You Don’t Have To Be Perfect. Just Good Enough To Lose Weight.


I had a bad meal this week. Scratch that – I had a fabulous meal this week. There was steak and wine (something about the alchemy of wine and red meat leaves me weak in the knees) there was bread and butter and lots of it. Fancy cheeses. Potatoes. No dessert, but only because we were so stuffed we couldn’t pull it off.

My refrigerator and pantry could at best be described as chaotic. I grocery shop more often, plan meals more often, but I am still much more haphazard in this regard than I would like. I end up throwing food away some weeks because I didn’t get around to cooking it, I didn’t have a plan for it it the first place, just thought it would be nice to have some extra zucchini and lettuce on hand. Just in case.

I eat too much meat, have too much saturated fat in my diet. I eat treats, I don’t always make the best choices. I don’t always pay enough attention to portion sizes.

I rely on a trainer at the gym, instead of figuring out some workouts I could do myself. Weak. Non self-starter. Spending money I could be saving for my daughter’s college fund. How wasteful and self indulgent.

I baked a cake – just two weeks ago! – and took it to over to a friend’s house. Every single one of us is trying to lose weight. Dumb.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I am losing weight in spite of being flawed, in spite of being human, and vulnerable, and just plain dumb sometimes. This is huge for me, because my inner critic is relentless, and most of my life I have believed that anything worth doing is worth doing perfectly. You saw where that got me. Overweight, and hiding out at home a lot, to boot. Because if I wasn’t perfect at my diet, I would give up and go hog wild. If I wasn’t going to be perfect in any endeavor then why even bother. I see how this has held me back in so many ways but honest to goodness it really used to seem like the truth to me.

So I am losing weight even though I don’t like eggs or cottage cheese. Even though I am not a vegan or a runner. Even though I still drink diet coke. Even though some meals are still, quite frankly, disasters. Along with losing weight I am losing some of my perfectionism. I never saw how those two things were linked. I didn’t know how hard both of them would be to negotiate, or how much patience I would have to muster up for myself. I heard this quote, floating around at a Weight Watcher’s meeting: You don’t have to be perfect, just good enough to lose weight.

So even my new attempts to change my mindset are so much less than perfect. I see perfectionism and self judgement creeping into my thoughts over and over and over again. But my attitude doesn’t have to be perfect, just good enough to lose weight. Because with all of the flaws in my strategy that I just pointed out? I still slog away. I still eat more meals that I am happy about than disastrous ones, I still exercise more days than not. I still keep healthy food in the house even though it might be stuffed in the fridge willy-nilly….I am losing weight because I am lurching along imperfectly, and letting that be good enough. It has to be. I can’t do this perfectly.

3 thoughts on “You Don’t Have To Be Perfect. Just Good Enough To Lose Weight.

  1. Shelley, thank you! I love reading about your running escapades. I think that might be my next step. I’ve started with walking 5 minutes on the treadmill, running 3, walking 5, etc. Slow going but it all adds up (I keep telling myself lol).


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