I reunited with swimming this summer – something I haven’t done since I was a lifeguard back in high school (I know… just like Summer from Baywatch. I haven’t heard that one before!). Unlike every land activity (with the exception of eating), swimming is something I’m naturally good at and love.
I got into the groove of swimming a mile. One day I really wanted to hit the pool, but didn’t have enough time to swim a mile so thought, ‘Why bother going at all if I can’t do it exactly as my neurotic-mind had defined as the right way??? I might as well stay here and look at pug memes.’
I quickly smacked myself back to imperfection and swam for the short period of time that I had. I accepted that I did the best I could in that moment.
This happens to me often. I let the ‘all or nothing’ way of thinking that defined my relationship with food leak into every other area of my life.
Does this happen to you?
If you don’t love your body, then you must hate it.
If you can’t walk for 30 minutes, then why even bother going outside.
If you still overeat and feel regret, then you’re a failure.
If you can’t journal ‘perfectly’, then you’re not doing it at all.
I object!! ~Elle Woods
The diet mentality – that all or nothing, black or white frame of mind – that has ruled your headspace can bleed over to other areas of your life.
Your desire for perfection clouds any chance of having peace of mind.
Even though you may have stopped labeling foods as “good” or “bad”, you may see other pieces of yourself through the same lens. You are continually stumped by The Three Principles of perfection: ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m not doing this ‘right” and ‘why bother’.
Here is what I propose: Embrace the grey.
Get comfortable with the uncomfortable spot in the middle.
Instead of loving your body, be content with body ambivalence.
Instead of feeling like a failure because you had a bad body day, be proud that you recognized those feelings instead of reacting by eating riced cauliflower.
Instead of being hard on yourself after overeating to the point of discomfort, respect inconsistency.
Instead of making self-improvement a big ‘thing’ that must be done exactly right, be content with spending a few minutes here and there.
All that matters is that you showed up and did what you could with the circumstances you had in that moment.
Sometimes simply getting out of bed is good enough.
Where can you be better at ‘living in the grey’? Tell me in the comments below!