I suspect some of you reading this are very rule oriented about food – “I should eat this because it’s good for me and I shouldn’t eat that because it’s bad for me.” Always fighting to reach an ideal of “perfect” eating.
It’s like we have this fantasy that each day we will eat only nutritious foods without any added treats – no chocolate or wine or oatmeal cookie. Only green juice, kale, steamed veggies, tempeh, grilled fish, eggs, etc. We’ll drink plenty of water, meditate, get in our exercise and go to bed early.
And, each day we don’t fulfill this fantasy we feel like a failure.
I’ve certainly been there in my past…striving to eat perfect and be perfect. And this week the topic came up with a private coaching client, as well as from one of our group members in Feel Good in Your Bikini.
Both were questioning if it was possible to stop controlling their food and allow themselves to enjoy it.
The “perfect” eating model (aka fantasy) gets in the way of this. Which is why I pose the question:
Can you allow yourself to be perfect today? Perfect now, in all your imperfections.
When you see yourself (or your body or relationship with food) as broken, then that automatically makes you want to fix it. And fixing it requires tremendous effort, discipline and rules—according to our culture and your Ego.
In reality, there is NOTHING wrong with you. Your essence is perfect because your essence is love. The issue links to the actions we take from the motivation of “I need fixing”—that creates the problem.
What if there were no problem? What if there were no such thing as perfect eating? What if perfect eating included a donut, chocolate chip cookie or French fries?
I have a feeling some of you are thinking, “What? A donut can’t be included in a perfect diet.”
Well – you may just think differently when I share my diet with you. Yesterday morning I had a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free [NOT calorie-free] muffin. (FYI: If you’ve been reading my blog for a bit, you know I’ve been working with a doctor and have changed my diet due to food allergies—thus the gluten, dairy & soy-free choice.)
For a snack I had a handful of potato chips and some sliced turkey. For lunch I had a big salad, followed by grilled fish and veggies for dinner with a couple pieces of dark chocolate for dessert. I may have even indulged in a little glass of red wine.
Head’s up: There was a time in my life when I would’ve beaten myself up for eating that way—and that doesn’t happen anymore. Mostly because I’ve learned that beating myself up after the fact doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t take away what I’ve done. So that becomes wasted energy and wasted time.
Instead, I’ve decided I can have what I want when I want it. For the most part, I make healthy choices and allow myself to savor my food and enjoy it without going overboard.
The secret is in learning to listen to your body.
I have learned to listen to my body and now trust her to tell me when I’ve gone too far in one direction or the other. And, she does. She speaks through bloating and gas. She speaks through allergy symptoms and general feelings of being tired. And, when she talks, I listen.
I thank her for signaling what she needs and I move forward in partnership with her.
Over time, what I have learned is that it’s possible to change how you are relating to food and your body. It’s possible to shift from the “good food / bad food” paradigm to one of freedom and joy.
It doesn’t happen overnight. At least, it didn’t for me…but it did happen. And, the result was/is I’m much kinder to myself now, especially when it comes to my body and eating—which is why I teach what I teach in my programs.
Shifting from the perfection paradigm takes time and commitment. It’s probably been a part of your life for a long time. It doesn’t want to let go and take a step back. Yet, each time you honor yourself and your body, that perfection mentality gets smaller and smaller and the freedom & loving part of you gets bigger and bigger. (Click to Tweet!)
What are some ways you can support yourself in letting go of the “perfect” eating fantasy today? How can you shift to more freedom and joy when it comes to food?
I invite you to share in the comments below.
Thank you for reading and sharing.