As a perfectionist, I have always worked my hardest at everything I do. So when it came to losing weight, I was sure I could do it easily. I just needed to put my mind to it…and I did…But instead of losing weight, I gained weight. And the more I gained, the more I wanted to lose…
Until I realized all I was truly losing was my sanity.
For me, “putting my mind to it” was trying to have as many “perfect” days in a row as possible. If I did indulged in any “bad” foods, no matter how small, I felt that I had failed. I was sure if I could just train myself to avoid these things for as long as possible, eventually I’d never miss them and lose the weight.
Although this was a noble goal, it wasn’t realistic for who I am, and it sure as hell wasn’t a way to live a happy life. It only resulted in me being in a constant state of war with myself.
Finally I realized I had to learn how to let go of this need to be perfect and begin setting realistic goals while still loving myself unconditionally. Instead of trying to be the ideal image of health, I needed to learn how to be healthy in my own way by practicing moderation instead of deprivation. Mindset is everything.
If you struggle with a similar battle, consider trying a few of these mindset shifts that helped me let go of my perfectionism and finally lose the weight.
Step 1: Make Peace with Yourself
First and foremost, stop being your own worst enemy by thinking badly of yourself. The more you love and respect yourself, the more likely you are to make healthy decisions that make you feel your best. Accept yourself as you are currently. This isn’t as easy as flipping a light switch; it will take time, just like any relationship does. Make it a daily practice to say nice things to yourself, no matter how false those nice things may sound at first. You are the only person guaranteed to be in your life forever—you may as well love yourself!
Step 2: Get Back to Basics
Stop getting distracted by the millions of ways to lose weight and focus on the main thing that is needed: a caloric deficit. Stay within your recommended calorie limit and be happy with that. And if calorie counting is not for you, look into portion control and intuitive eating! Everyone is different, but for me, keeping it simple was the best choice for my sanity.
Step 3: Be Yourself, Not What You “Should” Be
If even the thought of eating kale salads and squash soup makes you feel queasy, don’t sabotage yourself by making yourself eat them. Weight loss is about creating healthy habits that work for YOU—not whatever works for everyone else. This is the fun part of weight loss! Do you love cheeseburgers and pizza? Research ways to make healthier versions of your favorite kinds! Start where YOU are, not where the millions of health articles say you’re supposed to be.
Step 4: Keep Moving Forward
Old habits die hard. You’re going to feel like you’ve screwed up every now and then. However, beating yourself up will only set yourself up for more failure. Our ability to make good decisions is actually impaired when our brain is experiencing negativity. Instead of dwelling on the fact you aren’t “perfect,” remind yourself of your goals and go back to making the choices that make you feel good. The more you practice this, the easier it will be to bounce back from less healthy choices.
Step 5: Focus on Enjoying Life
Your very existence in this universe is a miracle. There is an unlimited number of things to learn, places to go, hobbies and passions to discover, people to connect with, etc. Life is pretty damn amazing and should never be taken for granted. Although your health and weight are important to you, never let it take away from the miracle your existence is. Whenever you find yourself feeling down about how imperfect you feel, look at the bigger picture. I guarantee it will put your worries in perspective.
Do any of these mindset shifts sound good but you’re not sure how you’d accomplish them? If so, feel free to contact me to talk about it more–comment, DM on Twitter/Instagram, email, whatever works best for you. It helps to have some support! As I said earlier, these shifts don’t change you overnight, but the more you practice them, the sooner it will come naturally to you and you’ll feel so much better. I hope to talk to you soon 🙂