One day, not too long ago, I posted a picture on Instagram that was on the topic of loving who you are, no matter what others think. It went viral and Heidi Powell from ABC shared it on her page. A funny thing happened, some people posted how much they loved my thoughts and some people posted how fake I was (more colorfully than that). A few years ago, that would have broken me, my confidence, my drive because I must not have done something “right”. But instead, I laughed it off and knew that I stayed true to myself, imperfections and all.
For years, I struggled with the idea of needing to create a perfect life. Be the perfect student, perfect employee, perfect friend, perfect dieter, the perfect body, perfect everything to everyone. If only I could be perfect, I would be happy right?
But after having my daughter and looking into her eyes, I realized this is an unattainable and unhealthy goal. I would never want my children to strive for perfection, so why am I doing it to myself? And what is ‘perfect’ anyway? Who is the judge of this? For a long time, I put the control in the hands of other people- friends, bosses, boyfriends, complete strangers that I wanted approval from because for some reason that meant something.
This little mindset game is unfortunately the bane of all perfectionists existence. We aim to please and be perfect, all the while ignoring the physical and emotional toll it is taking on our bodies. We become stressed, burnt out, sleepless and sometimes completely lost in living other people’s lives rather than our own. None of this sounds like it equals happiness, does it?
Maybe you’re thinking , this is great and all Kristen, but I’m not a perfectionist in my day to day life.
In fact, maybe you are the opposite of perfectionist.
And this may be true.
But have you ever been someone that jumps from diet to diet, avoids certain foods because “it keeps your weight under control” or maybe you have repeatedly “failed” or “fallen”off after a week or two of trying a new program?
Maybe you started going to the gym every day only to be like, this is just not working for me- and quit all together.
Then you think, “why does this keep happening to me?!”
It might be that you are suffering from the Perfect Diet Syndrome.
A ‘condition’ in which you only think you can be successful if you stick to eating 100 calorie packs, grilled chicken, and vegetables for every meal or you are off the wagon. A condition where a glass of wine or some pizza causes you to throw in the towel, go over board, and ‘start over’ on Monday because social life got in the way again.
This sneaky condition is full of shoulds, comparison, and feelings of guilt or shame.
This mindset trap is tricking you into thinking the only way to lose fat is by being miserable, weighing food, logging numbers, and spending hours in the gym. You think you have to be ‘on a plan’ to be able to lose weight. And your brain is really good at making you believe this.
It will start telling you things like“I failed again,” “No one can live like this,” “this is impossible” –sound familiar?
Then, even better, it will tell you “I deserve some pizza and really, why bother with this whole plan anyway if it is going to be this hard?
Here is the good news. You’re half way right- NO one can live like this, especially a busy mom who has ten million things to take care of and probably little sleep to go with it. The last thing we need as moms is to be wasting mental energy on hunger or hating our food. I don’t care what anyone tells you, It is totally unsustainable to tell yourself you are going to only eat lettuce from this day forward and never have a treat. It sounds sad even as I type this. I don’t want this for you, you don’t want this for you. So why are you still trying to force it to fit? I am giving you permission to stop.
So if you stop dieting and thinking from a numbers standpoint, then what? Maybe fear starts to set in? A lot of the women I work with feel lost without the numbers because they don’t have any structure then. What rules will they follow? How will they plan? How will they succeed?
So here is the #1 thing I teach Moms when we first start working together:
Stop looking at the numbers, put down the Fitness Apps and Start Asking Yourself How YOU feel!
Yes, it really is that simple.
I want you to pay attention to how the food you eat makes you feel while you’re eating and after you are done eating. Does it leave you satisfied or are you still searching the cabinets? Are you stuffed for hours after you finish? Do you crash and crave sugar afterwards?
I will help you a bit more here since this might be new for you-
Ask yourself some questions when it comes to your eating habits and really listen to your body.
1) Am I eating because I am bored, stressed, or really hungry right now?
2) When I eat, am I satisfied for a few hours or 30 minutes?
3) What types of food am I craving (salty, sweet, crunchy) and what time of day do I crave them?
4) Did the food leave me energetic or lethargic and tired?
The answers to these questions are powerful and simple. But we have forgotten how to listen to these cues, we blame ourselves for all the cravings or ‘loss of willpower’ when really it might not be the issue at all.
Your body is sending you powerful Biofeedback messages (hormones) every single time you eat and once you learn how to listen to these signals and start to trust them, you will be able to start unlocking your personal fat loss formula for good. What does that mean? You will never need a ‘perfect’ plan again.