The Skinny Daily Post™

Short, daily essays on weight loss and fitness
from a really average woman who lost 100 lbs.
and works every day to keep it off.

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Friday, February 28, 2003  

On Being Perfect

One of my favorite humans makes the same New Yearís resolution each year: ďThis year, I will redouble my efforts to achieve perfection.Ē

She says it with a tone of great dignity and hope, her tongue in her cheek, while wearing a perfect Eeyore expression. Always cracks me up.

Iíve noticed a couple of things happening since starting The Skinny Daily Post. On the one hand, people around me avoid eating what they want to in front of me. My presence inspires guilt and even apologies for ordering things, like dessert. On the other, equally unnerving hand, when I eat ďoff planĒ in front of folks, they really notice it.

So, without much effort at all, Iíve become both the diet police and the diet hypocrite. Two identity tags I donít really want and wonít easily shake. Lifeís rich pageant.

Iíd like to go on record here and for all time: Iím never been perfect. I never will be. And likely, best beloved, neither will you.

In fact, I believe that trying for perfection in your diet is the surest path to defeat.

A goal of balance and a method of planning can take delightful splurges into account. Use these tools.

So, for instanceÖ

I have discovered a way of eating that works for me. I know that most wheat products, but white flour especially, sugar, fermented things, MSG and hidden glutamates and nitrates donít agree with my body. I avoid them. I know I need to eat five small meals a day.

And last week I enjoyed a huge, several dish meal with a bunch of friends, topped off by Ö. (drumroll please)Ö.

Bread pudding with butter sauce.

I do not regret the meal or the pudding. Or the sauce (butter, egg yolks, sugar, cream)

Sorry if that disappoints anyone out there.

Iíd hate to think that Iím setting up a lifestyle for myself and the people I love that would exclude such dinners, but particularly bread pudding, forever. Iíd rather fall on my sword.

I think bread pudding, maybe 3 Ė 4 times a year is the perfect food. Even for me.

My maintenance plan has fallen into a pattern. I am quite rigid with my diet during the week, avoiding those things I know wonít agree with me, keeping my calories very much under control. But on special occasions and weekends I loosen up a little. Sometimes eat those things that donít agree with me on a Friday or Saturday so I can nurse my food hangover the next day. (For me food hangovers happen when I eat the stuff from the list above, and include migraines, digestive chaos, and an all-over achy, poisoned feeling.)

I try to plan for these indulgences by cutting back on food before a planned dinner out or get-together with friends. But if I donít manage that, then I pay the fiddler for a few days afterward by increasing workouts and cutting back consumption.

And you know what? My body seems to love this sort of up-and-down shifting. Our systems were designed for less rigidity rather than more, and sometimes eating more and sometimes less seems to help keep the metabolism firing. Your body will lower your metabolism, you know, to adjust to a consistently low calorie count.

Learning to live with the ebb and flow of food keeps your attitude toward food healthy, too. Constant depravation can make you a little nutty, building up pressure in your psyche. When you pop, instead of having one serving of bread pudding, you have the whole batch. Or you start to develop the perfectionism of a bonafide anorexic. You donít want to expose yourself to the possibilities of any kind of disordered eating.

My memory of that wonderful pudding has carried me through this week, making being good so much easier.

Plan a few breaks for yourself, friends,


Ed note: Iím delighted today to note that email subscribers to The Skinny Daily Post have topped 200 in number. The number of visitors to the site exceeded 350 daily visits during the past week. And Iím getting the nicest mail. So Iím glad if my ramblings and URL hunts are hitting the right nerve, but as always, if thereís something else, more, different yíall would like me to explore, or sites or books or people or articles Iíve missed that deserve attention, send them on. And, as always, please share skinnydaily with your friends. Itís a big project and traffic is encouraging.

Perfectionism and Eating

posted by Julie |
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