I’ve been procrastinating for days on writing my first post as I wanted it to be perfect. I realize now that it will actually never be perfect, and by waiting, I am losing valuable productivity time.
This is not the only time that perfectionism has had a negative effect in my life, and it has impacted my weight loss plans more than once. Have you ever had this experience? You’ve been following your diet to the letter for a week or two, and then you eat something that isn’t in your plan. What do you do, jump right back on your plan and continue following it perfectly?
If you have a bit of a perfectionist in you like I do, you may instead think “well, I blew it”. You had a perfect record going, but now since you’ve “blown it”, why not really go for it and eat whatever you want? That can lead to thinking that today has been shot, and that really means the whole week has been shot, so why not just start over fresh next Monday?
The problem with this way of thinking is that Monday may never come, or when it eventually does (months from now), it’s after gaining another 10-20 pounds. It’s important to recognize the thought process that stems from perfectionism in the beginning, in order to save yourself much misery and lost time, time that could have been spent in getting closer to your goal weight, rather than further away.
Let’s start back at the point when we ate that cookie or bowl of ice cream. Ok, so that kind of food isn’t the healthiest choice for us, but since it’s done, it’s done. We now are at the critical point where we can decide consciously what we will do next, rather than falling into old, unconscious patterns of guilt and self-recrimination, followed by a free-for-all in the kitchen. First of all, whose standards are we living by? Who said we must be perfect? We are human beings, and perfection is not listed anywhere in our list of “ingredients”. 🙂
While it’s not sensible to think we can eat sweets everyday and lose weight healthily, if you gave in today, then that’s what you did, so let’s move on. Here are some points to consider when you find yourself in the grips of perfectionist thinking:
- Think about how many years you have been using food for purposes other than fuel for your body. It is a habit, and until you have created enough new habits to replace the old, those old ones (and old emotional ties to food) will still rise up. Be gentle with yourself and recognize that you are working to change those habits, and one slip up is just that, a slip up. It doesn’t mean that you have erased all of the good that you have already done in the past week or two on your weight loss plan.
- Look at this slip up objectively by writing it down. Write down exactly what you ate and how much. Is it really that much in the grand scheme of things? If you get back on your healthy eating plan immediately, have you really “blown” anything? On the other hand, if you choose to go the other way and hit the drive-through on the way home, won’t you be doing the exact opposite of what you set out to do: lose weight? Our bodies are amazingly adaptable and resilient and you can choose to allow this one slip up to just be a bump in the road while you continue back down the path towards your original goal of weight loss.
- Recognize how you feel after eating the food. Do you feel guilty, shameful, are you putting yourself down for it, or saying that you were “bad”? Start right now by loving yourself through this slip up. Sit and breathe in the fact that you did it, ok, you did it. You are still the same person you were before you ate that food, you still have all of the wonderful qualities that make up the you that you are, and they have nothing to do with what you ate. This slip up has not erased any of your life’s accomplishments, and it has not taken any value away from the work you have already put into changing your health. Make the choice to not give it the power to derail you from your goal.
- Imagine that you are already at your goal weight, how would you proceed differently? If you were already at your goal weight, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program, and you ate the cookie, how would your thinking be different at that time? Would you still think you had blown it all, or would you instead think “well, one’s enough, I don’t want to regain any of the weight that I’ve lost”. Would you remember your accomplishment of reaching and maintaining your goal weight, or discount it as wasted work because you ate a cookie? Just like today, your current weeks of accomplishment leading up to a slip is not wasted time. You can get right back on track now, and keep heading towards your goal.
- Review your motivation for losing weight in the first place. Have you written down why you want to lose weight? What are your reasons? Is there strong emotion behind them, do they truly motivate you? If your reasons are strong and you have written them down, then you stand the best chance of beating perfectionist thoughts and getting right back on track. Keep your reasons on a piece of paper or 3×5 card, easily accessible and with you at all times. By keeping your reasons forefront in your mind, you stand the best chance of not getting derailed from your diet and reaching your goal. I have found this technique to be the most valuable one for getting me back on track after a slip up.
Food addiction and the chemical aspect of food aside, weight loss is mainly a mind game, in fact it is Ninety Percent Mindset!
Yes! It’s a fact. This is why 95% of dieters fail: Because they are only addressing the 10% of the solution (diet and exercise). What happens when you collect diet and exercise information but you don’t DO it? What Results do you get?
Your thoughts will control how successful you are at attaining and maintaining your goal weight and level of fitness. Once you master your mind and emotions in relation to food, you will have assured your success in weight management. A core, weight loss mindset is the key to your success.
The Fast Path to Lasting Success With Your Weight
To Make it Fast and Easy to get a weight loss mindset, take action with a proven, step-by-step system that has already gotten others before you results. If you are seeking struggle-free permanent weight loss then the proven system for you is The Inner Self Diet and your first step towards these results is completing an application for a complimentary weight loss discovery session.
This is for you if you’d love to stop asking yourself, “Why am I so smart and successful except for the topic of food and my weight?!”
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