Monday, May 16, 2011

Plant-Strong Success Tip #8: Progress Not Perfection

Perfectionist thinking.

I'll bet it's something that a lot of readers of HGK suffer from. Personally, I'm no stranger to it.

While this may work in other areas of your life (and I'm doubtful that it does, but let's leave that for the therapist's couch!) perfectionist thinking will backfire like nobody's business when it comes to your diet.

Imagine this scenario: You are on a "diet." You have been great at sticking to the plan for 5 days. You attend a 5 hour long dress rehearsal for your kids' annual ice skating spectacular. The adults running the show believe that it's a good idea to have a room full of things like pizza, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, birthday cake, chips and sugary drinks available to all of the kids and adults during said dress rehearsal. You "indulge" in a piece of cookie, a bite of cake, a leftover pizza crust and an entire blondie while you are at the rink (but who's counting?). You know "that" food is not "on your plan" but worse than that, you physically and emotionally feel like crap after eating the sweets.

What is going on in your head now?

Are you beating yourself up? Are you telling yourself that you blew it and now you might as well eat more junk? Does this carry over into how you eat for the rest of the day (possibly a binge)? Maybe into the next day, the next week, the next month? Do you tell yourself that you can't possibly stick to a healthy eating plan so you might as well give up and eat whatever you want?

Or, do you acknowledge that it wasn't the best choice and decide to go back to your healthy eating plan immediately? Can you let it go, really let it go, right then and move on? I'll bet you can if you just give it a try. That's how I got off the vicious cycle of beating myself up about poor food choices and I have never looked back.

Even Rip Esselstyn says it's "plant-strong" NOT "plant-perfect."

Do you suffer from perfectionist thinking when it comes to your diet?

Do you think you can give it up so that you can have a healthy relationship with food?

Can you feel good (even great) about the progress you have made and remind yourself of that when you experience self-doubt?


Alipet813 said...

I need that piece of art!

I struggle with this perfection issue. I mess up and then I think I might as well give up. This time I have been more realistic and it has been much easier to get back on track.

Karena said...

This is something that I really struggle with. Honestly? I don't know if I can give it up. I know it's the biggest hindrance to my healthy living endeavors.

How did YOU change that mindset? Because I've said I was going to change it, believed I meant it et al, but it's always there.

Chef AJ said...

This is exactly why I do not resonate with hard core low fat vegan raw foodists. They are "veganer than thou" and constantly put down anyone who does not meet their extreme idea of plant perfection. I am not plant strong or plant perfect. After 34 years as a vegan I now consider myself plant indulgent.

I always tell my students that ANYTHING they do in the direction towards optimum health is bette than NOTHING, as even small incrememntal changes done consistently over time can lead to big result.

Just because you can't do EVERYTHING doesn't mean you shouldn't do ANYTHING.

All or none thinking (or doing) in ANY area is what gets us into trouble.

Great post Wendy, great blog!!!

Love & Kale,
Chef AJ

Liana said...

Ha! I feel like you knew I ate two pieces of chocolate, half a peanut butter chocolate brownie and an almond cookie yesterday (my first "cheat" singe 2/1). I felt totally out of control. But I jumped right back on that saddle. I have been a victim of perfectionist thinking far too many times to know it isn't realistic. Now I just think "what would I want my own children to do?" I always want the best for them. And I go with that.

Wendy (Healthy Girl) said...

Karena-I worked a program using the book "The Beck Diet Solution" by Dr. Judith Beck. It was a six week program and I went through it on my own at least twice. There is one exercise every day. The program completely changed the way I thought about food and related things. I literally went from thinking like an overweight person to thinking like a thin person. Prior to reading the book, I wasn't even aware of how damaging and distorted my thought patterns were. Good luck!

Karena said...

Thanks for the book recommendation, Wendy. I usually shy away from books with the word "diet" in the title, but after reading your comment and checking it out on Amazon, it sounds like something I really ought to read. I'll keep you posted on how it goes :)

Wendy (Healthy Girl) said...

Karena-Do NOT shy away from The Beck Diet Solution!!!!!!! It is the single best book you can read if you struggle with overeating.

Amy said...

Thanks for posting this. I struggle with perfectionism in my whole like including my diet ( as in what I eat not to lose weight). I am really working on this. Thanks for the book suggestion.

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