Do You Suffer from Perfectionism? How to Develop a Healthy Mindset
Allow yourself to
fail if you want to achieve optimal health. A lot of us suffer from perfection.
We want to do things perfectly, or we get frustrated and we might not even want
to do them at all. If we do not do things perfectly, we might start judging
ourselves and be very hard on ourselves. We forget that we are human.
If you are going to
do something and work towards a goal, you are going to make mistakes,
especially along your health journey. You are going to mess up at times. It is
not that hard to cut out a lot of the processed foods, especially if you have
to for health reasons. But if you had to cut out something that you really
loved in the past, you might give in to temptation at times and be angry with
yourself, or you might skip it, and feel miserable.
It is very easy to
set up a bunch of rules to follow when trying to become healthier, but the more
rules you have, the more opportunities you have to mess up. I do not recommend
that you have more than three goals that you trying to achieve at once, and you
can add more over time. This will help you not get overwhelmed and give up.
The aim is not to be
perfect. The aim is to change over time and make the habits automatic. It is
not going to be like that at first, but over time, it will become a lot easier.
When you quit sugar at first, and you go through that initial withdrawal, your
willpower will be tested greatly.
Imagine you are at a
dinner party and someone brings out ice cream or cake, and you want to say no,
you desperately want to say no, but then they ask you if you want some. You
mentally strong that day, say no thank you, and feel proud of yourself;
impulsive, and in the moment, say yes please, eat the dessert, and feel
guilty for the next two days; or
could make a conscious decision to eat the dessert, enjoy it mindfully,
and not feel guilty about it.
The first and third
options are both perfectly okay. Accept and eat the cake or the ice cream if
you want to and if you feel like it will be worth it, enjoy it, and move on. We
believe in following the 80/20 rule, or if you want to be stricter, the 90/10
rule. This is where you eat healthily 80% or 90% of the time, and allow
yourself to indulge 10% to 20% of the time.
If you do struggle
from perfectionism, and you obsess about being perfect with your diet or with
your workout programme, even though you still mess up, so you are upset with
yourself, but you know that you never do things perfectly or stick to things
100% when first trying to change them, why not accept that and why not say “ok,
I will allow myself to mess up and to indulge, or to skip a workout here and
If you commit
yourself to doing things according to plan 80% or 90% of the time, you will
still get a lot of benefits, and you will suffer less along the way.
Yes, if you did stick
to things 100%, you might reach your goal faster, but the journey will suck a
lot more, and you might be more miserable along the journey. Why not say “ok,
I’ll allow myself to do this over a six-month longer period”, so you do it over
two years instead of a year and a half, or you do it over a year instead of six
months, just to allow yourself that time and that space to breathe, to not
worry about being perfect, and to not feel that time pressure.
Rather go longer, but
suffer less and not torture yourself along the way. You have a lot more time
than you think you have. Becoming superhuman and achieving optimal health is a
journey, and it is not something that happens in six months or a year, so you
may as well just say to yourself: “I have time. I do not have to rush things,
so if I mess up, it is ok.” There is time to fix it if you eat a sugary meal or
you load up on carbs.
If you are trying to
be perfect 100% of the time, it can make you more feel more stressed and
anxious. When you are anxious and stressed, your cortisol levels go up.
Cortisol is the main stress hormone, and when elevated too often, it has so
many negative side effects to your health, including the breakdown of collagen,
adrenal fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, and inflammation.
So, trying to be
perfect 100% of the time could actually also damage your health.
Maybe trying to be perfect 100% of the time and feeling stressed will get you the same results as trying to stick to things 80% of the time while allowing yourself to indulge, but being less stressed, therefore, your health will be better.
Think about the
French paradox. France is one of the healthiest countries in the world, as well
as Italy. They allow themselves to eat dessert and to drink wine, but they have
a healthy relationship with food. They socialise around food, they are not as
stressed and obsessed with food as a lot of us are, and that has a lot to do
with health as well.
So, if being perfect
is stressing you out, then maybe for the sake of your health, you should allow
yourself to indulge and you should allow yourself to mess up and to not be
perfect. And if you do mess up, take deep breaths, and remember that you are
human and you do not have to be perfect because you are competing with nobody
else, you are just competing against yourself.
You are just trying
to be the healthiest version of yourself. You are just trying to become the
superhuman version of you, and you want to have fun with it and enjoy
experimenting and testing out what effects things have on your body. Do not
want stress about it too much. Just enjoy the journey