Progress not perfection?

  • A few weeks ago my husband said he could see some changes, a student who came back from a long vacation in Italy said that she noticed some changes also, my mother-in-law and her sister noted that I looked really good this weekend. SO I decided to take my end of week 7 pictures and they showed nada. I was so excited to see them and finally check out the progress that everyone else was seeing. I want THEIR eyes! I also know that the majority of the changes are between weeks 8 and 12.

    There are no differences between the week 1 and week 8 pictures and I looked really hard. I know, I know, I know it's not going to happen overnight, I get that. My post is NOT about rushing it and wanting to see changes NOW. It's about everyone else seeing something that I don't see with the camera. My husband looked at the pictures and said agreed that they do in fact look the same and it's not my imagination and he is VERY honest with me. If I ask him does it look like I've gained weight (and I actually have) he will say so. He doesn't really care about my size and is supportive of what I want to do. He's more concerned with the body fat percentage as am I.

    ANYhow, the whole progress not perfection thing has got me a little confused. If I'm not perfect, then how do I get the results that I desire? I wonder how many people have seen good results and have not been perfect?

    My meals were farther apart than they should have been last night because I was waiting for my husband to cook dinner, which I generally DON'T do because he cooks late and I've gotta eat! So I ate french fries before I ate my dinner (Chicken, corn, and broccoli), I know I ate them because I was frustrated and feeling hopeless about the stupid pictures and of course, I thought about all of the comments that people have made AFTER I ate the french fries. And I know that I have to have faith and stay the course, and I will. I am DEFINITELY not quitting at week 8 that's just insane. Today I'm looking at my foods and going to reign it in and make it even tighter.  I do pretty well eating 6 meals a day but I think my portions have possibly gotten a little bigger. Mostly those awesome protein pancakes :(

    Thanks for reading and any comments. I just really really needed to vent...and confess ;)


    You can choose the pain of discipline or the pain of regret...

  • Tia we only see the flaws in ourselves.  I remember way back when during my first and second challenges I had an email pen-pal from Canada named Sharon.  Sharon started out where I had hoped to someday be but she chose to become my penpal anyway.  Every 4 weeks I would send her my pictures and I would be upset because I couldn't see any changes.  She would make cartoon bubbles and put arrows to the changes and make comments in the bubbles.  She could clearly point out the progress month after month that I was far too critical of myself to see.  

    My message is to be sure you are letting someone else, without a vested interest review your progress pictures.  As time goes by, you will begin to see what for now you can't.  

    As to eating the french fries, here is an excerpt from an article I read that is spot on.

    "In the end, it’s all a matter of what you prioritize. If health really matters to you, then the less you compromise it, the better. If superficial indulgence matters more…then I doubt you would be reading this. It’s a choice we make. We need to make our choices more consciously and thoughtfully--and less impulsively. Furthermore, the less you compromise your health, the easier it becomes not to compromise (you just don’t get tempted after a while) AND the least likely you are to backslide and fall back into less healthy patterns of eating. --Like the Nike ad says: “Just Do It”. Stick to your guns. Maintain your “health integrity”. The ongoing and positively cumulative payoff will well exceed any superficial compromise to your impulsive desires. Your quality of life will not suffer in the absence of French fries, candy, potato chips, dessert or doughnuts. If you think it will, then you may need to take a look at what may be either addictions or a lack of healthy priorities. "

    Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right ~ Henry Ford

    Michelle Simpson ~2009 Body-for-LIFE Champion 46+ Catagory

  • Hi Tia,

    You are definitely not alone...I'm also starting week 8 and experiencing the same thing with the pictures. Champster is right-we are very critical of our own bodies.  My pictures don't look any different, but really we are eating different (high quality, nutritious food that builds our muscle tissues) and exercising different (6 days a week as opposed to very little). Even with some poor food choices thrown into the mix, we are still way better off than we were 8 weeks ago.

    I'm so glad you posted and vented, because I'm also feeling the same frustrations. Like you, I'm not quitting (there is progress in the body fat percentage-it just doesn't show up in the pictures tho). This is our time to dig in our heels, girl! We're about to see the changes, just like you said, and I'm real excited about that :)

  • I can understand the frustration and I think we all feel it at some point. Its part of the process: those who dont quit and gain motivation from the frustration are the ones who will make the transition!

    For me, when I took my pics I was disappointed because I didn't see in them what I feel. But I know I have made great changes (lost 10% of weight and I am back to size 2-4). But there are many areas than need toning so that is where my eyes go to immediately. Same with the scale.

    So, keep the drive and know that you are making changes. It just may take a while for your eyes to see them!

  • Hi Tia,

    I am a professional photographer, and I have worked with hundreds of models.

    It is part of the human species to find the flaws in ourselves.

    Even the "skinny and perfect" nikini models will look at a photo of themselves and say, "Oh my butt looks fat there"


    Even us guys aren't immune to this.  The other day having free day dinner with friends, one of them told me that I really look like I've lost weight.  I smiled, but inside  I was like "pshh yeah but only 20 lbs, I've got another 130 to go)

    When I look in the mirror I like how my arms look, especially my triceps, then inside I'm like "Yeah but your tris have always been pretty good and you don't store much fat there"

    And I've found that the parts of me that I don't like, are pretty good motivation to keep pushing.

    So, don't beat yourself up too hard about finding the "flaws" in yourself, BUT please, trust the opinion of others.  If you're getting compliments and positive comments from others, they are mostly likely genuine.

    Remember, we're here to focus on progress not perfection, and part of that progress comes when others notice the changes we've made.


