Have you ever seen someone perform the perfect kata, with almost inhuman precision? Technically perfect, but somehow… too perfect?
That perfect performance feels like it’s missing something. A human quality. A soulfulness. When it’s too perfect, it seems clinical and robotic, and we crave that grittiness that would otherwise make for an intensely powerful performance.
I view nutrition the same way. I used to have disordered eating in my early 20s. By trying to make my diet—and my body—perfect, it was like I was trying to perform that technically perfect kata. By taking a technical approach and focusing solely on food math (calculating macros, counting calories, weighing myself, charting graphs, and on and on), I made my relationship with food really cold and clinical. That passion, and rawness, and soulfulness that I once had in my eating—I destroyed all of that in my quest for the ideal diet and body.
Focusing too much on The Perfect Diet can take the soul out of our relationship with food, just as trying to perform a technically perfect kata with no individuality can take the soul out of our karate performance.
An impressive kata does include technical mastery; of course it does. But the martial artist takes those technical skills and adds his or her own flavour to it, making that rendition of the kata uniquely theirs.
With both my diet and karate, I prefer to focus on building up those technical skills and that knowledge, while still honouring my personal style. This way I can enjoy eating—and karate—in a way that feels good, and is gratifying without feeling neurotic. I can work on mastering those basics, and still stay human and sane in the process.
This informed but intuitive approach is what works for me.
If you know anyone who could use some help with nutrition basics, I do have an online healthy eating course. No diets. No calorie counting. I coach you through building up healthy habits and mastering the basics. Click here to see the course.
Thanks for reading!
Check out some of my articles on performance and competition: