The 3 Most Powerful Words to remember to help you achieve a sustainable healthy lifestyle
I was chatting with someone the other day who began their journey towards a healthier life a few months ago. They are on the verge of giving up for several reasons. The first reason is impatience. They want it all right now! The fat loss, the 6 pack abs and eating all the foods they see everyone eating. The second reason is that they expect perfection doing something that is difficult for anyone to do who has had years of practice much less just starting out!
This person is discouraged because they cannot do the workouts exactly like the people they see on the workout videos they are watching, and they are having a difficult time sticking with the restrictive diet they decided to go on. They are frustrated AF and I cannot blame them! I was there myself a few years ago so I know exactly what this person is going through.
Most of the diet and exercise advertisements promote fast results because we have become a society that demands everything to happen as quickly as possible. There are several problems I have found from personal experience with these types of programs. One is that the “diets” we go on are either very restrictive, or they want us to eat food that is proprietary to their program. The diet is for a certain amount of time and there is little to no education on how to keep the weight off after the program is finished. In other words, the results are usually not lasting.
I want to give you 3 words that can seriously influence a path of personal growth or physical transformation. Reciting these 3 words to ourselves EVERY.DAMN.DAY and giving ourselves some grace and compassion as we go through this evolution that will last our entire lifetime will help to keep us sane and reduce the chances of becoming obsessive with our diet or exercise. These 3 words are PRACTICE…NOT PERFECTION.
I am a recovering perfectionist. Not gonna lie, I am in the
second make that third draft of this blog post. I dumped the first one two because I did not finish it in one sitting and when I went back and read it I was not pleased with it. I will press publish on this particular blog post because I need to get over myself and get this out there instead of stressing over it being perfect. I can always come back and edit later (please let me know of any errors you catch so that I can come back and correct them HaHaHa) Seriously, there is no such thing as perfection, so keep reminding yourself that as long as you always do your best, that is all that matters. Your best will also change every day depending on all sorts of random factors. Do not compare yesterday to today. Live only for right now.
When I first decided to amble down this twisting and turning and hilly path of a healthy lifestyle I counted all my calories and macros and measured and weighed everything that went into my mouth. I did all the research and found out so much information that I was a slave to food. I was worried if I might eat even 50 or 100 calories more than I should….or heaven forbid eat too few. I would eat when I was not hungry just because I had extra calories to use up according to an app on my phone! I spent my week days being ON POINT with my diet and would then spend ½ if not all of the weekend eating things I would not normally eat even if I wanted them because they were “off limits” when I was ON my diet. I mean WTF? Then I would spend the rest of the week trying to get the bloat off my body by doing 1-2 hours of cardio every day and lifting. And the cycle goes on and on.
Let me tell you from experience, we are NOT be able to stay on that restrictive diet for weeks/months on end without having some gosh awful cravings or having a binge session at some point. What we CAN do is start by not going on a “diet” and just practice adding 1 healthier item at each meal we have every single day. Practice, not perfection. We may forget at one meal or for even one whole day or even a week. That is okay. Change takes time…and practice. We just start practicing over again at the next meal.
What kind of healthier item do I mean? There are several options to start with.
- Make sure you have at least 1 serving of a source of lean protein at every meal.
- Add a serving of a raw, roasted or steamed fibrous veggie to each meal.
- For those with a sweet tooth, mix some cocoa powder in some greek yogurt (vanilla if you cannot stand the plain) and add a small amount of honey or maple syrup of stevia. OR, add your favorite protein powder to the greek yogurt and add a little milk instead of going for that oooey gooey dessert.
Do NOT try all of these at once. This is just 3 options to choose from. Choose ONE of them and start with it! Then when you have gotten that first habit down for at least 2 weeks in a row, then practice adding another one of the healthier habits every day until you have that habit down pat for at least 2 weeks, and so on and so forth. When you practice just 1 single habit at a time you are more likely to bring about a change instead of trying to do it all at once.
