One of the most serious epidemics least spoken about among women is this pervasive drive to be perfect. I see it everywhere and of course as a loving mother of four and hardworking businesswoman I myself experience bouts of perfectionism too. What I’ve come to realize is there’s nothing wrong with the desire to want things to be of the highest caliber when it comes to quality and integrity. The desire is great. It’s the belief system that attaining a level of perfection is real that’s not so great.
Perfection isn’t real — it’s a pretty idea that simply doesn’t exist. The striving to do our best or be our healthiest is fine — the obsessing about it is not. The problem isn’t in having the goals — goals are great. In fact, they’re necessary for success. In my new bestselling book, Glow15, I even encourage you to set goals straight from the beginning. I love goals!
The Vicious Cycle of Perfectionism
The issue is, if you set yourself up for the unachievable, when you don’t achieve it (because you can’t achieve something that doesn’t exist) it becomes an unhealthy viscous cycle. When’s the last time you felt good about yourself after “failing” a diet or failed to look like a runway model? Since it’s inevitable to be perfect, striving to be perfect just ends in a miserable pile of self-pity and feeling badly about yourself. I don’t know about you but I don’t know of many success stories that start with “I can’t” or “I’m a failure” or “I will never…” So you can see how this mental act of striving for perfection is a viscous cycle that perpetuates negative feelings. It’s the mentality of being a “failure” that’s destructive — not the desire to look or feel better than you currently do.
The stress evoked in the negative cycle of perfection is “bad” stress — the opposite kind of stress I refer to as “good” stress in Glow15. While good stress can be life-changing for your health and how your body looks and feels, bad stress is equally but oppositely destructive. To learn how to apply “good” stress using exercise, diet, supplements, and topical DIY skincare read this.
Here’s a secret. Even the healthiest among us, the most fit, the most lean, the most fat-adapted or insert any label trending now in health circles, still are not perfect. While those among us who appear to have it all and make healthy living look easy may have more good days than bad ones, they still struggle in their own way, every day with something. So we must always remember what our mother taught us about not judging a book by its cover. I know… it’s so easy to get caught up in this mental game but it just doesn’t serve you.
More importantly, what those women who seem so “perfect” have found isn’t necessarily the ultimate diet or skincare routine but the ideal one for them. Those women have tuned in to their bodies, minds and souls and found a way to eat and live in alignment with their beliefs and biologies. They’ve found a way to make life (and diet!) work for them.
How to Be a Recovering Perfectionist
As someone who has struggled with my own share of health issues throughout life, I have been on a quest to find a lifestyle, (not a diet) that honors my body’s wisdom and innate desire to be healthy and strong. I have always believed in the power of sound nutrition to heal and fuel the body. I struggled for years in a game of trial and error using different diets, supplements and alternative treatments to heal my body. While it took me some time to figure out the core components of what worked, I eventually pieced together a deep and clear understanding of the types of foods and lifestyle factors that healed me from the inside out. As I shared my findings with research scientists, dietitians, physicians and esteemed experts in the wellness field I realized that what I discovered wasn’t just working for me but that it would work for you, and your friends and family — all of us! It became clear to me that the scientific explanation underlying my healing principles was ubiquitous in research studies worldwide — how exciting and validating this was! I learned that the reason my body responded to my personal program was due to the biological process of autophagy. The more I learned about this self-cleaning, innate detox system our cells are capable of, I realized that I had to spread the word. So I systematically put together the program that eventually blossomed into my new book, Glow15.
If you want to learn how I healed myself from the inside out and be part of a growing movement of people, women especially, who are becoming empowered to harness their own body to heal and radiate wellness with a beautiful glow, please read Glow15. But if and when you do, read it with the perspective that unlike the plethora of diet and self-help books available today that encourage you to follow the “diet” as written or you won’t get results, with Glow15 you don’t have to be “perfect.” In fact, I beg you to not be like me but to be like YOU.
Make the Glow15 Program Your Own
I once read that to “break the rules you must master them.” That’s how I want you to think about Glow15. I’m going to get you started with specific instructions, and if you are the type of person who likes to have a model to follow, you’ll enjoy the 15-day program designed for you to follow. But then you’re going to take my plan, learn from your personal experience on it, and build your way of living the Glow15 life. Learning any skill is about a set of progressions — you start with the basics that act as a foundation you build upon until, eventually, you’re doing your own thing.
Take a look at music in particular. My daughter plays guitar, and my son plays the piano. They learned those skills the way anyone does: by first learning the notes and scales and practicing them to get a sense of how everything works together. They practice the parts, and then they put them together. They worked their way up to songs, and if they keep on going, they’re going to use the skills they’ve learned to do even more — maybe create their songs, perhaps improv within songs, and add their style and voice to whatever they play. They will do what any musician or artist does: take the tools we all have access to and then make them their own. That’s exactly what I want you to do with Glow15: Learn the notes and scales — and then feel free to improvise and make it your own. I hope that you take the main tactics and principles of Glow15 and create your symphony of sorts.
“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, What if you fly?” — Erin Hanson
For some people, starting a new lifestyle feels incredibly daunting. Especially if you are a creature of comfort, even making small changes in your diet and lifestyle can feel like a huge undertaking. While it might feel like the path of least resistance is to shrug off the change and keep doing the same thing, ultimately you know in your heart that what you’re currently doing isn’t working for you. You know you deserve more and that you want better. And better is all you need to focus on! Flip your perspective from needing to eat perfectly or exercise perfectly to simply being better. This mindset will relieve a massive amount of pressure that might be hindering you to take that first step. And that first step is the hardest! Once you begin, it’s a fantastic journey of self-exploration, growth, and community of like-minded individuals rooting you on!
You can use my program in Glow15 as a framework to model various ways to make simple switches in your diet and lifestyle to be better. Do I think there is value in trying the program as written at least once? Yes. But ultimately there is no one way to eat, exercise, or live. We must find what works for each of us and hold onto it. And also be open-minded and flexible since what works for us today may change tomorrow. Health and wellness are ever-changing, so it follows that in order to stay in alignment with our glow, we must stay open to the signs and signals the body send us. Most of the time we just need to make small shifts to realign, but sometimes we do indeed need to shake things up and take more drastic measures.
In the Glow15 program, you’ll receive some small and some big changes to try out. Take these as offerings, as suggestions. I am in awe of your bravery to dig in and start.
As Stephen King wrote: “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”
Let’s get started together. Please join me!