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January 25, 2013

How EXPECTING Perfect Compliance Makes You *Less* Compliant & More Miserable

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” –Maya Angelou

Many of us have dieted intensely in the past. We may have transformed ourselves inside and out, got up on stage, gotten into incredible shape, fallen out of shape, felt trapped, desperate, controlled by food, helpless. I get it. And I’ve been to all of those places and back again over the last 8 years.

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of needing to be perfectly compliant to a plan. Heck, I’ve seen trainers and coaches whose entire program revolves around the idea of “comply or die.” And you know what? Those coaches and trainers get GREAT results with the 10% of ladies who can actually be 100% compliant to those plans.

But what about the other 90% of clients for whom those plans are too strict, don’t fit into their schedule, lifestyle, and who maybe don’t want their lives to be dominated by THE PLAN?

I am one of those people.

Two years ago, I put my foot down and refused to ever let food control me again. I was miserable, fed up, pissed off and felt helpless. So, I made the decision to stop stressing…I was just dog tired of the constant stress of it. I stopped. I pulled back. I let myself be. I gave myself the benefit of the doubt.


I didn’t want to be tied to the idea of perfect and instead, I pursued the idea of progress. I did my best, and let that be enough.

And the incredible thing was that I looked the EXACT SAME. No matter how stressed and controlled I allowed myself to be (or not), THE OUTCOME (my physique) was the exact same.

Though, probably like you, I feared that letting go would turn me into an enormous whale :) it didn’t. I didn’t gain a whole bunch of weight, I didn’t stuff my face. I simply went through my day letting food, as a priority, take a backseat. And it was scary at first because it required that I TRUST myself not to end up at the McDonalds drive-thru every day.

And the unexpected thing was that I ended up self-regulating. And because I allowed myself to not be as obsessed with food (food shopping, prepping, counting minutes to next meal, counting protein grams, cleaning Tupperwares, etc), everything got easier, effortless. My brain was freed up to think on things I’d rather be doing!

This is ultimately the battle between needing to be perfect, versus just allowing yourself to do your best.

When we strive for perfection and we miss (which, we always inevitably do because long-term perfection is simply unattainable, though we might be able to do it for 12 weeks to prep for a show), we end up disappointed. But when we strive to simply do our best, we are never disappointed! Because we are always, in each moment, doing what we can.

And “our best” can be different day to day.

Last Sunday, I lied on the couch all day and ate a pack of bacon. It was the best I could do that day. I didn’t stuff my face with sweets, treats, and actually didn’t even feel the need to eat Reeses. I just did what I felt in the moment, and I didn’t stress. Then, come Monday, I did sprints, had a hard lift and ate a few salads. That was the best I could do on that day. I am ok with that. I am ultimately ok with whatever. I look the same no matter what. And I think, if you have the courage to try this approach, you will find the same true for you.

Letting go in your mind doesn’t necessarily mean letting go onto a larger dress size.

With letting go comes freedom–freedom from the control food has over us. And being gentle on yourself doesn’t mean you can’t get great results. It just means you’re trusting yourself to make better choices without the penalty of self-loathing and guilt.

Could you try to simply do your best instead of expecting perfection only to feel like a failure again?? :)

Related: Giving Yourself the Win


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