My name is Michelle, and I am a recovering perfectionist.
I don’t know what it is, but trying to lose weight seems to bring out everyone’s inner perfectionist. If I asked you if you need to be perfect to lose weight, you’d most likely say, “Of course not! Hahaha, what a silly thing to say!”
But as soon as we eat something that puts us over our caloric deficit, we get this horrible feeling in the pit of our stomachs. We had a goal for the day, and now that it’s impossible for us to hit that goal, the whole day is ruined. And since it’s already ruined, what we eat the rest of the day doesn’t matter. We might as well go crazy and eat whatever we want.
Obviously, the logic doesn’t hold up. The effect of the calories we eat today will carry over tomorrow — it’s not like our bodies completely reset every morning. And if we took a moment to think about it rationally, we’d know that. But we aren’t thinking rationally anymore. At this point, our logical minds have been relegated to the backseat, and our emotions have grabbed the steering wheel. No worries; that always ends well.
Stop Expecting Perfection
We need to balance between expecting high effort and performance from ourselves but also acknowledging our inevitable failure to be perfect.
The beauty of this is when you expect failure, you can plan for it ahead of time. So think through a few likely scenarios before they happen.
After you eat a cookie that you shouldn’t have —
After you go on a bender and binge on everything in the house —
After you’ve stopped tracking your calories for months —
What will you tell yourself?
You should tell yourself that it is never too late to start up again. There is nothing you’ve done that can’t be undone with a little time and effort.
Stop caring about perfection. Start caring about persistence.
We will always wish we could rewind time and not have that extra beer, not binge, not avoid the scale for months. But we can’t. All we can do is acknowledge that we are where we are, what’s done is done, and our only choice to keep pushing toward our goal. Or, you know, we can always run away and join the circus — a classic method for avoiding problems.
Think about how this day will affect you long-term. Will one bad day matter in a year? Will a bad year matter five years from now? Definitely not.
So pick yourself up. Dust yourself off. And try again.
What About You?
Do you ever find yourself falling into the trap of perfectionism?