If you are on a quest to lose fat, gain muscle, and feel your best, it seems as though you have to eat the perfect amount of food at the perfect time. Striving to be so perfect could result failure, defeat, exhaustion, and obsession.
More people during this current time are wanting perfection, whether it stems from comparing ourselves to other people or managing the increasing demands from everyday life.
Perfection does not exist.
Once you have hit an error in your day, you begin to feel as though you have failed at life. An imperfect day of eating may lead you to cease your healthy efforts all together. It becomes a “all or nothing” game that, once you have lost, you give up.
One meal will not make you fit, and one meal will not undo all of your efforts thus far. However, when we are short of perfect, we feel like a failure. The towel is thrown in, making it difficult to get back on track. If you spill a drop of juice on your shirt, it is fixable. The “all or nothing” mindset will ponder, ‘I already spilled a drop of juice, I may as well empty the entire bottle on to the shirt’. The shirt is ruined, but it was not ruined before with just one drop; the shirt could have been rescued. You can recover from one unhealthy meal without overturning your progress after one unhealthy meal. Continuing to eat unhealthy foods the rest of the day will make moving on much harder.
For most people, changing everything about the way they eat is simply too much to deal with all at once. By seeking perfection through a change to the foods we buy, the way we cook, the new dishes we make for every meal, plus starting a new workout routine on top of it all … it is no wonder when we end up failing.
Instead of making several changes at once, start with one new habit at a time and move onto the next. When healthy habits become second nature, you can reach goals faster. Once you make one healthy change, you are led to make more healthy changes because you feel good instead of overwhelmed from chasing perfection.
Having a consistent allows flexible of food in your diet. You can eat the foods that you would not fit into a perfect diet. Chasing perfection in our diet teaches us that we cannot include foods that regularly appear in our lives. When we do reach for those foods, we do not know how to eat them in moderation. When striving for consistency over perfection, we might eat doughnuts regularly, but we do so intuitively. We satisfy our taste buds, and stop eating once we have had enough. We learn to build trust with ourselves around more indulgent foods. And that is an incredibly important skill to build for life-long healthy eating.
END THE ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING
1. MAKE YOUR GOALS SMART (SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, REALISTIC AND TIME BOUND)
Focus on one or two goals at a time that will make impactful changes that you can build on. Make the goals realistic and interesting, thus increasing your motivation.
2. DON’T MAKE FOODS OFF-LIMITS
I cannot say this enough: there is no need to cut out an entire food group to lose fat/gain muscle/etc. Putting yourself on a restrictive or fad diet that requires being perfect will cause you to crave such food even more. Moderation is key as is consistency!
3. GET BACK ON TRACK
Giving yourself permission to eat off-limits foods again puts you back in control. You get to decide in the moment of it is the right time to eat it or if there is a healthier choice you could have that would satisfy your craving. If you eat something not so healthy, enjoy it and move on. Get back to your healthy routine at the next meal or snack.
4. SWITCH THINGS UP TO AVOID BOREDOM
Every now and then, we can fall into a food rut. To avoid this, try new recipes, incorporate different spices and seasonings, or shop at different grocery store.
5. TRACK PROGRESS OVER TIME
Use a food app, take pictures of yourself, record a video, or keep a food diary to track your progress. Celebrate your progress and accomplishments along the way. Find new solutions to help with any area that needs attention. If you are consistent and do not give up when there are bumps along the way, anything is attainable.