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What do we mean when we say 'progress, not perfection'?

What are we really saying?
So I was reading a thread on a message board/support group for weight loss that I belong to online. Someone was bemoaning a little weight gain and damning their diet of choice, and overall I knew how she felt. I feel that way sometimes too.

Sometimes I feel like I can't stick to anything, or, I was on plan and exercised but I'm secretly beating myself up for not drinking enough water. It's always something, and 'good' is never good enough.

One of the women told her that as long as we're trying, we're moving forward, that no one/no plan, etc, is perfect and that we waste an awful lot of time and energy trying to be perfect only to end up feeling awful in the end. Or something like that.

Taking your own advice
Anyhow, it got me thinking...we all say "It's progress, not perfection." On that board. I've read it more times than I can count. I think we aren't paying attention to what that means. Progress is losing 10 lbs a month, yeah, but so is losing 2 lbs a month. It might take you longer to reach your goal, but the scale is still moving in the right direction.

It's so very difficult not to beat ourselves up for not being perfect and not eating on plan 110% of the time. It's something we must try and recover from though. We must try and recover from the idea that we can ever be perfect or follow the perfect plan, or lose 10 lbs in a month, every single month. It doesn't happen that way.

On my way
This is the longest I've ever gone with staying on a plan. As my regular readers know I've had some ups and downs lately, the scale bounces around but doesn't really show any losses. But I'm still -70 lbs, I'm still on my way. It may be taking longer than anticipated, but I'm getting there. I've never done as well as I have this past year. I've never stuck with a plan longer than 4 months. Here I am though, over a year later and still trying.

This is where I'm at now, before, and during:

A kinder, gentler, you.
Struggling...but trying nonetheless. It's getting easier too. My work schedule is calmed down, and steady. I'm on plan, I'm exercising and trying to drink enough water (damn it!), and my mood and general sense of well being is back up to fabulous. :) 

I think when we sit down and tell other people 'it's progress, not perfection.' we need to apply it to our own lives as well, and stop beating ourselves up for every slip up. I'm not saying call it progress if you've gained back all your weight and then some, but if you are maintaining or losing slowly, more slowly than you'd like, remember it's the downward trend that will pay off in the end.

I know we all want it off yesterday, but it doesn't work that way. We need to be kinder to ourselves, the girl on the board said that people who do not waste their time striving for perfection get more accomplished than those who do, because you will never be perfect and it's so much easier to give up and not accomplish anything at all.

We all seem to be struggling right now, I read a lot of blogs, and a lot of us are having a hard time. Just keep swimming guys, just keep swimming. :)


  1. You're very right, my dear. Sometimes I see people using those words as an excuse, so they can take a long time to get there and eat what they want along the way. But it's really true that we need to be kind to ourselves and applaud ourselves along the way too.

    I'm stuck in the same ten pound range as you are. I get frustrated at times, but yeah, I'm down 70 pounds too, and that's great! I'll be thrilled when my body decides to let the scale go farther down, not saying that. But 70 pounds is a major accomplishment!

    I think of the people who quit Spark the first time their nutrition log goes over, or their fitness log is spotty for a week. That's not what it's about. It's NOT perfection. Might as well never start if that's what you're after. It's about learning to surf through the waves, as my guru would say.

  2. As for your last paragraph especially, I TOTALLY agree! But I've been there too...

  3. My sister gave up meat and her pounds just melted off dramatically. So I thought that would happen for me! It did not. I have been learning how to go vegan for the past month and if anything I have GAINED weight. Are tofu, seitan, cous cous, etc. fattening?

  4. it's very easy to be a fat vegetarian. cheese and pasta some people go overboard on. tofu is fattening if you cook it in oil as opposed to grilling or baking it. and watch the butter and oils you're using. but no, those things alone are not fattening. You may be overdoing it on carbs? That is a common veg trap a lot of people fall into. Eat more veggies, put the vegetables back in vegetarian! :)

  5. Hi,

    I came across your page recently and I'm trying to find an email address to contact you on to ask if you would please consider adding a link to my website. I'd really appreciate if you could email me back.

    Thanks and have a great day!


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