  • This part really stuck out to me:

    "ANYhow, the whole progress not perfection thing has got me a little confused. If I'm not perfect, then how do I get the results that I desire? I wonder how many people have seen good results and have not been perfect?"

    REALLY? Because absolutely NO One is perfect.  We just aim to do the very best we can.  The progress part means we should always be moving in a forward directlion.  We should be WILLING to be perfect and STRIVING to be perfect but accepting that perfection is not a human condition.

  • You guys are all lovely :) Thanks for the response, each one helped :)

    Yes, really Pirata :) I refer to the post where people say "I have not ONCE cheated during the challenge and have used my free days but I have not gone crazy". I'm pretty aware that no one is perfect 100% of the time. But you can be perfect 100% of the time for 12 weeks depending on who you are and how far you have come in terms of your mental progress :) I'm sure it doesn't happen for everyone on the first challenge maybe not even the 2nd or 3rd challenge.

    I've read A LOT of posts but I don't very often see "I fell off the wagon for a week during the challenge..." or "For a couple of weeks I had trouble getting a handle back on things"...and still did awesome.

    I live by the success document and that's what gives me a lot of encouragement and the posts on this board. I read them like it's my second job.

    @Champster, I loved that excerpt! I know that my life is not missing anything without those items and I sure do know that I completely compromised my eating by 1: waiting too long between meals and 2: waiting on my husband to finish cooking! I generally don't eat when everyone else does because I'm on a different eating schedule and eat every 2 hours. I definitely don't plan on compromising my time AT ALL anymore during the rest of this challenge because I've got things to do :)


    You can choose the pain of discipline or the pain of regret...

  • Thanks for your posting suenos - I have been feeling abit the same. I am in week six now and my husband took photos on Monday. I can see a tiny bit of a change but I'm not where I thought I might be and felt really deflated! I do feel better though.

    I didn't start this to lose weight but to lose body fat and replace it with muscle. Just felt a bit demotivated but I also did miss a couple of workouts over the last two weeks and I guess this makes a difference.

    Am enjoying the eating side and the workouts but this week have just felt a bit flat. Coming on here does help - connecting with others who are expereincing similar stuff and getting some inspiration. :))

  • Suenos... I honestly don't believe anyone has ever done the challenge exactly perfectly.  Just do the very best you can... and take it one day at a time. I think you will do better to not think about being perfect for the entire twelve week challenge.  Take it one workout one meal one day at a time and try to be as close as you can to perfect for that brief interval.

    I am afraid that way of looking at it may lead you to scrap the whole project over one slip

  • I agree totally with the post above, the whole perfection thing is already setting one self up for failure, we are all human, take everything day by day and do the very best you can and tell yourself how proud youy are of yourself...I am  always telling myself this is For Life...meaning I want to be healthy for the rest of my life not beating myself up over what I think I did wrong trying to be perfect,then getting so upset or throwing in the towel, it's so exhausting too, I used to do it all the time...

    Now, if my meals are not every 2-3 hours...usually they are but somedaysI am so what...get on track the next day...honestly I am so much happier and relaxed thinking this way..and getting good results.....remember this is for life so be easy on yourself! :)

  • "I've read A LOT of posts but I don't very often see "I fell off the wagon for a week during the challenge..." or "For a couple of weeks I had trouble getting a handle back on things"...and still did awesome. "


    I wonder if the reason you don't see posts like that to often is because a lot of people are so overly critical of themselves about being perfect, that once there is a slip up they quit? I know for fact that was me in the past.

    I think the fact you can write the post you did shows that mentally you are in it to win it. You had a small, and really it was small, slip up, but you also recognized what brought it on.

    It takes a lot of mental power to turn around a life time of eating habits. It takes even more I think to look yourself in the eye, realize you are not perfect and still stay the course.

  • @Pirata Oh no no no QUITTING is NOT going to happen. I'll tell you that. I only have 4 weeks left (in this challenge) and I will DEFINITELY be seeing it through for the first time. I am looking forward to the changes but those pictures got me that day. I was expecting a little of SOMETHING nothing major just something. So now until the end I'll be waiting for that something to finally show up or show off...or something like that.

    @BCBill well there's the answer to THAT question! Wow. I could have answered that...if someone else had asked it! LOL Although I did find someone last night who is still here and had an entire week off and got back on, continued, and was successful. But what you said hit the nail on the head!

    @snowdog- The 4 life thing really hits home even more now because I will have to forgive myself those small slip ups. Before if there was a slip up then it was an all day affair which turned into an all week affair which I'm sure many of us are all too familiar with. I've read that many times on the boards before but now it means something different. I think it was you snowdog ;) Thanks!


    You can choose the pain of discipline or the pain of regret...

  • Glad I could help!

    It is an issue I had to face up to before even starting my challenge 3 weeks ago because of my past failures. I was the perfectionist who would toss in the towel when I screwed up and missed a workout or ate poorly. Here's a little snip from my blog from last week:


    I feel like somewhere, deep inside, my mind is the proverbial 98lb weakling that used to fold under pressure and make a lot of bad choices. Well, he's no Arnold yet, but it sure feels like he has put on some muscle in the last couple weeks



  • You are really welcome.

    I used to be the same way, one slip up I was so upset with myself I'd eat everything in sight and carry it on in to the following days, if you have a wee slip up, let it go...get yourself a cuppa and relax then carry on:)

  • @ Tia - Just the fact that you are committed enough to self reflect says that you are dedicated and know what you have to do.  I am only in week 3 and got very down on myself because my boyfriend is doing the challenge with me and losing what looks like a lot..... and I can see no results....  I feel different. Better.  And understand that this program works from the inside out.   Keep up the good have made it a long way =)