Nobody’s perfect and we need to stop pretending our eating habits should be. So many of us are stuck in an all-or-nothing mindset regarding diet. Some of us strive to eat clean, low-calorie, low-sugar, low-sodium, high fiber, etc—and these are all great goals have. However, eating a strict diet without any room for the occasional indulgence is not sustainable. Staying in managed quarantine for two weeks taught me to appreciate the longevity of my weight loss and health improvement efforts. Putting the temporary nature of circumstance in perspective really helped me accept imperfection for what it is—fleeting.
Perfectionism stems from black-and-white thinking that leave no room for anything less than your best. Many people start a diet and do well for a few days but splurge on a cupcake at an office party and give up because they could not achieve “perfect” diet compliance. I definitely deal with perfectionist tendencies and breaking this thinking is much easier said than done. I can attribute my shift in perspective to focusing on long term goals and overall progress over perfection.
After getting out of quarantine, I was surprised that I didn’t feel frustrated or even upset about how I wasn’t as compliant with my diet as I had been for months. Instead of focusing on what I haven’t accomplished, I appreciate how far I’ve come. Many friends I haven’t seen in two years have congratulated me on my weight loss. I’ve also been able to switch back to my healthy eating habits right out of quarantine. I was a bit concerned that I would struggle to eat healthy again. I’m so proud that I’ve been able to transition back to my healthy eating habits now that I’m making my own food choices again. That in itself is major progress!
My long term goal is to lose another 40-50 pounds and two weeks of indulgent quarantine food has not invalidated my progress since I’ve been focused on the process of building good habits rather than 100% diet compliance. There is so much more to life than obsessing about how strictly you are eating. When I first started my weight loss journey, I wanted to have hit my goal of 100 total pounds lost before my birthday last year. Needless to say, I didn’t hit that goal and I’m ok with that because I still lost 60 pounds. I know in my mind that I’ve developed the skills to get me to 100 pounds lost.
I know I’ve made so many mistakes throughout my weight loss journey but I’ve accepted that it’s just part of the ride. It takes time to figure out what works best for you. Sometimes your progress will stall. Sometimes you will fall off the wagon. I learned that patience and persistence will get you where willpower and planning won’t. Overcoming perfectionism requires some change in perspective and confronting your way of thinking. Don’t be afraid to get help from a mental health professional if you have serious issues with perfectionism, anxiety or depression.
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Remember, be kind to yourself and keep moving forward.