Progress over Perfection
Hands up if you thought being in lockdown would be the perfect time to ‘sort out’ your nutrition. Hands up if you worried about falling head first into every quarantine snack in sight?
Our attitude towards nutrition is often black and white. A food is good or bad, we are eating clean or being naughty, on/off a diet etc...
This all or nothing ‘perfectionist’ mentality can be counterproductive, especially in time’s like these. Let me explain.
Many people think that in order to see results, they must achieve the ‘perfect diet’ and there’s a temptation to think this is realistic at the moment if you are at home all day and by and large in control of what you eat. No after work drinks, no dinners out, fewer temptations to navigate out and about...you get the picture.
However, setting expectations at ‘perfect’ means most people are likely to wind up disappointed when they break the perfect regime - and falling disheartened back into old habits. Likewise if ‘perfect’ seems too hard, it can feel like a good excuse to not make any effort at all.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t strive to set the bar high and if you do have more headspace to address your nutrition right now, fantastic, just set it realistically.
Give yourself small achievable targets to get the ball rolling and help you build momentum along the way.
Instead of ‘I will prepare, weigh, measure & label every single meal for the next week in advance’ maybe ‘I will set aside 2-3 hours this weekend to prepare some protein and veggies to incorporate in meals next week’.
The type and size of your goals depends on your starting point and above is just one example, here are a few more to get you thinking:
- Take 15 minutes to eat dinner every day this week.
- Include a serving of vegetables and/or fruit with all meals.
- Engage in structured exercise for at least 45 minutes - 5/7 days this week.
- Input macros to myfitnesspal in advance (the night before).
- Get into bed before 11pm.
- Turn all screens off at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
If you can get into the mindset of striving for progress over perfection - you will likely be more consistent & resilient to setbacks along the way. The road to results isn’t linear, and the sooner we understand there are ups and downs, the better we bounce back from the moments we fall off track.
All of this takes a considerable amount of self compassion and kindness. Be kind to yourself if you don’t manage to hit your targets, find a way to get back on track that works for you. The last thing you want is to add to your stress by putting the pressure of perfection on yourself.
This is not to say you should constantly make excuses for being inconsistent, but acknowledging that you won’t and don’t need to be perfect is key on the road to success.
Set small realistic goals, be kind to yourself, take away the expectation of perfection and you open up the door to progress.