Do you ever feel like a failure when it comes to eating? I know I do. Especially around this time of year. All those delicious treats, full of sugar and chocolate and yummy goodness. For the most part, I eat pretty healthy. And I’ll indulge every now and again on something sweet. But lately it seems like I’ve been going crazy on the indulging. And when I do, I feel like a failure and I beat myself up over it. Take this morning for instance. My office picks a week around Christmas where people bring in treats every day. So there are a ton of yummy treats in our break room. So back to this morning. I get to work and have the best of intentions to stay away from the break room. I start out really well and have a banana. But it’s like the break room is calling my name. I can hear the cookies calling me. So I walk by (I have to walk past it to get to the printer) and oops. I grabbed a cookie. And I enjoyed it. It was delicious. But then I immediately felt like a failure and felt ashamed for giving in. Which is crazy!! It’s food!! It’s not a drug or alcohol or something totally harmful. Except… It is. Sugar is a drug. It is addictive. And once you start, you can’t stop. I know that’s true for me. I’ve done a few sugar detoxes because I know I’m addicted. And when I don’t eat it, I feel better, my face is clearer, and I don’t have the guilt associated with eating it. Even better, I don’t crave it when I don’t eat it!!
But the real thing I struggle with is beating myself up over it. I struggle with this idea of being perfect. Or what I think “perfect” should look like. I should eat healthy, be happy all the time, have clear skin, be fit and toned with zero flaws, always look my best, etc, etc. But let’s be realistic. That. Is. Impossible. And all it does is create anxiety and unhappiness and stress!! Because here’s the harsh truth. Nobody is perfect!!! I seriously struggled with this for years! I thought I had to get good grades or my parents would be disappointed. I thought I had to please all my friends and family or they would be mad at me. I thought I had to have clear, flawless skin or I wouldn’t be loved. I thought I had to be successful in my career/life or I would be a failure. I thought I had to rush to get married and have kids or I wasn’t as good as everyone else who had that. Can you imagine how stressful this thinking is?? I was miserable!!!! And worse, I didn’t like how I treated myself.
The long and the short of it is that I had to learn to love and accept myself. I had to recognize and accept that I am not perfect. And that it’s okay!! I had to focus on progress instead of perfection. I had to calm down my overthinking and my OCD. I won’t lie to you. It wasn’t easy and it took some learning and growing and some great friends to listen to me. I learned that I put so much pressure on myself to maintain good grades and a well put together life because I didn’t want to disappoint my family, in particular, my parents. I still struggle with this and care too much about what others think about me. What I tell myself every day is that I am the only person who can live my life. And everyone is going to judge and have an opinion. Not everyone is going to agree with my decisions. But who cares!!! It’s MY life. I’m the one who has to live with my decisions and choices. And the only person I should focus on making happy is myself. Because I am not responsible for other people’s happiness. No, I’m not going to purposefully make someone miserable, but every person is responsible for their own happiness. You have to find that within yourself first, otherwise you won’t be happy with anyone else either.
So I totally went off on a tangent there since I started with cookies and over-indulging. But it’s all related. It’s a continuous struggle to be okay with having a treat every now and again. And it’s been an ongoing battle to make my own decisions without worrying about what others will think. I’ve definitely improved drastically from where I used to be. And I continue to improve every day. But it’s still a struggle. One that I haven’t shared with many people because I felt ashamed that I lacked the self control to not eat (or overeat) the yummy treats. I also felt ashamed that I wasn’t perfect…that I couldn’t live up to this “ideal” woman.
But I’ll be the first person to tell you that I am SO MUCH happier without those thoughts. I am not perfect. And I am 100% okay with that. So I enjoy a sweet treat every now and again…big deal. I eat it slowly and really savor what I’m eating. There’s no sense in making myself feel bad for doing so. Enjoy life!! We only live it once!! But do it wisely and mindfully. Take care of your body and your mind and it will take care of you. I know that overindulging negatively affects me, so I have to be mindful of how I’m eating. Oh. And to be clear on my overindulging, I had one cookie yesterday and one today. That doesn’t make me a bad person!! It makes me someone who likes cookies. But who doesn’t?!?!
The main takeaway is that you should be happy and healthy however that works for you. And don’t beat yourself up for little slip-ups. Give yourself permission to enjoy those treats!! And give yourself permission to NOT be perfect!!! You know all those things you didn’t get done today? They will still be there tomorrow!! You don’t have to be superwoman (or man) and get everything done all at once. All you can do is take it one step at a time.
Smile :-). It’s another beautiful day!! And you are amazing exactly as you are!!
With love and wellness,