Yesterday, I had a conversation with a woman who wanted to set a goal of eating perfectly for just 2 weeks.
“If I can do this, I would feel so much better about myself. Every time I’ve tried to do it in the past, I’ve FAILED miserably. This is what I need help with”.
So, first of all, I don’t help people achieve nutritional perfection because I don’t believe there is such thing.
Second, when women come to me for help with ‘eating’ there are always some underlying issues that haven’t been addressed and they’re trying to solve them by adding a few more vegetables into their day. For the record, that DOESN’T work.
I would’ve done her a huge disservice if I ended the conversation right there and gave her some general advice on what and what not to eat. Adding on more food rules is NEVER the answer…to anything.
After a few probing questions, we finally got closer to the heart of the matter. I asked her to visualize what would happen in her life after 2 weeks of eating perfectly. Her answers didn’t really surprise me, but they were a huge revelation to her: it would mean that she’s good, worthy of love and approval from her boyfriend, and it would show that she’s “trying hard” to lose weight and not just sitting around on her ass.
For her, getting to perfect meant that she would be a better person who would suddenly be deserving of love.
I know what it’s like to be on that wild-goose chase. I used to treat perfection like it was the highest level on a video game…slaying all the dragons and monsters along the way to finally reach the pot of gold, or whatever is at the end of video games these days.
I was on a quest to attain the unattainable… to meet a standard that doesn’t exist in real life.
It always ended the same way…frustration, disappointment, shame, and a long trek back to the starting place to do it all over again.
This is no way to live life, which is why I chose something different. I invite YOU to choose something different if you find yourself listening to that little voice in the back of your head that tells you to aim for it.
So, I ask you: HOW WILL YOU KNOW WHEN YOU’VE ARRIVED AT PERFECTION?
Whether it’s with food, exercise, work, your body, or your relationships…what are you hoping will be the thumbs up that you’re doing it right:
- Dress sizes or pounds lost?
- The number of days, week, or months that you’re able to resist your favorite food (a.k.a. deprive yourself)?
- Your spouse’s/mother’s/co-worker’s approval?
I have an assignment for you: Grab a pen & a piece of paper. Take at least 10-15 minutes and write down the things that will let you know when you’ve arrived at perfection. Then, for each one, ask yourself “what’s important to me about that?” and write it down. Keep going until you can’t think of anything else.
Here’s an example:
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN I GET TO PERFECT? When I lose 20 pounds.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO ME ABOUT LOSING 20 LBS? I’ll be able to fit into the red dress I wore at the Christmas party last year.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO ME ABOUT THAT RED DRESS? I received a lot of compliments from my husband, my friends, and family.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO ME ABOUT RECEIVING COMPLIMENTS? It made me feel beautiful, desirable, and loved.
And so on…just keep going and see what comes up.
I would love to hear how this exercise went for you. After you’ve done it, leave me a message in the comments section below.
I want to leave you with this: the time you spend in pursuit of perfection…of someone else’s ideal, the less time you can spend on getting to know who YOU truly are.
I’ll see you next week!