A woman holding nuts and smiling for the camera.

Be Kind to Yourself. Don’t Strive for Perfect.

Choosing progress over perfection.

You know that negative inner talk or certain ways we bring ourselves down when our healthy eating goals or fitness expectation doesn’t go as planned? It’s real life. And it’s a part of working toward a goal. BUT we want to flip the script and focus on the positive: You made a plan.

A roadmap of the day maps out and uses what we have in the fridge. Once you’ve spent mental energy and dollars on a plan, you are much more likely to follow it. Set positive boundaries for yourself – choose progress over perfection. Here’s how:

The All or Nothing Mentality is Stalling Your Weight Loss Goals

Most clients start their Natural Weight Loss journey by trying to be perfect and in all or nothing mode. It is natural for successful people to want to try for 100% perfect. But, many times, especially at the beginning, the day or schedule derails and people tend to give up and order their comfort food (usually something fried, pizza or booze). This is not helpful for weight loss. It feels defeating and consequently weight loss seems nearly impossible. Habits are habits and they are hard to break and hard to make. At Healthy Nest, we spend a good amount of time looking at the idea of changing food habits.

Recognize that Perfect is Hard

A personalized working diet is hard to accomplish. It requires mini habits around planning, grocery shopping, cleaning and chopping and cooking. And it requires an understanding of what your plate should look like (calories and macro-wise). This is hard, requires self-inspection, commitment, perseverance, input from us, and some grit. STILL life sometimes gets in the way of the doing.

Change is Hard

Look to the seasons – they change whether we want them to or not. Here we are moving from summer to fall. From carefree long days to shorter more scheduled days. From eating meals on the patio to craving soup, veggies, roasts and stews. Just like leaves don’t change color overnight, your food choices won’t either. But, over time, you can eat differently to meet your health goals. Change happens slowly and methodically. Just like the seasons.

Add Self Compassion

  • Perfect becomes what we say it is. If you’ve prepped for Monday–and that’s the goal–you’ve hit 100% goals. PERFECT!
  • Snacks are bought and planned for–if that’s the goal–PERFECT!
  • Lunch places are picked and menu items are chosen for the work week–if that’s the goal–PERFECT!
  • Lunch containers are bought and dinner leftovers are packed for Monday and Tuesday–if that’s the goal–PERFECT!
  • Weekday dinners are planned and an online grocery order is placed on Sunday afternoon–if that’s the goal–PERFECT!

And once we find success in one part of our puzzle + routine, we add segments until we start feeling different and better. And then new routines become budding habits (which is what we’re after!)

Try Easy

We know that each day we consciously or unconsciously make dozens of food decisions. We also know that ease of choice plays a role. I call it path of least resistance food choices. If some foods are already invested in, we tend to choose those foods, as a means of it being the easiest choice. For example, if you’ve planned, shopped and put groceries in your fridge, you’re more than halfway to eating your planned choices because it’s THERE and it’s easy to grab. So, we plan. We shop. We put whole food into the refrigerator each week. And we eat what we’ve planned even though sometimes, in the moment, we’d rather have pizza.

Try Slow

Instead of trying to get it perfectly right, change the goal to ‘good enough.’ And THEN put the habits or puzzle pieces together one by one. That approach seems more do-able for clients. Change the measure of what is perfect/what is success and slowly people can handle the change in meal composition.

Try Changing Language to Good Enough

We eat so often, that sometimes meals are just ‘good enough’. Always yummy, but maybe not complicated, and maybe not as you planned and maybe not the BEST meal you’ve ever eaten and maybe without a glass of wine (yikes).

Maybe assembling ingredients on a plate is good enough, instead of creating a recipe for a meal. Sometimes life is messy, meetings run long, chores take longer than expected. Yet, you GET to eat for your goals multiple times per day, everyday. So, we might as well set up our lives for the messy days. Have items in the fridge that you can assemble for meals and mini-meals so that no matter how busy life gets, you can still eat for your goals.

The notion of Assembling Your Plate, otherwise known as Throw-Together Meals, is SO helpful when you’re busy and off the rails. It’s always a choice what to put in our mouths. We just forget that it’s a choice and grab comfort food and easy food when we get busy/stressed/mad/sad or other emotions take over. If we’ve set ourselves up for the busy moments, and that’s what’s in the fridge, that’s the grab. I know it’s hard to change the norm, but with time, it’s do-able and will be satisfying and delicious.

Easy-Grab Fridge Ideas

  • Snacks for meals: apple/pear/celery and nut butter
  • Leftovers…again
  • Simple salad with store bought pulled chicken and bottled vinaigrette
  • Scrambled egg with tomato and avocado for breakfast, lunch or dinner
  • Hummus and cucumber rounds with a piece of leftover chicken
  • Turkey roll-ups with red peppers and Bitchin’ sauce

The possibilities are endless. Come up with a few favorites and it will be good enough to get you to your next meal without losing sight of your goals.

I hope this helps with limiting or abandoning the all or nothing mentality. It is quite destructive for many–so hopefully, if you’re struggling with being perfect and it’s crushing you, you can try to approach food a little differently. Life is hard–your food choices could be the easy part of the day.

For more info on feeling your best through smarter food choices, contact our holistic nutritionists. Book a complimentary 20-minute consultation with Healthy Nest Nutrition owner Robin Hutchinson to see if our programs are right for you.