Perfectionism links to Food Addiction
By Heleen Woest
I lived with the monster of perfectionism for a long time. I had no idea that this “thing” I felt inside of me was not a part of my personality, but rather a dangerous way of living that could destroy my life. I never suspected that perfectionism was one of the key reasons that I could not shake off my eating disorder.
In the world of a perfectionist “good enough” doesn’t exist. For a perfectionist there is simply no such thing as a good enough relationship, a good enough house, a good enough weight, a good enough grade, a good enough dinner party or a good enough performance. Everything has to be perfect or a perfectionist will have none of it.
This is a very dangerous way of living:
First of all “perfection” does not exist. Everybody has a different “perfect” and what is perfect for me might not be perfect for you at all. Secondly, chasing perfection can rob you of peace, relationships and so many wonderful experiences that doesn’t fit into your “perfect” box.
So if you are reaching for a perfect diet, you will never be satisfied with anything short of starvation. If you are only satisfied with the perfect exercise, you will rather do nothing. If you can not fit into your number 2 jeans, you will rather stay home, watch TV, eat, and feel miserable.
Believe me, I’ve been there, and it’s a sad existance. I found out along the way, after struggling with eating disorders and food addiction for many years, that CONSISTENCY is crucial in breaking free from a food struggle. It is not so important how I did some things, what matters is that I got it done. Sticking to certain habits and truths is what breaks the back of eating disorders.
- I had to decided that my body was “good enough” for me to treat it well and have some fun.
- I had to decide that eating healthy and losing weight slowly was “good enough”
- I had to decide that going to the gym a few times a week and pacing myself was “good enough”
- I had to make peace with the fact that there will be many slip-ups, but that making mistakes was still “good enough”?
In the end I came to the conclusion that reaching for perfection will keep me from consistency forever. The two can not co-exist. So if I really wanted to break free from eating disorders, I had to let go of the notion of perfection, and figure out how to live with “good enough”.
As a Christian you might have bought into the lie that perfection equals holiness, but this is far from the truth.
God commands us to strive for Holiness and this plays out as a pursuit for excellence, which some people immediately translate to perfection. However, the goal of Holiness is to please God and to become more like Him. This pursuit brings forth love, peace, joy and every part of the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives. This pursuit will end in heaven, and it brings lasting change in us on this earth. Also: Holiness can only be achieved by the power of the Holy Spirit in us. We can’t do it ourselves.
In the Pursuit of Perfection the goal is mainly pleasing ourselves and impressing others. This pursuit brings forth obsession, neurosis and anxiety in our lives. Also: Perfection is something we strive for in our own strength, which is limited and flawed, so the outcome is uncertain and the goal unattainable.
So, you can try and do everything as close to perfect as humanly possible and still be far from Holy.
In my 12 Week Online Program for women struggling with food, I devout a whole week explaining how perfectionism can entangle itself with food addiction. I also talk honestly about my own struggle in this area and share guidelines to help you break free from striving for something that does not exist.
I often encourage women to take a year, remove perfectionism, replace it with consistency, and stand amazed at the difference it can make to their entire lives.
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You can get help for yourself or a loved one through my 12 Week Online Study Course. I’ve compiled this course from my own experience with food struggles, insight and understanding I’ve gained through counseling ladies in my support groups, Biblical principals, as well as material I’ve gathered by well-known Christian authors, counselors, and doctors. This study is jam-packed with information, practical guide lines and honest testimonies.
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