Now, on to exercise. If you are just beginning your healthier lifestyle journey and are not already fairly fit, there is a very good chance you will NOT be able to keep up with the people in the fitness videos you are watching or in the class you may be attending that is not specifically a beginner class. Please remember that you are not supposed to be able to. This is something we have to work towards. We were all beginners at one time. We need to practice in order to get there. There is that word again, PRACTICE not perfection. I mean think about it, if you ever played a sport or an instrument of any type, or have ever tried any kind of activity that requires skill of some kind, you had to frequently practice before getting good at it. This goes for anything we have ever tried. Do not give up. Get out there every day and keep on practicing, you will get better much faster than you imagine you will.
I KNOW firsthand that it is difficult and frustrating it is to not be able to do not even one freaking pushup! I KNOW that it is maddening when it takes you 40 minutes to finish a workout that someone else can do in 15 or 20. I WAS THERE! and I still have days where I am the slowest. I have cried during workouts because they were really pushing my limits of endurance and it seemed effortless for others, and not just years ago. Try a couple of weeks ago! But I practiced and kept practicing, and I still practice EVERY.DAMN.DAY. There are so many things I still want to do that I am not able to……YET, but I am practicing. For example, I am scared to jump. I want to be able to jump on the 20 inch box at the gym so maybe I can RX workouts with box jumps in them, but as of yet I am only able to do 16 and sometimes 18 inches max. So what do I do? I practice! Several days a week I will do a few sets of box jumps at home so that I can get comfortable with the lower box before trying a higher one.
Please, I know you get discouraged, but now that you have made the decision, lets practice together! Go to my Facebook page and under the link to this blog post tell me a goal you have. Lets make our own club. Post on FB or IG and tag me in it with the hashtag #PNP and lets keep each other accountable. We can do this together with PRACTICE…NOT PERFECTION!
6 thoughts on “3 Powerful Words”
Always inspiring!! And Practice Not Perfection applies to so many other things in life besides diet and exercise. I’m working on it all!
Yes ma’am it applies to everything! always 🙂
Practice…not perfection! I love that. I can not get my thighs parallel with the floor when squatting. It’s frustrating sometimes, but I keep getting better with practice 🙂 Thanks for this!
better is great! It is progress…and as long as you are progressing that is what matters
I know a pretty great guy who used to say all the time, “when you do your best, there is no shame.” You’ve known him almost as long as I have. 🙂 I struggle with perfectionism too. But you’d never know it by looking at my life. That’s because I get so overwhelmed in expecting perfection of myself that I give up before I start. It seems this is the point you’re addressing. At one time in life I actually really connected with (of all things) the Lexus slogan: The relentless pursuit of perfection. My focus was on the word pursuit. Somehow the phrasing quickly takes my mind to the fact that Jesus is the only perfect being and the word pursuit takes me off the hook for a perfect expectation. But the slogan also addresses a notion that I think becomes a two edged sword to so many of us raised with a strong work ethic: relentless. If we’re raised to relentlessly work hard it becomes part of our character. Of course it’s admirable to be a hard worker in many cases. The problem comes in when we cross the tipping point and move out of balance becoming work-a-holics or perfectionists. From childhood we’re looking for that 💯 perfect score. (Which reminds me that I did spot one baby typo in the first sentence of paragraph eight. 🤓 I only point it out because I would want to know too. I wanted ❗️perfectly❗️ written papers when I went back to college.) Anyway, balance in life is so central to happiness and peacefulness. I see why so many take hold of the yin yang symbol and the balance it represents.
I really enjoy your thoughtful posts. I want you to know that you are a real inspiration to me. I appreciate you taking the time to share, especially knowing that you have to force yourself to let it go 👸🏼❄️☃️ with that third draft. I’ve noticed three out of three people I’ve discussed in my response here have one thing in common. We’re all FA grads. 😉 I know correlation isn’t causation but hopefully they are constantly reminding kids that if you do your best there is no shame! Thanks again!
Oh Rachel, Thank you so much for reaching out and telling me about how you also struggle with perfection. I can so relate to the Lexus slogan to because we were raised to expect perfection out of ourselves not realizing that it is the experiences we have that should fascinate and enthrall us because in reality perfection is not attainable. Doing our best as we go through life is always enough.
Comments are closed.