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Copyright – Institute for Educational Advancement

Perfectionism can be viewed as a positive trait. But, it can be a barrier in your journey towards your health and wellness goals.

Are you a perfectionist?  One of the main themes from a recent conference I attended was the topic of PERFECTIONISM. While many may think of this as being a good thing, because society tricks us into thinking that – it actually can be a bad thing.

What is perfectionism? It is when we strive to be perfect, to do everything 100%, or not at all.  It can create black and white thinking, and little flexibility in how you achieve your goals, or even in how you decide the goals you set for yourself.

It is a natural human tendency, especially in modern society, to want to achieve.  Perfectionism It is often thought of as a good thing and a desirable personality trait.  However, perfectionism can actually be a weakness.  When we strive to be perfect with our diet and our exercise, the perfect mom, and are hard on ourselves when we don’t live up to that expectation, it leads to disappointment.  This disappointment brings us back into the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting, trying to undue the “damage” we’ve done and our “failures.”

Being perfect is not expected.  If you are a black and white thinker – there are ways to overcome your perfectionist behaviors and to be happy with your progress.  To just be. How amazing would that feel?

This way of thinking will keep you motivated and allow you to enjoy the journey of losing weight, not put such an emphasis on the end goal.  If you put such strict rules on the process and then you don’t meet your goals, chances are you’ll be disappointed. 

Here are 5 ways to start overcoming your perfectionism:

1)      Stop comparing yourself to others.  

Compare yourself to only one person – YOURSELF. Compare your progress and successes to your past self, not anyone else’s.  Everyone has their own individual situation, metabolism, and history, so it’s unfair to compare your success to someone else’s.

2)      Aim for “good enough.” 

Get into the habit of doing “good enough” instead of “perfect” and be happy with that.  When you’re a mom juggling work, kids, house responsibilities, family, social life, and just doing the bare necessities, you have to have this way of thinking.  If not, you’re setting yourself up for frustration and disappointment.  Good enough is okay, and EVERYONE is good enough, no matter how they appear on social media.

3)      Accept that you are human.  

You will make mistakes, and you will do things you’re not proud of. This is human nature.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Learn from them and move on.  For example, you binged on 10 cookies one night because you had a crazy day, the kids were giving you a tough time at dinner, and you feel guilty and uncomfortable. Instead of beating yourself up for it, just remember you’re human.  Pick up the next day and do something that makes you feel good again, like your favorite exercise. 

4)      Enjoy the journey.  

Appreciate the little accomplishments you make in your weight loss journey.  You lost 5 lbs – great! You didn’t lose weight, but your pants fit so much better – great! You can run an extra mile without getting winded, awesome! You tried a new vegetable and actually liked it.  These are all worth celebrating. I celebrate my client’s wins every week to keep them motivated to keep going.

5)      Set realistic goals.  

If you have 3 kids under 5 and work full time, it may not be realistic to say you’re going to train for a marathon right now. Even if you are a past marathoner, that doesn’t mean you have to strive for that now. You’re not lazy if you say you just can’t do it.  It’s important to set realistic diet and exercise goals that fit within the stage of your life right now.  You can get into amazing shape and feel great about your body without spending hours at the gym.

Perfectionism can really hinder your success and make you feel down if you don’t meet your goals you set for yourself.  If you’re reading this and this sounds like you – you are not alone. 

But – this perfectionism is hurting you, not helping you. You have to give yourself grace and know the process of losing weight and improving your relationship with food will only come in time. There is absolutely no way of knowing exactly how much time – until you do it. Don’t fall for sales gimmicks that promise you will lose x amount of weight in x amount of time. This is why I require my clients 3 months of nutrition coaching because that is what is necessary for your success.

Weight loss and motherhood is a journey and you absolutely can take it one step at a time. That’s how you’ll lead to real change and finally, the end to the vicious cycle of dieting. I’m here to support you every step of the way.

Share a story you have where your perfectionism has hindered you!