What’s an Optimalist and why it is good to be one

What is an Optimalist and why it's good to be one

Are you a Perfectionist or an Optimalist?

Did you know that most (we would say 90 percent) of the people who come to our clinics with a weight problem are also perfectionists? And we believe it is a trait that may hinder rather than aid your progress on your weight loss journey. Therefore we would be happy if you approach the goal of an “optimalist” (more on this later).

Look at yourself and your attitudes
In our clinics, we see that perfectionism ranges from very rigid thinkers of the “all or nothing” type to the more relaxed, almost “perfectionists in the closet”, who are incredibly hard with themselves but just look like that only & # 39; standards & # 39 ;.

I used to think I was not a perfectionist – my home is tidy but by no means "perfect", but when I started studying perfectionism I could see that I had so many qualities and unfortunately my mindset was at the root of much of it my fear. Worse still, perfectionism has not served me well. I didn't seem to break out of the constant cycle of guilt and remained overweight for much of my mid-twenties, largely due to my tendency to be in an 'all or nothing' state and the ever-popular perfectionist phrase, "I'll start Monday ".

A serious case
But I should soon find out that there were far worse cases than me. I remember having a client who, as part of her weight loss plan, was supposed to stick to half a banana every day (half is a serving of fruit). I mistakenly assumed that she understood that perfectionism was not required. But how wrong I was.

One day she took a whole banana instead of half. "Big deal," I hear you say. It was a major disaster for them. She told me that she had "ruined" her program and that it was now "hopeless". In fact, she meant these perfectionist thoughts so seriously that she even wanted to give up completely – just because of half a banana! Read more about what to do if you want to give up here.

Fortunately, I encouraged her differently and she lost a considerable amount of weight, but she had to learn about perfectionism and guilt first in order to progress. We found that she never felt good enough as an adult. and that led to her fear of failure (or sometimes even trying, because if she didn't really try, she wouldn't fail). So her outlook was "all or nothing" – I fail or succeed, with no room for anything in between, which she found to be both self-sabotage and highly unrealistic.

The many disadvantages
Perfectionists tend to refer to this trait as their "double-edged sword" – in other words, while it may be stressful to constantly adhere to – sometimes impossible – high standards, in part they like this tendency as it also means that They "get things done" and usually well done.

But the upside is something of a myth – you don't have to be a perfectionist to do a job well. And despite what most people think, researchers have found that perfectionism is actually linked to poor physical health and an increased risk of death (51 percent higher than those who say they are not perfectionists). It is believed that this is the result of the highly stressed state many perfectionists live in (and the unhealthy "coping strategies" they tend to use; such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and overeating, or eating junk food).

Most perfectionists smile on the outside but feel frustrated, exhausted, and ignored on the inside. They're also more likely to have burned out, as they rarely ask for help – that would, of course, mean admitting they're flawed in some way! That's why they often wait until they hit rock bottom before asking for help – does anyone look familiar to you? Keep in mind that the definition of insanity does the same thing over and over but expects different results. Maybe it's time for a new approach?

Ask yourself important questions
Perfectionists tend to get lost in the details and be very concerned about the little things, like the "right" plates for a dinner party. This can be the preparation for certain events, e.g. B. the organization of a dinner party with parents-in-law, intensify. Keep an eye on these events. Be aware of your anxiety. To help you feel less anxious and enjoy things more, ask yourself these simple questions:

– – Does it really matter
– – What's the worst that could happen?
– – Am I worried about being judged? And why do I assume that I'm being judged so harshly (is that realistic)?
– – What is the most important thing here today (e.g. a child's communion – it's about my child, not about having the "perfect" outfit)
– – Will that be important tomorrow, next week or next year?
– – What degree of imperfection am I ready to accept in my life?
– – Can I set lower, more reasonable standards for myself (and others)?

Strive to be an Optimalist Instead
We know that it is impossible to completely change your personality, and we don't want you to either. But how about tweaking your natural traits to make it cheaper and more helpful (mostly for yourself, but also for others)?

The language of a perfectionist usually involves the loss of "should" and "must" statements, such as "I should have a tidy house if someone comes by unannounced". How realistic or rational are these thoughts; and do they serve you (or others) well?

An optimalist, on the other hand, is less rigid in his thinking (and language) and will accept that failure will occur along the way. Instead of seeing it as a reason to give up, they will try to learn from it and move on. They will accept that they have an internal negative voice, but they will make a firm decision to stop listening as it will only hinder their progress. Read more about how to silence your own weight loss critic here.

A perfectionist will focus on the goal (i.e., reaching his target weight), while the optimalist will view it as a journey and view that journey as an irregular spiral of "ups and downs" rather than a straight line (i.e. they will accept that her weight may stay the same for a few weeks or even increase a little, but hopefully it will decrease in most weeks).

After all, the optimalist forgives himself and others. They accept that one slip isn't always a bad thing. They know the point is to adjust your course and get back on track – that is the most important thing at the end of the day and that is what defines real success and failure in losing weight.


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