Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Striving to Be Perfect

Throughout my college years I became extremely dedicated to fitness, and I mean to the extreme! Day by day I would read cover to cover magiznes such as Muscle and Fitness for hers and Oxygen eyeing the models and dying to look as good as they looked. I would spend hours in between classes googling meal plans, macros, carb amounts, protein powders, etc. If it was low carb high protein I was 100% dedicated to it.
My gym time consisted of Monday through Saturday with 45 minutes of high impact cardio followed by another 40 minutes of weight, and consuming around 1,500 cals a day of egg whites, tuna, squash, oats, protein powder and very little fat. If a product had sugar in it, it would be nixed. I ate very little fruit and counted every calorie to a tee, measured and weighed.
Was I thin, heck yes I was thin! I still remember one night looking in the mirror after a shower and I could count the bumps on my stomach. Was I healthy, no! I considered myself to be healthy, I was no longer eating huge amounts of food and throwing up several times a week and I was no longer starving myself to just protein bars and shakes all day long. I still, by no means was healthy. Social events were out the window because I would be forced to have a drink, or forced to eat something I did not want to eat and that would set me back so many days. I often asked myself, what was I trying so hard to accomplish...easy to look like the models in the magazines, I wanted to be perfect.
Looking back now, I can see that no matter how perfect you can be, you will always want to strive for more. You can get down to a size two, now you want to be a size 0, you can see your abs...now you want your biceps to pop out. It is a never ending cycle, and when you don't see perfection, you end up depressed and tweaking your life style to make things even more difficult for your body to handle.
It took me years to realize that it is okay not to be perfect, heck I still have to tell myself this several times a day. It is okay to have a little pinch of fat around my abs, it is okay not to see the veins protruding in my arms, it is okay to make it through the day and not need a two hour nap from all my exercise.
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy looking at these magazines, but I have to remind myself to have a healthy mindset when looking at them. Many of these fitness models are paid to look this way, it is their job. Also, they do not look like this 100% of the time. It is not healthy for your body to stay at such a low body fat. Being obsessive about my food has taught me a lot about portion sizes, so much that when I go out to eat I can pretty much now how much I should take by eyeing it. I have learned that just because you order a salad does not mean it is healthier then ordering the grilled chicken sandwich. I have learned that most importantly it is calories in verses calories out, your body will gain weight if you eat an extra 3,000 calories of protein powder or if you eat an extra 3,000 calories of chips.
I actually do enjoy Oxygen and fitness mags because they show girls with more meat on them then most other fitness magazines, approaching a healthier lifestyle of eating right and exercising in moderation. It become unhealthy when you take this lifestyle to the extreme.
Do you ever strive for perfection?
What do you do to help you keep your eating habits and exercise routines in moderation?

7 comments:

  1. Wow, what a great post! I tell myself the same - models and actresses and other celebs get PAID to look the way they do. They gym might as well be their full-time job! I'm a little jealous - I'd love that much time to work out (because I really enjoy it) - but at the end of the day, I'm happy. Definitely not perfect, but happy!

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  2. This is a great post! This has been on my mind a lot too. I do tend to strive for perfection, even though I know I shouldn't because I won't look like those models in the magazines. This is a big reason why I read healthy living blogs- it shows how real women stay in shape without spending hours upon hours in the gym. Would I love to look like them? Uhm- yes please! But, I know its an unrealistic goal that I shouldn't set for myself. I try to keep my exercise routines, and the amount of time I work out in moderation by telling myself that another hour isn't going to get me the body I want that much quicker.

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  3. What an honest post, that I think a lot of women struggle with. I know I've gone through phases like that. I think now I have it under control because I've educated myself about true health and realize that those habits were only going to hurt me down the road. Not to say that I don't sometimes struggle with thoughts of not being good enough or wanting to look like women in magazines, but I think it's a lot better and I can appreciate all my body does for me, not just the way it looks!

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  4. Thanks for sharing this post, love your honesty.

    You have come a long way and I'm sure that the struggle has not just completely disappeared, but rather is something to deal with on a daily basis. The difference is that you are aware of it now and you are so much stronger and are kicking it's butt! I have plenty of internal struggles as well.

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  5. Awesome post!! I went through the exact same thing. Ridiculously high amounts of working out paired with ridiculously low food intake wreaked havoc on my body, but I thought that I was on my way to perfection since that's what all the magazines told me to do. I never found perfection, I never found happiness.. until I made peace with working out and food. I'm so glad I've figured out how to take care of myself and what perfect really is - being beautiful on the inside, giving my body what it asks for, and loving myself as I am!

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  6. I'm so glad you commented on my blog because it led me to yours!

    Very inspirational story-- I feel like so many of us fall into the habit of "striving for perfection" and are often let down when we dont see "perfect" results.

    Congratulations on being able to accept imperfection :D

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  7. i think a lot of women really do suffer from this including myself. i continue to suffer from this and its generally how i see myself negatively not everyone else. it also comes from comparing yourself to those women on fitness mags. we have to remember that they have people who cook for them, help them work out but it is so hard to sometimes!
    this is a great post and extremely honest which i appreciate it! very open and beautiful.

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