One of the things I continually do wrong is let events have too much control over my self control (or lack of it). If there is a party or a dinner party to attend, I put off dieting, if there is a holiday, I say "why bother". Sometimes relatives come to visit, like my cousin recently, and I use it as an excuse to go off the deep end. They want to go out to dinner or do something that centers around food and I figure, well, if I can't count it, then I guess I have to just forget about maintaining any control at all.
All that would not be so bad, but it is the aftermath that lingers that does real damage. The "event" might last only a day, or even for one meal, but for some reason I throw up my hands as surrendering to forces too powerful! Because I gave up control on the "diet", then I have to recalculate everything, start all over again.
I think I see this weight loss thing as a "program" or a "test" of my will. As if God himself (herself) is putting this obstacle in front of me, presenting a challenge that I am supposed to overcome, or be overcome by. I view it then as more of a journey, like Frodo, carrying a big 50 pound bag of flab up to Mt. Doom. I want to throw myself into the fiery pit, let it burn away my excesses, my sins. It is a definite journey, with a beginning and an ending, there are no pauses, stops, do-overs in-between just because someone is coming to visit!
Is this further evidence of being a perfectionist? Or maybe a narcissist? or perhaps living in a realm yet uncharted by my self help books, like deep seated delusions of grandeur? Maybe I am just nuts and in need of some serious medication (beyond potato chips). One thing is for sure, I have even more to think about on the road to Mt. Doom.
Could alternately be titled perfectionism & procrastination: A match made in hell!
WARNING!The following contents may be disturbing. If you were my neighbor you would move, if you were family, have me committed. Read at your own risk!
One of the things that makes losing weight so difficult is that I suffer, and believe me when I say this, I suffer from perfectionism. Now, for the most part, I don’t go around counting lamppost’s like some kind of Monk episode, and while I have been known to do superstitious things in three’s, I do not believe that I am obsessive compulsive...well, maybe just a tad. When I do something, anything, I generally try to do it perfectly, and can get frustrated when It does not come out right, tear it all down, rebuild it (kinda like now). While this can be good for a go getting corporate hack, it really is not a very healthy example for someone with an impressionable teenager at home.
My perfectionism actually does manifest itself as projects completed on occasion, but much more often than not, as projects not completed. It seems, in my case anyway, Perfectionism and Procrastination go hand and hand.
If the dam holds everything back, than procrastination is the brick and perfectionism the mortar.
I have to be perfect, that’s number one. I have to be perfect because something in me is imperfect. I reject who I am now, for a more perfect me in the future. I procrastinate achieving that more perfect me because I am terrified of failing at it. I suffer anxiety and self hatred for remaining imperfect. It’s a nasty cycle.
This kind of perfectionism manifests itself in many ways, not only the goal but the process as well. It is not enough for me to achieve the perfect body. I have to do it perfectly as well, have the perfect plan, and here is the real kicker, BEGIN IT ON THE PERFECT DAY! A task so monumental and enlightening can not be begun on any old Monday, no, it must be memorable, something to be celebrated for centuries as a holiday for all the world! And, not only must it begin on a perfect day, it must be completed on the perfect day. Here are some of the extremes I have gone to over the years...
starting a diet on New Years day and ending it on my birthday
starting a diet when the moon is full
starting a diet when the moon is new
staring a diet when the moon is in my zodiac
starting a diet after a (insert Holiday here) and ending it on a (insert Holiday here)
starting a diet in winter so I would be ready for the beach by June.
starting a diet on the first (insert month here) or ending the diet by the first (insert month here)
starting a diet for Lent, ending it by Easter
starting whenever, ending by a significant birthday, 21, 30..or event
It is not just all about the start and end dates all the time. It’s also about how many days or weeks it will last too. I spend a lot of time counting on the calendar, calculating how many days are left until the dreaded start date. The result of which, of course, is increased binging until that day arrives. Typically the day arrives, I can’t do it, I re-calculate the whole thing, binge some more until the next start date...you get the picture. Disturbing I know.
I don’t know why I go through this ritual, I guess it keeps me occupied. As long as I am planning the operation, it keeps my mind off of actually having to do it, better, it keeps me from doing it period. I suppose in some ways it keeps me sane, keeps me from having a total mental breakdown. In a strange way it gives me comfort to accept the un-real me now and have hope for achieving the fixed real me in the future. It is a habit for coping, but it is also a sickness.
Here is the shocker, to me anyway, I go through this, nearly daily, have for the last 20 years or so, and no one seems to know about it. And because I am constantly planning the blessed event, I put a lot of other things behind it (see the "dam of all things" post) and ipso facto, I procrastinate much of my true desires in life.
Sometimes I break through the planning stage and get to actually doing it, like a few weeks ago, but those times are few and far between. I think I may post about that tomorrow.
Here is the thing about it all though. Perfectionism can be a great example of a thorough job well done. A shining example of work ethics for your children or even get you kudos at the office. Perfectionism can lead to a great many accomplishments in society, creative, inventive, unique. But more often than not, it is debilitating personally, causing procrastination, frustration, impatience and only a direct result of a deep insecurity. So, do you find a way to cope with it, and remain a perfectionist, hoping that something GREAT might come out of it, or do you accept your imperfections, and opt instead for the flawed, but completed task?