Sometimes when we struggle to be "perfect" we are defeating ourself. Perfectionism is a trait of someone who needs to please someone, usually from our past, but it continues as a habitual response to new challenges. "If we can't do it perfectly, then why start?" we tell ourself. "Be safe and set small goals, instead large ones." We can't fail that way." we accept less and expect less from ourself. Perfectionism may be a symptom to why we struggle with our weight, our exercise programs, our lifestyle changes.
When I started to make changes in my diet 4 1/2 years ago, I started out with the Atkins program. I was going to eat meat, meat , and more meat. When I discovered SparkPeople, all I was looking for was an easier way to track my calories. Wow, did I discover much more than that. I decided that not being able to eat fruit for as long as it took for me to love 160 pounds was not going to work for me and I decided to switch to the Carbohydrate Addict's Diet. This would allow me to eat some fruit as part of a balanced reward meal.
After reading all of the CAD books and following the program, my weight moved downwards. Unfortunately, my doctor diagnosed me with Diabetes. I had been pre-diabetic, but after successfully losing weight on the CAD Program, I has a life threatening health problem and I was adverse to starting on the slippery slope of diabetic medication. I had been following the dietary options of the CAD program so when I found the Halt Diabetes in 25 Days program, it was not that big of a change from what I was doing, so I made the transition in 5 days instead of 25. This brought my blood sugar down and I lost a bit more weight, but I hit a discouraging plateau.
It was at this time that an old acquaintance saw me and told me about the exciting Hippocrates Health Institute Program that is very sick wife and been referred to and how she was now off her diabetic and cholesterol medication and he had lost 50 pound from his gut and felt 30 years younger. I was so impressed that I ordered all of the books by Brian Clement, the current director of the Hippocrates Health Institute and found books by Ann Wigmore and Victorus Kulvinskas, the co-founders of the HHI. I started the live food program immediately and completely. My blood sugar numbers dropped even further and I lost about 2 pounds a week. What could be wrong with that? From Atkins, I had become a Live or Raw Vegan! This was quite a change, but I had done it in small incremental steps that were easier than one giant leap.
There is nothing wrong with the Raw Vegan Program of HHI, but with the best program, if we don't address our internal issues, we start making exceptions, feeling guilty about them, and the usual order of things is to quit, gain all or more of our weight back and look for a new diet or recycle one that worked temporarily for us in the past.
I decided to not give up completely, but accept my limitations at this time and forgive myself and explore why I was not sticking to the program 100%. Well, I found out some interesting things about the psychology behind our food addictions and compulsions from reading Broken Brains or Wounded Hearts byTy C. Colbert, Ph.D. that I am working on understanding and applying to my situation. I also found out that one of my favorite raw food chefs who has a blog called RawAmazing struggles with eating all live food in the cold winter too. Perhaps we are not made that way, if don't live in a year round tropical climate? For whatever reason, I discovered that I wasn't alone, that it was not my fault, some moral imperfections or lack of will, but a reaction to the climate and my subconscious use of food as a way of avoiding or dealing with pain.
Armed with this new knowledge and by forgiving myself for not being perfect. I started to make my salad preparations again, stopped going out to even Souplantation to avoid the "other than salad" temptations and the chance of over eating. I made one last visit to Souplantation and did not over eat, only ate live food, and only used lemon and olive oil dressings, so that I would know that I could do it.
Now that the weather is getting warmer in San Diego, unlike most of the rest of the country, I'm eating more live foods, having live green and fruit smoothies for breakfast and renewing my commitment to an hour or more of exercise (rowing in my case) every day plus adding in more strength training. I am being persistent, but not trying to be perfect or setting the bar too high for me or too high for others.