“The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I’ve always been somewhat of a perfectionist. In school I would judge my performance by how many questions I got wrong instead of how many I got correct. This of course led to me caring a lot less about a class in which I was a “C student” vs an “A student”. In retrospect it seems silly to be upset missing say 3 out of 10 questions instead of celebrating the 7 you got right.
A lot of us look at nutrition the same way. We set out with these lofty expectations to eat perfectly all the time and the first time we give in to a craving we decide to go all in and destroy our diet.
That’s part of the reason diets as we think of them don’t work. That conversation, however, will have to be for another time.
What if, instead, we started our scale at 0% and worked to improve everyday? What if you eat no vegetables now but were able to add just 1 serving per day? Well if you set a goal of doing 8 servings per day, you’d be pretty disappointed that you only ate 1 serving. However, if you think about the fact that you went from 0-1, that’s freaking huge! Now you can work your way up to 3, 5, 7, or whatever as slowly or quickly as you want, and it’s all improvement over what you were doing.
The same concept applies to eating things that aren’t as healthy for us. Let’s say you eat cookie every day. How much impact would cutting back to every other day have on your health and your waistline?
Most of us would try to cut the cookies out completely, and then we’d have a bad day and next thing we know we’d be laid out on the couch covered in cookie crumbs and wouldn’t remember how it happened (or is that just me?)
How To Use It In Practice
I prefer to focus on adding vs taking away since the primal part of our brain doesn’t deal well with having food taken away. My suggestion is to think of 1 healthy habit you want to accomplish. Decide what is the biggest version of it that you can do for sure. For example, you may want to work out 5 days a week, but realistically you know you can do 2 days. Commit to those 2 days and if you manage extra days, then that’s awesome – but no pressure since the goal isn’t to be perfect but better.
My passion for fitness started with my own 80 lb weight loss journey. I love showing people that fitness and nutrition don't need to be complicated or restrictive. A good coach should be able to meet you where you are and help you get to where you want to be. I am certified as a fitness trainer through the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA). Additionally, I hold certifications in exercise nutrition through Precision Nutrition and online fitness training through the Online Trainer Academy. When not serving my clients I am an expert media contributor for companies such as Men's Fitness, Men's Journal, Exercise.com, and many others.