Perfectionism + Weight Loss = Recipe for Disaster
How one candy bar made my diet a sweet memory.
I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
The best example is my attempt to knit. I nearly went off the deep end.
About five years ago, I attended a class at the Parsippany Adult and Community Education program to learn how to knit. The teacher was patient and used enormous knitting needles so that we all could see her demonstration easily. Under her tutelage, I started a sampler.
While at home, I Googled scarf patterns online. While knitting a scarf and after finishing a length, I made a mistake--which meant unravelling and starting all over again. Needless to say, this happened again and again, until I became a madwoman.
For weeks I made countless attempts to perfect this scarf. One day, with tangled, frayed yarn piled around me, I decided knitting was just not for me. I could never get it exactly right.
True to form, I made mistakes in my weight-loss challenge and sort of gave up this past week.
After a perfect week of eating healthy and light foods, I could see results. Then, over the weekend, I relaxed the rules. It wasn’t a binge or anything, but snacks wormed their way back in. And I mentally checked out.
“Diet Unsuccessful! Eat at Will!” my brain shouted.
And I started my late night snacking again.
There is a great article on Prevention magazine’s site here about not letting perfectionism ruin your weight loss journey.
Here’s a synopsis, in case anyone else is suffering along with me:
1. Start now. Don’t pick a date, time, etc. Just start making healthier choices right now.
2. There is no “bad.”-don’t use definitive terms for food. Watch portions of sweets and try to eat healthy foods.
3. You won’t win by eating the least. It’s not a contest to see who can eat the least amount of calories. Just watch your portion sizes.
4. Don’t be a martyr to your diet. Find a healthy, reasonable weight loss plan that meets your needs.
5. Don’t eliminate foods you love. Just eat them in moderation. For example, try one slice of pizza, with a large salad.
6. This one’s for me! If you make a mistake, move on, don’t quit!
7. Don’t think about failed past attempts. The article suggests this as a mantra: "The key to optimal physical health and mental wellness is progress, not perfection."
Right now, I’m not nibbling on anything. Don't plan to. Tomorrrow I will try to continue to eat in a healthy, mindful way.