Don't Expect Perfection

Updated: 9/27/2023
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12y ago

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When you read these columns it all sounds so nice and simple. If you just do a few things, the things that you know you need to do in order to life a healthier lifestyle and shed those pounds, then things would be great. They might even be perfect.

That word, perfect, it's a dangerous one. It entices us with its shine seamlessness, the idea of a thing without flaw. We all want it, and we all want to be it. The problem is that the idea of perfect is an unattainable goal and while there is no reason not to aim for the stars, you can't really expect it to go smoothly.

The bottom line is that no one is perfect in their weight loss efforts, not even yours truly. Let me tell you a little story.

This week I decided to try and end my dependence on Coke-cola. Despite the fact that it is my only source of caffeine and caffeine is the only thing that makes my raging migraine headaches tolerable. (Before you point out what would be the obvious answers, I dislike coffee and tea and I'm allergic to artificial sweeteners so Diet Soda of any kind is not an option for me.) In a perfect world all I would have had to do was put the soda down in the basement and I would have been free of a 140 calories a can habit.

In the real world I think you know what happened. The pain of the migraines, compounded with the pain of caffeine withdrawal (and yes, you can get mild withdrawal symptoms from caffeine if you drink it daily) was enough to force me off of the plan. As I sit here right now a can of Coke is not three feet away.

Does that mean that I give up, just because things are not perfect?


I (and you my dear readers) should be shooting for a more reasonable goal. Lets call it perfectesque. The great thing about perfectesque is that it preserves the goal without making you kick yourself for small lapses. You just pick yourself up and try again, hopefully with a better plan in hand. In my case the plan to get off this calorically expensive habit will be about finding some decent substitutions, tapering off slowly and learning to do something I don't like.

With a little bit of research I found out that a popular brand of energy shot has about the same amount of caffeine, with only 4 calories. I am designing (with the help of a medical professional - who you should always consult when you try to get off of any addictive substance - a plan that will taper me off of the soda and onto less calorically dense forms of caffeine. I'm even learning to tolerate coffee, in small doses. I bugged a local barista to give me a shot of espresso straight up. I can get it down in one swallow and chase it with a bottle of water, the same way you would with liquid cough medicine.

So shoot for your own perfectesque and don't be afraid to fail. You don't have to beat yourself up about it, just learn from it and you're on the right track.

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