Perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes. That fear, can create a not so fancy extra layer of unhealthy fat.
Have you ever caught yourself in a self deprecating loop?
You start your morning positive and ambitious. You eat a healthy breakfast and get a quick work out in. As the day goes on that perfectionistic voice in your head starts attacking you like a venomous snake. It wears on your psychi and your motivation.
By the end of the day you’ve chased the perfectionist down a rabbit hole so far that all you can see is your worthlessness. You could never lose weight, be confident, accomplish any of your goals. The night ends with you eating half a pan of brownies with that perfectionistic bully still belittling you.
For a lot of years, I thought being a perfectionist was a good thing. It made me detail oriented, helped me become a better artist, better writer, helped me get better grades, and on and on. What I didn’t see was how that same eye for detail also implanted a voice in my head that was anything but my friend. Actually, that voice was abusive.
Now that I’ve spilled the beans on most of the details I want to talk about today, let’s take a step back…. after all, we are suppose to be talking about how perfectionism made me fat and unhealthy.
Self Talk Influences Your Weight
You know that voice I was just talking about? Imagine for a second that you have a friend or partner that is constantly belittling you. You are always together, and I mean always, so there is absolutely no escape or break.
They critic everything about you all day long. You look in the mirror and they lean over your shoulder and whisper that you are not slim enough, your hair looks weird today, and that the blouse you’re wearing just doesn’t look quite right.
You eat a treat, and they yell at you. Telling you that you have no self control. You are worthless and will always be fat. You might as well give up.
You have a hard day and as you lay down in bed they ridicule you for every misstep from not being a good enough mother to not being like so and so who clearly has life figured out.
No wonder you need a comfort brownie!
Now tell me, how long would you stay in that relationship? How long until you start fighting back?
Either you won’t ever make a change, and you will be destroyed by that relationship. Or you will get the heck out!
Perfectionism Increases Stress
Now let’s take that image and imagine how stressed you’d be if you were in a relationship like that. It would not be healthy in any way, shape, or form. It would elevate your cortisol through the roof, and likely cause adrenal fatigue. It would most likely impact your sleep for the negative.
Perfectionism Creates Unrealistic Expectations
Perfectionists have a tendency to expect perfection. This sets them up for failure in two ways:
1- They set their goals low so that they won’t fail. This side of the coin sets them up for failure because they never reach their potential. They may, and often do reach these small goals but they are selling themselves short. It also creates a mindset where they don’t feel like they deserve to achieve more than the small goals they set. If it feels unattainable or like they could fail then they don’t deserve it or aren’t capable of that level of greatness.
2- They set a high goal, then fail to reach it, then give up quickly. For me this would often happen daily. Start the day strong, end the day in a pile of failed self pity. Because they think in terms of all or nothing they don’t allow any room for missteps, bad days, or inadequacies. This makes them more likely to give up, and then that voice comes out again.
Perfectionism Creates a Flawed Mental State
I really need to do a post or two about negative self talk, but I’ll touch on it here for now. Perfectionism drove me to self abuse. I spent years and years under the unkind thumb of a cruel perfectionist in my head.
Perfectionism Creates Negative Eating and Exercising Patterns
Perfectionism can create a laundry list of problems with food and exercise. For some this shows up as over exercising (clearly not my problem), and in others as anorexia. Most commonly this shows up as what I like to call dropping your phone and stepping on it syndrome.
You start strong. You eat a perfectly healthy breakfast. You take the stairs at work. Then the day gets stressful and you find yourself reaching for your favorite comfort food. Since generally speaking comfort foods don’t fit most people’s idea of a perfect diet, you then metaphorically step on your dropped phone and gorge on whatever you want. If the day isn’t perfect, you might as well perfectly ruin it.
The same pattern can be seen with exercising. If a perfectionist doesn’t work out every day of the week, they quickly give up and because if you can’t do it perfectly, why do it at all?
While social media is blasting you with the perfect side of every person, situation, house, and body, remember that true courage comes in the imperfect. The best book characters are deeply flawed or inadequate, the most inspirational people are ones that rise from adversity, the best leaders have a deep understanding of how challenging life is because they’ve been through tough stuff.
Beating yourself up about not achieving some arbitrary fantasy of perfection isn’t going to turn you into the hero of the story. The hero, the conquerer, is the one that keeps striving, that keeps over coming, that doesn’t except setbacks, and that doesn’t stop trying just because they haven’t arrived yet.
Ironically, if we were perfect we would actually be deeply flawed. Incapable of relating to other people and truly helping them. Also, incapable of growth. And without growth we would all die of boredom, and loneliness. Learning to embrace personal flaws might be one of the hardest things you ever do. I promise it will be worth it.
So let go of trying to be perfect. Give yourself a break from the relentless pressure. And stand tall with the courage to be imperfect. Stop being the cause of your stress, and instead give yourself grace and acceptance, and loving kindness. Quit giving up, and acknowledge that no path is linear.
Other Posts That Will Help You Tackle a Weight Issue
- Leptin Resistance: Create a Weigh Loss Lifestyle
- How to Cut Out Junk Food and Lose Weight
- 8 Tips to Naturally Balance Blood Sugar for Weight Loss
- Dealing with Emotional Eating and Weight Loss
- 10 Weight Loss Tips if You Hate Fad Diets
- Real Food for Real Weight Loss: 7 Steps
- How to Stop Dieting: Tips That Will Change the Way You Look at Food