Along with my perfectionism comes many other traits:
- I’m an all-or-nothing person
- I’m a rule follower
- I’m afraid of failure
- I measure success only by the goal, not the process
- I have a guilty conscience
Now being a perfectionist isn’t as bad as I just made it sound. These characteristics are what make me detail-oriented, highly organized, extremely driven (resume keywords, anyone?) and great at my job.
It also makes me fantastic at dieting but horrible at living a balanced life.
When I took on a Whole30 nearly two years ago, the 30 days without grains, dairy, sugar, and alcohol wasn’t actually much of a challenge at all. My rule following ways and my fear of failing basically forced me to succeed.
The challenge, however, was after the month was over and the rules were gone. Because of my all-or-nothing personality, I felt overwhelmed by my freedom to choose. To choose whether I would indulge in a paleo brownie. To choose whether I would reintroduce dairy into my diet. To choose whether I would go out to my favorite Chicago pizza joint and full heartedly dive into a slice of stuffed crust sausage and pepperoni deep dish. The fear was if I had one bite, could I stop myself from eating it all?
At first I treaded lightly, cautiously. I didn’t want to ruin the benefits I’d experienced after cutting out processed food. But quickly my extreme ways came flooding back and I was face first into a McDonald’s cheeseburger (or three), feeling ashamed, guilty, and just straight up mad at myself.
So what’s a perfectionist to do?
The answer: Change my mindset.
I’ve realized that for me, anyone who is trying to eat more naturally is on the path to health. Whether you’re vegan, paleo, gluten free, low carb, high carb, buy everything organic, buy nothing organic, or are just trying to eat more vegetables, I believe that all people who are making conscious food choices are making better choices for their health. There’s no perfect way of eating.
Healthy Eating Reminders
- It’s a journey.
- Some progress is better than no progress.
- We don’t have all the answers.
- Every body is different and has different needs.
- Your “healthy” isn’t everyone’s healthy.
- Consciously indulge and enjoy guilt-free.
- Learn how to listen to your body.
- Strive for balance.
- Forgive yourself.
- Keep going.
Each day I try to find balance in all aspects of my life. I’ve learned that if I want to eat something that’s not nutritionally the best choice for me, that’s okay! But I need to make the conscious decision to eat it, enjoy every minute, and not allow myself to feel badly about it later. For me, this is “healthier” than always restricting myself. And on those days that I may indulge a little too heavily, I remind myself that I only have one life to live and I shouldn’t beat myself up, but instead forgive myself, learn from my mistake, and continue striving to be as healthy as I can be.
Related Post: 7 Health Benefits of Eating Unprocessed Food