Perfection is not a sustainable activity. I would know, since I used to try and eat the “perfect” meals every day that left me with massive cravings and wanting to eat everything in sight, which I would end up giving in to within days (or sometimes hours) of starting the latest new fad diet or severely restricting calories.
The all-or-nothing attitude is not one that serves us well. For example, you might think to yourself after downing a chocolate bar for your afternoon snack that you already “fell off the wagon,” so why not keep the ball rolling and eat junk food for the rest of the day? This doesn’t make any sense when we examine that mentality more closely, yet it’s something all of us have done at one time or another. If you tripped over your shoelace while going for a walk, would you give up and go home? Of course not, it’s just a blip on the road.
A healthy lifestyle is made up of millions of tiny decisions that are made every single day. Making better choices the majority of the time will average out to consistency and lead to improved physical and mental health, because you won’t be striving for unattainable perfection. Working towards eating perfectly all of the time takes such a mental toll that it would always leave me exhausted and too weary to spend time doing the things I loved, or even giving my all to my loved ones. The best part about consistency is that it can still include all of those times we aren’t able to eat as well as we would like to in an ideal world.
I’ve come up with some strategies to help keep myself and my clients on track. These strategies can be applied to your overall health and can help move away from that sense of failure you might experience if you are holding yourself to unrealistically high standards and feeling frustrated.
Building these three #SimpleSuccessStrategies into my everyday life has helped me to maintain consistency while simulanteously removing the pressure I often placed on myself for perfection.
1. Eat one large serving of vegetables every day.
I have made a commitment to myself to eat one large serving of vegetables every single day. Usually, I eat veggies with almost every meal, but on those days that I don’t, I can rely on that one meal that fits in a around 3 – 4 servings for my daily dose of veggies. Salads are my favourite, I will grab a giant bowl (because who like trying to mix salad dressing into a bowl overfilled with veggies, amiright?!) and fill it up with tons of my favourite chopped vegetables, greens and some form of protein. I find that by chopping everything, including the greens, I can trick my body into consuming more volume, and it makes it easier to eat.
Salads can be a delicious meal any time of day, and don’t shy away from salad dressing. Let’s be realistic, eating a dry salad makes for a sad salad. If a little extra dressing is what motivates you to enjoy your bowl of deliciousness, go for it! Remember, even if you eat nothing but cookies for the rest of the day, at least you fit in that multi-serving of vegetables. We’re going for consistency, not perfection.
Soup is another way to fit in as many vegetables as possible, and an even better option in the winter. Warming and filling, a big bowl of soup will keep you filled and make sure that you have a daily dose of veggies. New soup recipe coming to the blog tomorrow, stay tuned!
2. Fit in some form of movement or exercise each day.
This isn’t to suggest that you should be hitting the gym every day, far from it. This can take many forms, and can look like going for a walk by yourself or with a friend or family member, doing 10 minutes of yoga or stretching, a handful of squats or pushups every morning when you get out of a bed, or a straight set for 5 minutes of as many burpees as you can manage to do. Any type of movement or exercise counts. Ideally if you can walk every day and fit in some exercise a couple of times every week, awesome. However, we’re not here for the perfect version; we’re here for consistency, and that can take all kinds of forms. After a handful of squats, you’ll be breaking a sweat faster than you might think.
Even a minimal amount of movement or exercise each day will leave you better primed for your day, thinking more clearly, and you may even be more inclined to eat a little better than usual.
3. Leisure activity each day.
Leisure time? Who has time for that?
I know, I know. Leisure activities are the first to get cut when we get busy. I’m the first to admit I have often been guilty of this, and still have to remind myself to take the time for this some days. The irony is that when we are busiest is when we need those leisure activities the most, to reset, recharge, and leave us better equipped to tackle everything that life is throwing our way.
Purposeful leisure activities are stress relieving and should leave you feeling recharged, not drained. This will look different for each person, and can include a coffee or wine date with a friend, dinner with a loved one, watching a funny movie, reading a book you really enjoy, going for a massage or having your partner give you one, foam rolling, some gentle yoga, cuddling with a loved one or a pet, walking in nature, or anything else that you truly enjoy and resets you.
These kinds of activities can be built into your day and even taking 5 minutes for yourself can make an huge difference. You may notice you actually have more energy and feel better equipped to handle those extra stressful days when they come along.
More importantly, they lower your stress so that you aren’t getting hangry for a bag of chips every hour. The bonus? You will probably leave yourself in a better mindset to interact positively with your loved ones, friends and coworkers as well.
I would love to see what your Simple Success Strategies look like as you build more consistency into your lifestyle! Shoot me an email or use the hashtag #SimpleSuccessStrategies on social media.