Turns out that accepting imperfection has been the key for me sticking to a healthy diet & lifestyle and living a more balanced life.
I used to be very dogmatic about strictly keeping to a paleo diet, and any deviation in that held the possibility of me binging or “eating crap” for days, weeks or sometimes months until I was able to get back “on track”. What I later came to realize is that my perfectionistic qualities were really holding me back from having a balanced diet and lifestyle. Here I thought I was doing myself good by eating so healthy all the time, but my mental health suffered and I was on a roller coaster.
These days I still follow a paleo style template and the only things I am pretty strict on are keeping gluten and dairy out of my diet. Gluten because I have an allergy to it, and dairy because it gives cystic acne and messes up my hormones. Although this being said, I do eat it on occasion and I don’t feel too guilty about it!
I’ve gotten a lot better at accepting that I will sometimes make less than ideal decisions but that doesn’t mean that I have failed or that I’ll never be able to “stick to it”.
Accepting imperfection and having compassion for ourselves throughout the process allows us to be gentle with ourselves when we eat something that isn’t “on our diet” or in line with our health goals, and helps us take the attitude of “I’ll just jump straight back on it next meal, it’s ok”.
I know sometimes it feels like we need to be hard on ourselves to maintain control, but when we are hard on ourselves it actually drives us to make worse decisions because we perpetuate the negative feelings we have about ourselves or our abilities to make decisions that are in line with our values.
That is why I love this quote from Tara Brach! What about you, have you experienced anything similar?
Tara Klippert is a Registered Health and Nutrition Counselor and holds a diploma in Holistic Nutrition and Health Coaching. Tara helps people clear up cystic acne, balance hormones and blood sugar + improve anxiety and gut health NATURALLY with food.