Well that is a great question for sure. When it comes to diet, exercise, or daily routines, absolutes can be a challenge! For me there are some absolutes and then there are guidelines. I think too many people try to live by absolutes and get to caught up in minor details - losing sight of their overall goals. If we focus so much of our energy around a specific food or food type, or specific guidelines, it can cause us to go a little overboard in our efforts. However, on the other hand, there are some absolutes that I always follow no matter what.
Absolutes also take the daily decision-making out of choices. This can be a good thing because sometime we start down a slippery slope and go backwards in our progress because we had one cookie, one cheat meal, or one “whatever”.
Here is my suggestion: follow your own ideas, gather the data and make your own decisions. Do not let one article, one reference, or one person dictate how you behave when it comes to your fitness journey.
For example, someone can say “you should not eat carbs.” Ok, so what does that mean? Does it mean absolutely no carbs whatsoever? Or could it really mean no processed foods that are carb-based? I eat a ton of veggies and they are made up of a lot of carbs. However, I do not eat pasta or bread. So am I following this rule? For me the answer is yes, because it is processed carbs that have a negative impact on my goals, and the same with sugar. When someone says “no sugar” I would tend to agree because sugar and all its ugly friends create a trigger for me that can derail my efforts - even short term. Now I do eat the occasional sweet, or 88% dark chocolate, but I have eliminated the day-to-day sweets that prevented me from reaching my own goals.
Meat is another absolute. I decided a few years ago that I did not want any meat in my diet, so it is an absolute and I do not even have to think about it.
I sometimes cringe when people say “I do not eat fruits and veggies because they are high sugar or high carb” - but these items are real foods! They should not be considered the enemy. The enemy is the processed and refined foods, and foods that are devoid of nutrition.
In the end, YOU must decide what is right for you. Study the facts, understand what works and what doesn’t, and set your own guidelines and absolutes. Know what you can and can’t do day-to-day. Make your decisions easy and the goals will be easier to obtain.