There are no definitive criteria for what makes a healthy person. It’s a continuum, a moving target – and thus a minefield for perfectionists. We don’t know when we have it, so whatever we’re doing, wherever we’re at, it’s never enough. It’s also all tangled up with our appearance, since in our society, the word healthy is too often code for thin, or youthful, or beautiful – with whole industries dedicated to convincing us we are not enough of any of those.
There are so many ways perfectionism can harm health, and I’ve done most of them: following regimens that are more about what the scale says than how I feel; exposing myself to injury in pursuit of a body that might not be natural for me; looking at my health as just one more thing to flog myself for; even giving up doing anything at all because I can’t achieve perfection. That last one, over time, could be lethal.
I am guilty of viewing my health as an all-or-nothing proposition that I can either accomplish perfectly, or fail. To make this so much more embarrassing, my day job is actually health related. So I know – I know – that the only thing I need to do to get all of the benefits of physical activity, is more of it than I’m doing right now. The only thing I need to do to get all of the benefits of nutritious food is to eat more of it than I do right now. But up ‘til now I’ve been unable to give myself permission to get out there and screw it up, and allow myself the benefits of being imperfectly healthy.
In the “Feeling Good” category, you’ll find posts about things I’m learning on my journey to good-enough health; stuff I’ve tried, what’s worked for me, and what hasn’t. There might be more about health than you’d expect from a blog on perfectionism, but I’ve found that addressing certain health issues is what gave me the head space to work on the rest. I am not a healthcare professional of any kind, so you know this isn’t medical advice, only my experiences – and your mileage may vary.