You are probably excellent at your job. Whether you are an attorney, a CEO, or an entrepreneur, I am sure that you strive for excellence in everything you do. But when it comes to your health and your body, have you noticed that it’s impossible to always get it right? The same strategies you use to run a company or lead a team might not work because your body has a mind of its own.
Those who strive for perfection when it comes to diet and health invariably fail. It is unattainable. It is not real life. It is self-defeating. It is stressful and, if you have attempted this, you will know it is a losing proposition. Here are five keys to approaching health and wellness from a better, more enlightened perspective.
How You Can Win at Being Imperfect
- One of the core foundations for achieving optimal health and weight is to love yourself. You already know that beating yourself up gets you nowhere fast. And if you have in the past fallen into the trap of berating yourself for your food choices or for neglecting a good habit you vowed to implement, then you already know that this backfires. Like a child who has been yelled at, it”s hard to feel good about yourself when you are feeding yourself criticism and disappointment. If you remind yourself how much you have screwed up, making healthy choices around food, exercise, and nourishment in general is much more difficult. A loving, accepting attitude works wonders and puts you in a more positive state. This is the place from which you make pro-health choices. This goes a long way to steer you on course. Each positive move you make; each pro-health food choice that you gift your body with; and all movement and exercise that you do to honor your body can elicit self-encouragement, and an atta boy or atta girl. Then you can continue to make good choices. Here’s the point: focus on the positive and let go of when you veer off course. This focus on your part will bring more health and vitality to you, your life, and your body, then if you were to sit in judgement of yourself, counting your mistakes.
- Lifestyle adjustments are at the foundation to healthy living. The best you can do for yourself is upgrade your habits so that most of the time you are on track. Since perfectionism is unsustainable, it is a goal that will get in your way when you are making these adjustments. What you select to do to keep your body well-rested, hydrated, de-stressed, well-nourished, exercised, and balanced are day-to-day, sometimes minute-by-minute practices. The positives add up and negate the negatives, when you take care of yourself most of the time. If you move three steps forward and one-half step back, you will move yourself further down the line toward radiant vitality. This is a workable strategy and one that you can practice for an indefinite period of time. Therefore, striving for perfection will actually cause you to have a set-back. If you move up your health mountain steadily, you will experience and maintain more vibrant health then if you caused yourself to fall back down because you didn’t let yourself slip on occasion.
- You and your body must learn to have a trusting relationship. Let’s say that you have enjoyed several weeks of healthy eating. You have upped the veggies, and eliminated the sugar and junk. Yea for you! You love how you feel and that extra energy is the bomb. Now you go to your niece’s birthday party and there is the cake. What are you going to do? Some days you exercise the option of saying, No, thank you. That is a legitimate choice. On a good day you will focus on the fresh berries and happily decline the dessert. But consider this: It can still be a good day when you choose to have a sliver of cake without freaking out inside. Your body has been showing you how good you can feel when you are taking in the whole food. And you are committed to feeling that way. When you know and trust yourself, a sliver of cake does not need to undermine the good work you have done, and the good intentions you have moving forward. Don’t panic. Stay calm and remind yourself that you are still in control. Also, remember that when you have a little piece of cake and easily stop there, you can have a whole new level of awareness and appreciation about your ability to eat treats in moderation. Yea for you!
- It is critical that you know that imperfection does not mean game over. The more you stay on track, the more your body can handle the occasional exception. Yes, I mean really. A quick lesson in the human cell. If exposed to toxins and stress and if denied good nutrition, the cells in your body will conk out. They stop working, become inflamed, develop disease processes, and do not support you, your immune system, and many of your vital functions. However, if you normally provide good, whole food, plenty of hydration through pure water, and you take quality supplements, your cells are good soldiers and you can count on them. If your meals are balanced and complete, and your cells are hearty and strong, a piece of dark chocolate or an occasional ice cream cone will not create massive damage or destruction. You can still enjoy radiant optimal health and know that you have kept your risk to a minimum, while being perfectly and beautifully imperfect.
- Going sane around food and nutrition is essential to getting and staying well. This is, of course, the opposite of going crazy about what to eat and what not to eat. It is as important to practice being calm and centered around food and nutrition as it is to make healthy choices. Striving for perfection, saying that you were good one day, and bad on another, undermines your desire to be healthy, whole, and happy. Relax. Enjoy the occasional treat, remembering that it is an exception, not the rule. As you quit lugging around all of the judgement, fear, anxiety, and confusion around food and nutrition, you will discover that being calm has its own reward. Don’t make yourself sick and crazy trying to get healthy. An airplane is off course between Los Angeles and Honolulu about 85% of the time. It is course correcting continuously. This is similar to our health choices. Making adjustments, refining your practice, being more consistent, making good choices most of the time is darn good enough. Remind yourself that and your body will give you a hug and a kiss for being so loving toward it. Then your body will really love you back.
You are loved. You are worthy. You deserve to look and feel fantastic and you are not expected to be perfect.
With love and encouragement,
Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
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