benefits.
Even Bruce Lee knew it was the right approach:
One does not accumulate, but eliminate.
It is not daily increase, it is daily decrease.
The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.
Live Simple allows you to set your own pace as you change. The question is, what will it mean to you?