Make Progress, not Perfection
The colossal irony of perfectionism is that it can stop us achieving anything at all.
If you aim for perfection, the whole idea of healthy eating or trying to lose weight can be intimidating. The thought that you have to cut out the foods you love, eat salads and hit the gym every day (which isn’t true, by the way!) can be pretty daunting. If that is the idea we have in our heads, we procrastinate. I’ll start on Monday becomes the mantra whilst continuing to overindulge and be sedentary in the meantime. Procrastination is routed in perfectionism, the idea that we must be perfect is scary, and we don’t want to do it yet.
Perfectionism with diet also means that when we do ‘slip up’ and eat some chocolate, we tell ourselves our diet is ruined so we may as well go back to doing nothing again. We may as well eat a pizza, chips, a whole tub of ice cream and start again on Monday. But if you think about the total calories you’ve just consumed vs. if you’d just eaten the chocolate, viewed it as a balanced treat, and then carried on as normal, you can see how the ‘all or nothing’ mentality can cause your weight to constantly fluctuate, or even cause weight gain!
When it comes to sustainable weight loss, overly restrictive diets very rarely work. Our bodies are smart, they are incredibly resilient against threat, and starving is a threat. Therefore when you’re starving, your body craves fast-releasing energy (sugar) and calorie-dense options (fat). Foods that are high in sugar and fat, like chocolate and ice cream, are very appealing. Often, binge-eating is actually a survival response.
You don’t need to ‘cut out’ foods
For optimum health, it’s a good idea to keep certain food groups like sugar and trans fats to a minimum, and eat plenty of fresh fruit & veg and whole grains. But it’s also about balance, visit Best You for advice and tips on maintaining a balanced diet https://best-you.org/Dashboard/PersDash/HealthyWeight/Deck/BalancedDiet
If we take pizza for example, you don’t need to cut out pizza to lose weight, but what may help is having half a pizza, and a salad on the other half your plate. This will cut the calories of your meal almost in half and add some healthy vitamins. You don’t need to cut out chocolate, but just allow yourself a couple of squares a day, or one bar a week. Perfectionism will have you eating the entire chocolate bar in one sitting because you don’t know when you’ll next be allowed it!
Visualise the future
Losing weight isn’t temporary, it’s a lifelong process. Once you’ve lost the amount you’re happy with, you then have to maintain that too. If you go back to how you did before, you will gain the weight again. It is also, and people rarely want to hear this, a very long, slow process which isn’t linear. Some weeks you’ll put a bit of weight back on, and some weeks you’ll maintain, and that’s ok too. The slower the weight loss, the more sustainable it’ll be. Go into it with this in mind, rather than going on a temporary ‘diet’, how can you improve your lifestyle in a way that you can stick to for the rest of your life?
Start today, not on Monday, and don’t forget to track your progress on https://best-you.org/