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Perfectionism and Food: Health Needs Balance (Opinion)

Friday, June 18, 2010 by: Leisa Wheeler N.D.
Tags: food, perfectionism, health news

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(NewsTarget) Perfectionism can be an admirable trait, but when it comes to our food, perfectionist tendencies can become a problem: both for the person with the stratospheric expectations, and for those around them. The need for our diet to be 100% perfect all of the time can develop into rigidly formed beliefs about right and wrong, which limits the amount of enjoyment one derives from their choices.

Life doesn't come with 100% perfection (although you can argue that life in itself is inherently 100% perfect, and therein lies the dichotomy), and although there is huge merit in striving for lofty goals, adhering to a rigid set of beliefs can take you right out of the flow of life and drop you into a reality based on fear, judgment and guilt.

And when you see those characteristics driving a person, it can turn ugly. Life is about flow, rolling with the punches as it were, and keeping a sense of balance and equilibrium in the perpetual ups and downs we encounter.

Some people may have beliefs that they need to eat 100% organic, 100% of the time, and that is a great goal to have; but what happens when your Mom puts time and effort into creating a special raw dish for you at the family BBQ, and she doesn't buy all organic ingredients? Do you eat it with graciousness and a smile, or reject both Mom and the food to hold to your perfectionist principles?

In life we are presented with situations that are not going to fit within our guidelines of perfection, but this is where being flexible instead of rigid allows us to act with grace in these moments. If we allow our beliefs to control our life, rather than having our beliefs underpin a healthy and happy outlook, then we can react with fear: Life is going to present moments of imperfection. How we handle those moments is a reflection of how healthy we are, in body, mind and spirit.

That's not to say, of course, that you don't aim to meet those targets 95% of the time: whether those goals involve being raw, or organic, or whatever you choose when it comes to your health aspirations. Those are wonderful ambitions to be admired and applauded. It is when that 5% comes in to shake your tree, that the truth of where those beliefs come from is revealed.

Do you respond with negativity, guilt, fear, judgment, or anger? We cannot control everything in this life, and when we fool ourselves that we can, we set ourselves up to be disappointed.

We breathe more toxins walking outside in a city or large town than we do by occasionally eating something that is not organic. So we need to keep things in perspective, and when we are in that space of butting up against our beliefs, we need to go within and see if that belief is serving us in this situation or if it is actually dropping us into fear or guilt. If it is, we need to question the belief and re-frame it, so that it allows us to flow with life and act with kindness and grace - to allow us to be healthy in attitude, as well as in body.

Our beliefs, goals and ambitions are here to empower us and take us forward in life. Health is about more than just the physical body. It is about having within you, love, kindness, compassion, grace, joy, and appreciation and about expressing those beautiful traits outwards so that you become a walking, talking, shining example of health on all levels.

About the author

The author, Leisa Wheeler N.D. is a Naturopath, Health & Healing Mentor and Raw Food Coach. She founded Embracing Health, a business dedicated to bringing you health information that can change your life.
Leisa runs Embracing Life! Six Day Detox, Healing and Raw Food Retreats around Australia, www.embracinghealth.com.au/retreat, teaches people about the benefits of a whole foods lifestyle via her exclusive membership service www.membership.embracinghealth.com.au writes on many health topics in her blog www.EmbracingHealthBlog.com and has released a DVD on mind-body medicine www.emotionalaspectsofhealingdvd.com You can sign up for Leisa's free weekly Embracing Health Newsletter at www.embracinghealth.com.au/subscribe

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