How the pursuit of perfection ruined my body and my relationship with food

Funny how life goes around and turns 360º on you without you even realizing. Since I started my fitness journey I have gone from unhealthy to healthy, to a dedicated fittie, to an obsessive fitness nutter, and it was here where things went very wrong. Obsession is never healthy even if its objective is health and fitness. Mine started when I decided to compete, which is what ‘made me’ and ultimately what broke me.

The more I got into my health and fitness the more I saw the possibility of achieving the body I always wanted. The closer I got to it the more obsessed I became. When I finally got to the best shape of my life, I decided to go further, I wanted perfection and it was then that lost it all. Ok,ok... a little exaggeration here… I didn’t lose it all. As a matter of fact, I didn’t lose anything apart from my self-esteem and maybe my mind… temporarily. You see, perfection does not exist, and the more you chase it the further you get from it. Especially when talking about the pursuit of an aesthetic ideal.

How is it healthy to have your life dictated by what you can and can’t eat? Or by the workouts you have to do?! "Oh sorry, I can’t make it tonight, I gotta workout”… or … “Drinks tonight? Oh, sorry, I’m on a diet”… How is that healthy? Where is the balance?

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It has been the restrictions I put on myself in the pursuit of aesthetic perfection that have ruled my life for the last 2 years, and this has destroyed my relationship with food and exercise. I became a secret eater and a binger… I became the opposite to what I was preaching to others. Although on the outside I still looked healthy I became unbalanced and unhealthy inside and it was eating me up.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step to getting better! I’ve been through a very long phase of denial, of ups and downs (no, I’m not only talking about the scales here). It took me a while but I have come to terms with the issue and for the last few months I have been trying to figure out how to get out of that unhealthy cycle. So here I am writing it down so the world can see it… no more hiding, no more denying.

I wrote the above text a few months ago and never had the courage to post it… Now I think I am over the worst of it and am finally ready to share it with everyone else. Yes, there is no other way of getting leaner than somehow restricting your calorie intake. However, there are a few things you should and shouldn’t do which I learned the hard way...

Don’t

  1. Don’t cut ALL the crap out. Don’t deny yourself from anything. This will lead to cravings and possibly to binging. Fancy a burger? OR some Ice cream? Account for it and make sure it fits your plan.
  2. Don’t let your workouts & diet dictate your life on a daily basis - don’t miss out on life… friends and family are more important then your workout!
  3. Don’t be that person that will fuss over how something was prepared or what’s in a dinner someone spent time preparing for you.
  4. Don’t stress out when you have a meal out
  5. Don’t create unrealistic expectations. Give yourself enough time to get to your goal. There are no sustainable quick fixes
  6. Don’t have Cheat Meals - the word cheat have a bad connotation and quite often used as an opportunity to eat anything and everything in site.
  7. Don’t Pursue perfection. It doesn’t exist

Do

  1. Cut the crap out… MOST of the time
  2. Eat healthy & exercise frequently
  3. Be conscious of what you eat
  4. Prepare your meals
  5. Have a goal
  6. Take Diet Breaks - every few months or when you hit a plateau, allow yourself a week or 2 of higher calories (go to maintenance levels).
  7. Be a better version of yourself