Are you a perfectionist?
You know, I’ve always been a perfectionist.
I’m the person who always strove hard and beat myself up if I didn’t achieve what I was going for. It’s killed me all this time. I’m never good enough. Never helpful enough. Never smart enough. Never pretty enough. Never clever enough. Not focussed enough. Nothing but… well… a failure.
Why? Because when as perfectionists, we tend to set ourselves up with a do or die attitude. We die on every hill of the battle, instead of taking the occasional bullet and moving to the next hill.
Triggers for the perfectionist and possible solutions to consider:
1. Date goals for weight loss. If you keep failing when you put time restrictions on yourself, this is danger Will Robinson! More dangerous than those heels with that pantsuit, we’re talking about setting yourself up for failure. You either set too high a goal because you know you’re not going to make it anyway (thereby reinforcing the whole I’m a failure routine), or you start goofing around because you can’t afford to hit your goal. It’s counterproductive to your negative self-programming.
Don’t do it!
Instead, I note I didn’t have a deadline to put on that weight. What good is an arbitrary, man-made number going to do for me? Wake up, hot hootchie mama friend! Wake up!
I can look at the end as justifying the means. Focus on now. The today. The saying, “OMG, maybe I don’t have to be perfect!”
I mean, the horror, right?
Other options: shoot for smaller weight increments and weigh less often. You can survive in this challenge by being real and not focusing overly much on success versus failure as being black and white.
2. Throw the scale out the window if weighing is becoming obsessive. I know, I know. The last time you did that, you hit Auntie Edna’s ficus and she wasn’t very happy about it. Again, we’re talking about arbitrary data points for failure. You’re never going to weigh less enough, lose fast enough. You’re mad you ever gained so much. You’re a failure, failure, failure!
STOP! Is it really worth it? I’m losing weight and I’m feeling better. I sleep better. My clothes fit better. Am I so ruled by what the numbers say and use it to gauge my worthiness?
That’s so wrong! STOP IT! Get rid of the distraction.
Maybe you will choose to weigh only once a month. Maybe wait until the end of the year. Maybe you just write the number down on eat Monday of your calendar and ignore them until you have a few months’ worth showing you how steadily those numbers have really moved down!
3. STOP trying to be perfect. OMG! You ate an excess piece of lettuce by mistake. You didn’t know the waiter put black beans in your chipless nachos. It happens! Stop looking for reasons to beat yourself up! Maybe you forgot to write down what you ate and can’t remember if you had 13 net carbs or 14. Stop expecting everything has to be perfect or what’s the point. Nothing magical happens because you did nothing wrong all day. You’re still human. You’re still losing.
You just drink your water and know you didn’t wreck your diet. You don’t start over. Life doesn’t have a reset button. You keep going. To stop and unnecessarily beat yourself up doesn’t make sense. We spend most of our lives in maintenance. Do you think there won’t be occasionally flare-ups there? Roll with the punches. It was one goof in one meal.
Nothing at all in the overall scheme of things.
4. Emotions and bad stuff happens. I don’t care if we’re God’s gift to muliebrity or manhood while following any way of eating.Even when you have stuck to plan flawlessly and the weight is melting off of you like butter on a griddle, the boss is still a putz with a bad hairpiece and our kid might still be in juvie. Your kid’s teacher still talks more about her gastric bypass surgery than polynomials, and it rained today.
It HAPPENS! Embrace the imperfection of life with humor. Treat the emotions with a plan. Don’t try to push them down with food. And don’t internalize.
These things don’t happen to you because you deserve them!
Life happens whether we do our part to make ourselves better or not and it is not an indiocator that you are not worth wanting better health. Health makes problems better in that you can learn to cope with them without eating, but we don’t earn a pass on bad drivers on our way to work, even though our thighs are so slim even Angelina Jolie is envious.
5. Now smell the java with me a moment. Look at the mirror and you’re seeing someone who’s not been a very good friend to you. She’s been pretty mean. You treat everyone else better than you treat yourself, and you constantly sabotage your efforts in ways you never would anyone else.
Notice your triggers! You have them! Embrace the fact that every Thursday you watch a show and it makes you feel fat and unsophisticated so you decide to abuse yourself and eat. Stop watching the show. Or watch it while you exercise. Be pro-active.
Look for where you fail every time and why.
I’m telling you, it’s been an epiphany and a half to wake up one day and have to admit I’m a perfectionist and that all I’ve done all this time is set myself up to fail.
Sometimes, even its simplicity it’s harder to admit I’m human, to roll with the proverbial punches and to keep going.
But practice makes, well, perfect. So to speak.