Free from perfectionism

Big news: To celebrate the Fourth of July, Nate and I are going to our first social gathering since moving to Augusta!

Now that the work week is behind me, I’m starting to get serious about figuring out what dish I’m going to bring tonight. When I’m in this situation, I always have flashbacks to the Fourth of July of 2011, when I made these ridiculous cupcakes.


Ridiculous cupcakes circa Fourth of July 2011

For full disclosure, even though I’ve always been wired with creativity and, therefore, enjoy this kind of thing, my sole purpose for making these was to impress others. It was a very different “me” who made these cupcakes – a “me” who needed others’ approval in order to have my own. That’s why I won’t touch Pinterest with a 10-foot pole.

Just a year later, in 2012 – the year when I lost 50 pounds – I started bringing a lame spread of fruit and veggies to gatherings. And I was OK with that. My weight-loss plan taught me that I need to always make sure that I’ll have access to healthy food. The only way to do that is to consider just my dietary needs when figuring out what dish to bring to a gathering to share with others.

I thought that this shift came from my commitment to living a healthy lifestyle. However, as I prepare to meet Nate’s coworkers tonight, I find myself wanting to make a good first impression like I though I did in 2011, when one of Nate’s then-coworkers said:

I hope that my girlfriend someday will be able to make food like this.

It’s a shame that perfectionism is so positively reinforced, which perpetuates the problem.

As I caught myself browsing for the biggest show-stopping American-flag-patterned dessert this week, I stopped myself, because – let’s be honest – bringing cupcakes that are intricately decorated with fruit doesn’t exactly win friends. People don’t want to feel like they’re being shown up or outdone. Plus, perfectionism isn’t very relatable to the Average Joe.

This year, instead of killing myself over unhealthy treats only to turn a few heads, I’m breaking free from the shackles of perfectionism. I’m going to whip up a fruit salad that likely no one but me will touch. I’m choosing me and allowing others to get to know that person: a woman who values health and wellness and wants to share that with others.

During Memorial Day weekend, I posted 5 Tips for Living Well This Holiday Weekend. The second summer holiday is upon us, so let’s review:

  1. Set realistic goals and expectations. Is there something that you can easily go without and, therefore, cut out? Mine is alcohol. I’d much rather eat than drink.
  2. If you’re traveling, pack your bags for success with exercise clothes and healthy snacks.
  3. If those with whom you’re celebrating give you weird looks for this seemingly odd holiday-weekend behavior, tell them what you’re doing, and ask them for support.
  4. Act with intention by thinking about what you’re eating and drinking. This can reduce the risk of experiencing guilt.
  5. Most importantly, be safe, have fun, and be good to yourself!

During this holiday weekend, I challenge you not to bank healthy behaviors to pay for unhealthy ones. When we do this, we set ourselves up for failure in two ways:

  1. We start making excuses for ourselves; and
  2. Stop seeing healthy behaviors as a sustainable lifestyle.


2 thoughts on “Free from perfectionism

  1. Great post, Anna! I think you have the right idea that it comes down to intentions. You should make whatever food you want –even if it is creative, themed, “perfect” food — because you like to make it, not because you think it will make people like you. I think that’s a good gut check for every decision we make!

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