Personally, I think that the words diet, perfect, scale, weight, size, food, success, and goal should all be eliminated from your thinking forever. This is so important. All of these words have pretty much tricked us into becoming fat. I like this article i found. I think its very helpful.
Perfectionism, the Perfect Set-Up for Failure
Amy Grabowski, MA, LCPC
In the last newsletter, I promised an article on one of the underlying issues of recovery. At the time it seemed like an easy promise to keep. While working on this issue, I worked on all the other pages first. Except for Marianne’s article, this page remained blank. I found myself avoiding this page. I reworked other articles and pages long after they were finished. Finally I was forced to work on this page. Why was I avoiding it so? It dawned on me that in my mind it had to be a Pulitzer prize winning article; an article that would inspire every reader to make great strides in their recovery. In other words, it was going to be “perfect”.
Oh, perfectionism! How sneaky it is. Maybe you can empathize with me. Have you ever felt that if you have one bite of cake then you are a real pig! Or make one small mistake, and you call yourself a total loser, or leave one thing out of place, and say you’re a real slob! If you have, then you’re probably painfully aware of the negative consequences of perfectionism.
There is a difference between doing your best and striving for perfection. The first is attainable, gratifying and healthy. The second is often unattainable, frustrating and self-defeating. Since you will settle for nothing short of an absolutely flawless performance in any thing that you do, you frequently end up having to settle for just that – nothing! We all have our reasons for attempting to be perfect. Sometimes we think that if we can be perfect, something magical will happen: we will be happy, successful, beautiful, etc. In reality, perfection is the ultimate illusion; it doesn’t exist anywhere in the universe. Other times we think “If I don’t whip myself to be perfect, I’ll be/do nothing!” This is all-or-nothing thinking, a guarantee that we will fail and lose!
The irony of perfectionism is the harder we strive to be perfect the more disappointment we find. When we always focus on where we fall short, we are bound to continually feel inadequate. No matter how much good we accomplish, its never “good enough”; we tell ourselves “I should do better.” So we defeat ourselves by raising our goals and expectations even higher!
Perfectionism also leads to procrastination. We often feel overwhelmed because we insist on doing things so thoroughly that we don’t know where to start. Or we make ourselves do everything over so many times that we never finish. Or we are paralyzed, afraid to do or say anything because we might make a mistake. Fear lurks inside of every perfectionist. A person who can’t stand to make mistakes is afraid to take risks or to grow. They are so afraid that one mistake will ruin their life or career, that they never take chances, and hold themselves back in life. When you decide to give up perfectionistic self-defeating ways you will receive more satisfaction from the things you do. When we allow ourselves to be human, we succeed. A key to happiness is to set modest goals and then accomplish them. You will be able to relax and accept your humanness, thus allowing yourself to grow.
Amy Grabowski, MA, LCPC, is a Creative Psychotherapist and is the Director of The Awakening Center. She works hard to “tame” her perfectionism.
“Nature does not demand that we be perfect; it requires that we grow.” Joshua Liebman
Coming to the Tuesday evening ANAD group for women recovering from eating disorders is often the experience of looking in a mirror. Hold on! I don’t mean the distorting mirror that often we with eating disorders look in that makes us appear too fat, or too imperfect in some way. But a mirror that helps us to see ourselves as lovely and loving women who are somewhere in the process of letting our full selves emerge. We who are so often starving for food and ashamed of our desires, begin to see by sharing with one another our true feelings that we can become full – full of our true selves.
Instead of worrying that the mirror reveals that there is too much of us – we discover that emotion-ally and spiritually there isn’t enough of us yet. For our needs have often been silenced and ignored. When we are given room in the safe and supportive environment of our ANAD group – we can begin to take up more space in life by asserting our real needs and desires in relationships. We are given permission to examine and explore new ways to develop our talents. We create more room within to dream, relax and meditate. We learn to play and release tensions.
Thus we find we no longer use the mirror, or a scale, or a dress size to limit how much food we take in, or purge/diet out. Gradually we emerge into the size we were created to be, both inside and out. Food becomes only one of many ways we express our wants, needs and desires.
We invite you to join us on Tuesday nights, from 6:30 – 8:00pm, at the Awakening Center, Suite 213, 3166 N Lincoln. New members may call Amy Grabowski, the leader of the group (929-6262) before coming if that makes them more comfortable, or just drop in. Old friends are encouraged to come back to the group and join us for some lively discussions. As is often heard in the group, “Where else can I talk about this, and feel so accepted and understood?”
Taste is the # 1 reason people choose food. It overrides cost, convenience, and nutrition. After all, we don’t eat numbers, we eat food! Here are five tips to move you into a powerful new year.
1. Carefully examine your resolutions for any hint of food restriction. Eliminate the word “diet” from your vocabulary and from your mind set.
2. Listen to your body carefully. Make eating a pleasurable, guilt-free experience – and take the time to check out how you really feel after eating various foods.
3. Recognize the flexibility of normal eating. Normal eating means sometimes you may eat a little too much and sometimes you may not eat quite enough.
4. Discover nutrition anytime, anywhere. Taste test the amazing variety of new options in the supermarket — everything from star fruit to pretzel chips.
5. Try out new recipes. Any recipe is just a beginning — an opportunity to adapt, modify, and change the details to get great taste and good health in every bite.
Marianne Evans-Ramsay Registered Dietitian /Nutritionist, offers individual and group nutrition counseling for wellness, vegetarianism, allergies, compulsive overeating, medical conditions and pregnancy, with a gentle step-by-step approach to normalize eating.