Peace or Perfection? Your choice.
If you want peace with food, and peace with your body, but you’ve spent a long time striving for the perfect body (whatever that happens to be according to current Beauty Standards), and the perfect diet (according to the latest book/ celebrity ), then at some point you’ll need to make a choice between striving for perfection, or cultivating peace. I say striving for perfection, because in truth, perfection is an illusion, isn’t it? When is anything ever perfect? Is perfection ever possible to achieve, given that the goal posts for a perfect body, or a perfect plate are continuously shifting?
Striving for perfection – whether it’s in what, when or how much you eat, how much or how well you move your body, your grooming, your performance at work, being a parent, or fulfilling any role is inherently stressful. It will always come at a price. Since stress and peace can’t co-exist – the price of perfection is your peace.
The question is: are you willing to pay that price? And are you willing to pay the price even though perfection is an illusion?
What price are you willing to pay for the illusion of perfection?
Are you willing to feel continually stressed about everything you eat and drink – from the time you open your eyes in the morning, to the time you fall asleep at night?
Are you willing to push yourself to exercise in ways you believe will create the physique you want (but might not), when you’re not enjoying it, or even hating doing it, when you’re tired, injured, or have lost your period?
Are you willing to perpetually deny yourself foods you love, which you believe will scupper your pursuit of perfection?
Are you willing to to keep binge eating, because striving for the perfect body and perfect plate will almost always lead binge eating?
Are you willing to keep taking your own food to social events, or not showing up to social events, because you’re too scared of the ‘temptations’ that will pull you off the wagon, or too worried that you don’t look good enough?
What price are you willing to pay for peace with food and your body?
Are you willing to give up the idea that there is a perfect body, or a perfect way to eat?
Are you willing to give up the idea that your weight and your body shape are absolutely within your control, if you just try hard enough for long enough?
Are you willing to let go of rules and external ideals?
Are you willing to live in the grey, where you adjust your movement, type of foods you eat, quantities you eat etc, so that you’re responding to the current and immediate reality of your energy, appetite, preferences and satisfaction?
Are you willing to experience discomfort? Let’s face it: giving up the pursuit of a perfect body and perfect diet means you will feel uncomfortable! The good news is that over time and with the practice of new skills, the discomfort will reduce, whereas the discomfort of pursuing perfection never ends!
What price are you unwilling to pay in exchange for peace?
For me, anything that costs me my peace, is too expensive.
Given that there’s a small percentage of body weight/ shape that is within our control, I probably could be thinner than I am, but I’m no longer willing to exchange the precious peace I’ve cultivated to wear smaller clothes. I’m no longer willing to be ratty with my family because I haven’t eaten enough, or because I’ve had a massive binge. I’m no longer willing to do exercise I hate, to over-ride my tiredness, or deny my hunger.
I’m simply not willing to do these things any longer.
This is a question you can ask yourself when you’re making choices:
Will this contribute to peace, or to the illusion of perfection?
And then… be ok with your choice! You’re allowed to choose whatever you like. Be aware though of the costs and benefits of your decision.