These thoughts have been swimming in my head for a while. It was time to let them out.
1. Weight Loss
By far the most significant affect of ditching “perfect” — and consequently the one that started me down an unperfectly happy path — was my diet. If you’ve read my weight story you know I have quite the history of yo-yo dieting. I even have a “cute” little flow chart that basically sums up my teens and 20s pretty well.
Encapsulated in that “I fail the new diet” block is my attempt to follow said new diet PERFECTLY and if I even slightly strayed — like one M&M strayed — from that new diet, then I failed. Game over. Time to binge.
By striving for the “perfect” diet I actually ended up eating anything but. It didn’t matter how I defined “perfect” either: no carbs, only vegetables, fasting, juicing, unprocessed, etc., etc., etc. If I strayed just 1 calorie from the plan I’d walk away and declare weight loss impossible.
So here I am maintaining quite a weight loss for almost 8 years now. I proved myself wrong, and a big part of that was ditching the idea of a “perfect” diet.
It wasn’t one M&M that prevented me from losing weight. It was the pound I ate out of frustration that I wasn’t perfect that was holding me back.
I know my diet will never, ever be perfect. I don’t even know what a perfect diet looks like. I don’t think anyone does. I eat a variety of foods, focusing on fruits, vegetables, lean meats and overall less-processed choices. I also enjoy McDonald’s cones with my kids, popcorn at the movies and every once in awhile, Swedish fish with The Husband. If being perfect means giving those things up permanently, I’d rather be flawed.
It is possible to lose weight without being perfect. Consistency trumps perfection any day. That’s what I learned 8 years ago, and it not only helped me lose weight, but maintain the loss
2. Body image
Along the same lines as my diet, and using that same flow chart, let’s peer into the “I feel bad about my body” square.
I don’t remember a time I didn’t hate my body. As a teen I wanted nothing more than to look like an anorexic runway model — my idea of the “perfect” body back then — and I thought, if I’d just lose enough lose weight it was possible.
It didn’t happen.
Regardless of how much weight I lost, my broader shoulders, thicker arms, and dimply thighs are just a part of me.
I am perfectly imperfect and always will be. Realizing that allowed me to break out of the yo-yo diet cycle and lose weight in a healthy way.
I no longer pursue some perfect body — again, is there even one? I’m now much more interested in a healthy, strong one.
3. Managing my House
I don’t know how else to categorize this concept besides house management.
Without getting into some debate about male and female roles let’s just say most — OK, more like all — house-management stuff falls on my to-do list. I’m the catalyst for household chores and there was a time I would DO most of them as well.
I’ve learned the art of delegating, but with delegating comes the realization that when you don’t do something, someone else does, and they probably aren’t going to do it the way you do. You know, the PERFECT way.
We all have our own “perfect” way to fold clothes, stack the dishwasher, make the bed, etc. Right? And if you delegate one of those tasks to the spouse or the kids what happens?
It doesn’t get done perfectly!
Then you end up wondering why you asked for help in the first place because now it’s not done right and you’re angry and you’re stressed. You may even take on the martyr role and say something like, “FINE! I’ll just do it myself.”
OK, I’m saying “you” but I really mean ME. That’s exactly what USED to happen until I realized no one in the house cared how the clothes were folded, or the dishes were stacked, or the beds were made — I’m just making that one up because we don’t make beds in my house — except me.
Now the 7-year-old folds his own laundry, and let me tell you, he’s not very good at it. Do I fight every urge to grab the shirt from his whiny little hands and just fold the damn thing myself?
But I don’t. His clothes don’t have to be folded perfectly. They just have to be folded. He’s learning a valuable lesson and so am I. It’s a win-win.
I should add, my kitchen cabinets and draws are an absolute mess because I let both kids empty the dishwasher.
One day they will actually remember where everything goes. In the meantime, when I can’t find something I smile and think, perfect smerfect. I’d rather have kids that contribute and learn how to help, than a perfectly organized kitchen any day.
4. My Writing
I really don’t want to open up this can of worms but I will because it’s another example how not being perfect has helped me in the long run.
I’m not a writer. I don’t think I’m good at it. I can’t self-edit. I have horrible grammar, and frankly my 7-year-old spells better than I can.
Yet here I am writing this to you on a blog that I’ve written for 8 years. This is my job now. I write. I provide article for brands. I share stories of my kids on GreenLiteBites. I hope one day to write more about travel and share my experiences from around the world.
If I waited until every post was perfect I would never hit the publish button. I do my best and it has taken me far. For Pete’s sake, it has given me a new career!
Sure, there are grammar czars out there who don’t respect me or what I do, because it’s not perfect — I’m not perfect — and I’m OK with that.
I’m not polished and that’s sort of the point of what I do. I’m not creating a fake image or only sharing airbrushed photos of myself. I’m transparent, raw and real.
I post about my experiences and my life the best way I know how. I believe my thoughts, ideas and experiences are worth sharing, even with all spelling and grammatical errors.
5. My Marriage
I don’t care what people say — marriage is hard. It’s not hard like enduring physical torture hard or running a marathon hard. There’s more to it than that.
It’s compromise and commitment, egos and passions, goals and desires. It’s a balancing act of interests without kids. Throw a toddler or two in the mix and you feel like you’re on a tight rope juggling blazing torches while balancing on a unicycle.
The Husband and I have been married for 12 years (together for 18) and honestly, we are both happier than ever. Well, maybe I shouldn’t speak for him. I AM happier than ever, even though our marriage is far from perfect.
There was a time I thought The Husband should be able to read my mind. If he was the perfect husband he should know what I need, when I need it. He should be able to sense my stress and draw me a bath. He should automatically get up with the kids in the morning when I stayed up too late working the night before. He should be able to handle dinner when I’m too tired.
He does none of those things.
Well, not unless I ask him to.
Once I stopped expecting my husband to be perfect, our relationship got stronger. Perfect Husbands don’t exist, but partners do, and partners ask for help when they need it. Partners communicate and compromise. Partners are aware of each other’s imperfections and accept each other anyway.
My diet, my body, my house, my career, and my marriage are all perfectly imperfect, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Are you still holding on to perfect? Is it holding you back? This is NOT a rhetorical question. I have comments turned on for a reason. :)