Why you should aim to feel good, not perfect

I have been working as a professional organizer for over 17 years and as a health coach for 5.  One might argue that as a professional organizer, helping people feel good by lightening their physical and mental loads to make them “well” is health coaching.

I don’t think many would disagree with that point.

I know from experience that anything that makes you feel better — eating well, praying, keeping up friendships, working out, being organized — generates happiness and wellness.

I also know that the idea of perfection when we talk about health or wellness can really make a tough job even harder. It’s always my word of caution — whether I am organizing a kitchen or a life — you have to start small.

You have to be patient.

And you have to recognize that even the smallest step is good enough.

Perfect enough.

And that is a lesson I had to learn.

I remember the day my friend, colleague, and Functional Medicine Practitioner Dr. Symko told me, as he read my test results, that I had a severe condition with gluten and dairy. He told me I was malnourished, at risk of osteoporosis, and not absorbing any nutrients.

My response was utter shock. I couldn’t possibly be that unhealthy! I eat well, I work out, I am on top of my game. {Which really meant I was saying, I should be in perfect health}.

But I wasn’t healthy. And I soon learned there was no such thing as perfect health.

I believed in the power of my body to heal itself so I made necessary changes to my diet and my lifestyle.  And even though intellectually I knew it wasn’t a journey to perfect health, at that time I did think perfect health was possible. Which complicated things, to say the least.

After 2 years of being gluten free and feeling so good for so long, all of sudden, things changed.  My joints were hurting. I wasn’t digesting things well. I was feeling tired, and I was hypoglycemic. And all I kept thinking was, “How am I going to fix all of this and get to feeling perfect again?

That is when I learned about the Paleo lifestyle because of its ability to balance things out in the body.  By the nature of the lifestyle (which is far more than just diet) you eat foods that don’t tax the body or the way the body wants to naturally function.

Voila! Within 5 months everything felt…perfect again.  But this time I was more cautious to think in those terms.  I was reminded by Dr. Symko that we are all damaged goods – there is no way to be perfect, or fix everything perfectly.

And so I learned that perfect enough is the way to go. That as long as I keep paying attention and sticking to what I know is good and works for me, I will experience health. Today, I am aware of the food I eat, and I focus on nourishing my body and mind. I do my best to choose the foods, thoughts, and people that allow me to feel good. And live happy.

I listen to my body and ask my self for answers. Instead of looking outside, I look within.

Living this way has helped me be a better coach in all areas and has added a lightness to how I live and view my own wellness. Changing my eating habits mattered and helped. But changing my attitude towards how I view healthy and how to get there has made an even bigger impact.

Why your aim should be to feel good, no perfect

True health doesn’t mean perfect health.

True health means being true to you.  It means listening to your body and being open to ways to heal and feel better.  We all different – meaning we have different predispositions because of our genes and heritage — and we all have some level of damage.  Which isn’t a bad thing.  That is, in fact, the thing to embrace.  It is what gives you the permission to listen freely to what your body is saying without feeling as though you have to get it perfect.

Your aim should be to feel good, not perfect.

I feel good since adopting a Paleo lifestyle!  And it doesn’t mean I don’t have my share of setbacks.  Too much coffee, stress, and almonds will inflame my body and leave me feeling not-so-good. And if I don’t get enough sleep? Ahh, let’s just say there is nothing perfect about how the day tends to run.

All of that is okay because nourishment, health, order, wellness – it’s all a journey.  Life is just too fluid for anything to be concrete, done, or perfect. I’ve decided to stop thinking of health as something that can be perfect and instead listen to my body, my space and what it is telling me, and do my best to give it what it needs.

The road to wellness can be tough. It can be frustrating and overwhelming.  And I believe every day, situation, thought-process, meal brings with it an opportunity for growth and learning.

There is no perfect.  Just perfect enough.

And on the road to wellness of any kind, that idea suits me …perfectly.

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