“How do you do it? How do you avoid temptation and be perfect all the time?” one of my beautiful clients asked in our coaching session the other day, and I had to laugh.
Just a few short years ago, I was 8kgs heavier and I hated it. I hated my ‘jelly belly’ when I sat down. I hated my bulging hips pushing my skirt waistlines ever higher.
Every morning when I weighed myself, I’d sigh and think: “Today I’ll be good.”
On the train to work I’d think at least 20 negative things about my body. I’d count the upcoming social events in my mind and calculate how much weight I could lose before each one – if I was ‘good’.
By the time I reached my desk I’d think at least 20 negative things about my lack of willpower, and another 20 negative things about everything I believed was standing between me and that slimmer body I craved.
By mid-morning I’d be mentally exhausted and cranky. When colleagues offered cake, I’d accept it to make myself ‘feel better’. I’d scoff it quickly and guiltily. Then I’d slink back to my desk and think ‘Oh well, I’ve messed it up now. I’ve been bad. I’ll just start again tomorrow.’ I’d beat up on myself for being weak. I’d think at least another thousand negative thoughts about myself and my body for the rest of the day, skip the gym, eat crap, drink wine, go to bed unhappy… only to wake up and do it all over again.
Sound familiar? Maybe even, dare I say… a little crazy?
Let’s talk about the concept of ‘failure’ for a moment. Have you ever started a diet motivated by a desire to look good? Who hasn’t, right? (You can read my diet story here). You’re a woman and it’s your birthright to feel beautiful.
But here’s the thing. When you’re externally motivated, you open the door to comparison, jealousy and judgement. The fear monsters creep in with their negative self talk and push you right into that junk food or unhealthy habits you’re trying to avoid. Then you beat up on yourself for being weak and wonder why on Earth you sabotage yourself… but perhaps it’s just that your motivation wasn’t serving you.
What if your only intention was to love yourself more?
What if your success was only measured by your ability to stay conscious in every moment and make the right choices for yourself? What if the typical diet mentality: ‘I can’t eat that because I’m scared that I’m not thin (or good) enough’ transformed into self-love: ‘I choose the healthier option because it makes me feel amazing.’?
How empowering would that difference be? And wouldn’t all of our other concerns (like weight loss, looking good and feeling confident in our skin) just naturally fall into place, when our only intention was to make choices that align with what’s truly best for us?
One of the reasons I’m so passionate about what I do is because I know that the crazy ‘perfection’ rollercoaster never leads to the healthy, happy lifestyle we want.
Health is not a ‘destination’ we ever arrive at. There is no magic pill.
Cultivating a healthy lifestyle is just an ongoing process of making the best decision for ourselves in every moment of every day. It’s not all or nothing, black or white, or being completely ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It’s not about perfection. It’s just about replacing foods and behaviours that don’t serve us with ones that do. Slowly, one at a time, and with compassion. It’s about being our own best friend.
Above all, it’s about being kind to ourselves. All the freaking time.
What can you do to be kind to yourself right now, beautiful? Maybe round up a friend and go for a walk in the park? Stretch? Go to yoga class? Refill that empty water bottle on your desk? Go buy some gorgeously fresh ingredients and make yourself a nourishing dinner? Find a cozy spot somewhere to just sit and daydream? Journal? Program affirmations into your phone to pop-up during the day? Watch something inspiring – like a TED talk or a documentary about the triumph of the human spirit? Light aromatherapy candles and take a long soak in a bubble bath? Turn the TV off and go to bed early?
And what can you do tomorrow? And the next day? And the day after that?
No-one is perfect. I’m certainly not. Sometimes I still eat potato chips and drink champagne, but mostly I choose to eat like this because I love the way it makes me feel. I love the way creativity and energy flow when I treat my body to high quality food. I love being liberated from the ‘all or nothing’ trap.
Because, I promise you, beautiful – perfection, deprivation and punishment don’t live in that happy, healthy lifestyle you crave.
Only love does.
Ready to join me on a 6-week, love-soaked, journey of transformation? The next class of The Sparkle Project begins on Monday 3rd March. Registration is filling up fast and I’d love you to join us! Click here to learn more and jump on board. xx