Give it up! There is no way to diet perfectly. Perfectionism in dieting is a built in guarantee for failure. Give yourself a gold star by staying focused on your weight loss goal with compassion and self-forgiveness. Allow yourself to experience the joy of achieving your healthy ideal weight. I have selected There Is No Way To Diet Perfectly as this weeks reading from my book, Becoming Slender For Life.
There Is No Way To Diet Perfectly
Some people try to diet perfectly and want a specific diet plan to follow. They want to get out their food scales, their measuring cups and start counting calories and grams of fat. The ultimate result of perfectionism is failure. There is no way of dieting perfectly. There is no way to follow any eating strategy perfectly. Give it up. It can’t be done. You just do the best you can. Even when you try to make healthy choices, you can’t count on what will be served when eating out. I’ve avoided dairy products for years and have gotten pretty good at easily ordering in a restaurant. Once on a road trip my wife and I stopped for lunch. I ordered a fakeegg, cheese-less veggie omelet—but it was served to me with hollandaise sauce slathered all over the top of it! I have ordered pasta with tomato sauce and veggies, only to discover there was cream in the tomato sauce. I have even ordered a veggie wrap with “no cheese and no dairy” and my first bite was a mouthful of sour cream. When I walked back to the counter, the young girl who took my order replied: “But that’s just sour cream.” Apparently she didn’t know sour cream is a dairy product! So you learn to scrape off what you don’t want and you move on.
Many of my clients are nurses. I have the greatest respect and admiration for nurses. They work long hard hours, often in hospital units that are understaffed. They seldom get a bathroom break and meal breaks are often impossible to take. When it comes to dieting, nurses are some of the most difficult perfectionists to work with. Of course, one of their skills and strengths is perfectionism. Perfectionism is essential to their job. They must be exacting in which patient they are administering medications to, giving the right medication and correct dosage. But when they turn their perfectionism on themselves, it bites them on the backside.
Joan’s story goes something like this: It’s the fourth work day of the week, she put in several hours of overtime the previous three days and today is looking no different. She’s tired, has had no time with her family and little sleep. She’s been on her feet for hours; she is seriously hungry and hasn’t had the opportunity to take a lunch break. There are M & M’s and an open bag of chips at the nurse’s station, so as she runs by, she grabs a handful of each. Though she’s only been a Slender For Life™ client just over a week, her sense of failure is overwhelming. Since she feels she’s blown the day, she gives up and eats whatever is easily available. “What’s the use? I will never be successful with weight loss anyway,” she rationalizes to herself.
In her next session we discussed her perfectionism and the places in her life where it served her and the places it did not. Over the following weeks, Joan became more loving and accepting of herself and she treated herself—and her body—with love, dignity and respect. She created a new relationship with herself, one that allowed her to obtain her ideal weight and one that allows her to maintain her ideal weight to this day.
None of us is perfect, and we need to get over it. The real challenge, certainly, is learning to love ourselves and to forgive ourselves.
Another way perfectionism sabotages us is when we set goals that are unattainable. A mental attitude of creating unreasonable and impractical expectations for yourself in both your weight release results and in any kind of program you may use or join, will only lead to heartbreak. At the first indication of not living up to your high perfectionist ideals, you may be ready to quit. Since it’s impossible for anyone to do this or any other weight release program perfectly, it’s unlikely you will be the first!
Solution for perfectionism:
Realistic, attainable goals are crucial for weight release success. Focusing on letting go of two pounds this next week is so much more imaginable than shedding 50 or 100 pounds. Exercising three or four times a week is doable, and anything more than that is a bonus. For most people, a goal of daily exercise, while beneficial, is a setup for failure.
Nobody’s perfect–not even you!
If bells are going off in your mind telling you that this is one of your issues, try journaling about your desires for perfection. Ask yourself what happens when you are less than perfect—which, let’s face it—has to be all the time! Ask yourself why you’re so hard on yourself. Wouldn’t it be nice to be more gentle with yourself by setting realistic, attainable goals? That way you can experience the joy of meeting them and end the punishing cycle of perfectionism.
My book, Becoming Slender For Life can support you in your joyful and compassionate journey to lose weight. What’s more important, is that my book can guide you to remaining slender for the rest of your life. After all, that is what its really all about.
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I experience the joy of meeting my goals.
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