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Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Progress not Perfection: The #1 problem that will sabotage your weight loss efforts

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

I don’t know about you but I’ve been feeling quite overwhelmed lately! I’ve got so much to do, so little time, and just not enough resources to get everything done the right way! I’m sure you can all relate. However, I often have to remind myself that these feelings are NORMAL. Life ebbs and flows; sometimes things are easy and effortless and other times it seems like nothing can possibly go our way. We get caught up feeling like “if I can’t do it perfectly, then why even bother?!” But you know what? That’s just procrastination. It’s an excuse. We are all guilty of this, myself included! I have a very strong perfectionist mentality and it paralyzes me. A little bit of self sabotage anyone?!

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Perfect or not at all. This is a very common roadblock when it comes to proper diet and leading a healthy lifestyle. We have great intentions in the beginning and are super committed but then we have a little slip up, cravings kick in, we get off track, then feel like we need to do something drastic to “reverse” what we’ve done, then we start researching every fad diet out there and restricting our intake, and then of course we get overwhelmed, and before we know it, everything has spiraled out of control and we’re actually doing worse than when we started! Cue the yo-yo dieting!

My friend has this saying, “The problem, is not the problem, it’s your attitude toward the problem.”

We put SO MUCH pressure on ourselves to be “perfect” that one little slip up means that we are failures destined for a life pain, suffering, and constant failure…sound a little dramatic? Well, so is that little voice inside our head! She’s a total drama queen! She will go through every negative thought and emotion possible:

“I’m fat and I’ll always be fat.”

“I can’t lose weight because I have no self control.”

“I always do this.”

“I’m a failure.”

“I hate my body.”

“I’ll never change.”

“I guess I’m not supposed to have the body I want.”

“Why do I even bother, I can never get my stuff together and actually commit to anything.”

and the list goes on and on….

The problem actually lies in our attitude. Our attitude is that we’ve already failed and that not being perfect = failure. Lets take a step back and look at the big picture, have we actually failed? I have clients that have lost 25+ lbs, look like completely different people, and have totally changed their lives then hit a plateau and now feel like epic failures. They forgot how far they’ve come… It’s all about perspective and attitude. We have to keep our eyes on the end goal, “the dream”, instead of obsession over the (inevitable) setbacks along the way.

Think of an Olympic athlete. We look at them and we see fame, medals, and glory but remember they all started somewhere. Imagine a gymnast, as a little kid they were probably awkward, clumsy, and made silly mistakes. As they got a little older they started to develop more control of their body, became more graceful, and got stronger so they could do more difficult tricks. Then much later (usually after at least 10 years of intense training) they finally became an Olympian. Even though all we see is the final “perfect” product, we must also remember what a long and difficult journey it was for many of them to get there.  They don’t just start out as Olympians, they go through years and years of training. Through those years there were probably times of great triumph as well as heartbreaking failures. Ask most athletes, and they’ll tell you that they learned more from defeat than anything else. Failure is just a tool for learning. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about learning and getting back up everytime you fall.

You can apply this perspective to yourself and your diet. Remember that, just like the young Olympian, you are also going to go through all of these stages. Starting from the beginning awkward stages, then getting stronger, and finally perfecting your lifestyle (which if you’re like me took almost 6 years before I really felt like “I’ve got this down”). If you’ve had a failure and are making poor decisions, learn from it, don’t beat yourself up. Make a list of the negative thoughts you’re having and then replace them with a positive action step. For example:

“I’m fat and I’ll always be fat.” I may not be where I want to be right now but I’m going to make veggies and dip to have on hand to snack on instead of potato chips.

“I can’t lose weight because I have no self control.” I’m going to make a commitment to have my Green Smoothie for breakfast every morning.

“I always do this.” I’m going to write out a healthy meal plan this week and go to the grocery store to make sure I have everything I need.

“I’m a failure.” If I stick to this plan all week, I’m going to reward myself with a manicure.

“I hate my body.” If I stick to this all month, I’m going to reward myself with a spa day.

“I’ll never change.” I am changing and I’m committed to making regular trips to the grocery store so that I always have healthy items.

“I guess I’m not supposed to have the body I want.” When I get down on myself I’m going to take a walk or draw a hot bubble bath to relax and clear my mind.

“Why do I even bother, I can never get my stuff together and actually commit to anything.” I’m going to keep a daily journal of my food intake so I can hold myself accountable.

Remember, it’s not about being perfect, perfection doesn’t exist!! I still mess up from time to time but the difference now after all these years is that I don’t let it affect me. One little slip is one little slip. I stay focused on doing what makes my body feel good, what gives me real energy, and what keeps my mood balanced and move towards that!

I hope this exercise helps you to see the big picture. Changing diet and lifestyle is a journey and it’s not about perfection, it’s about steady improvement. Remember why you got into this in the first place! You wanted to feel better, have better concentration, clearer skin, better moods, easier periods, faster recovery from workouts, less sickness, more energy, clear thinking, and so much more! Stay focused on that, not the scale, not what you’re doing wrong, not being skinny, not the negative thoughts in your head, but rather on the “Olympic Dream” of finally accomplishing a healthy body which = having the clear skin, energy, sleep, body that you want, etc! Shift your focus and don’t worry about being perfect. Take a deep breath, be good to yourself, and simply focus on the small changes and corrections you can make right now. Eventually those small changes will add up and you’ll be enjoying a magnificently healthy bod and all the perks that go with it!


It's not about having the perfect body, but one that you really enjoy being in! -Linda Wagner Nutrition

I may not have the “perfect” body but it’s one I really enjoy being in!

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