Weight a minute: Perfectionism rears its ugly head again


I am just caffeinating and getting myself ready for what I’m sure will be a beautiful day at the park. I’m volunteering at the road races at Springbank, which are some pretty fierce bike races that I am too scared to participate in personally. There’s geese, there’s curbs, and there’s corners—on top of all the other parts of cycling that make me prefer tours/club riding and triathlon.

And I’m thinking about my ongoing recovery from perfectionism, scales, and a reminder why I don’t want to rely on the scale to assess where I’m at.

recovering perfectionism

Yesterday I had an awesome brick workout: 70km on the bicycle followed by a 5km run. My half ironman is just over two months away and I haven’t felt this consistent with my workouts in a long time. The bricks and the runs more generally are feeling better than ever and I’m sure that now that we have warm weather I can get my biking legs back on the real road in no time!


I can’t remember doing as many workouts as my coach has scheduled me as this year, or feeling good while I’m doing them. Other than some migraines that I’m addressing with my doctor and some complimentary stuff, I think I’m healthier than I’ve been in a long time: hormones in check, staying on top of injuries, etc. I’m winning.

But I weighed myself today.

And it shouldn’t surprise me that I stay the same weight or slightly change, as I’ve been at this weight for years now, save losing ~2 or 3 pounds a year.

But I think I was looking for some kind of validation, or comfort that I hadn’t gained weight or something, because I wasn’t feeling proud of my choices yesterday.

After the workout, my appetite felt off. It came in waves and as it often does when I’ve done longer rides or workouts, I, I felt like I’d “messed up.” Brent and I had frappucinos (because Starbucks is out to suck all of us into it’s delicious and sugary web with their half price frappucino happy hour), I ate all kinds of trail mix and granola, and I think I ate the equivalent of half a veggie tray and a pre-made salad at dinner time.


So feeling a little uncertain of whether I’m “OK,” stepping on the scale was perhaps an attempt to wipe it all clean or to show myself that I’m still “good.”

But I know that you don’t gain or lose a whole bunch of weight in a day. A solid week of training doesn’t do it. Getting hurt and taking a few days off won’t affect you greatly. Further, what I really want to focus on are habits. I think it’s tricky when you’re feeling less than proud of your habits: how do you feel good then?

Well, I’m trying reminding myself of a few things:

  • I know that regardless of whether I’d done a hard workout or not, a day of eating things that aren’t perfect like yesterday is fine. Workout or no workout, I can count the number of frappucinos I’ve had in my life on one hand – it’s not worth fretting over yesterday’s treat!
  • I know that over the long term, I’ve been more consistent with my training and prouder of it than ever before—even if it hasn’t changed my body (and if I have to be reminded on occasion that I’m fitter, and that’s what it’s about–>Thanks Brent).
  • I know that my idea of a healthy diet is mostly around eating enough real food to keep me feeling good so that I don’t turn to chocolate every night or feel like I need to use food and my weight as a distraction from the rest of my life.
  • I know that if I weigh this amount for the rest of my life, that would be okay—and if I think about what I would do in terms of food and exercise if I knew that it wasn’t going to be about weight, I should probably trust that guide to help me on this healthy, happy journey.
  • I know that there’s a lesson here–maybe it’s about what I need to feel good when it comes to eating after tough workouts, or maybe it’s about throwing my scale out again (I was planning on weighing myself once a month, ideally).
  • know that I could have saved myself some trouble if I’d remembered the advice of my dietitian to aim for 80/20. I am learning just how much of a trap perfectionism can be, and this is a testament to the idea of needing to plan for imperfection–so that when we don’t hit perfection with the habits we’ve set out as our goals, we don’t feel like failures and jump on the scale.

Looking back, I think I’m doing a pretty good job of the 80/20 as it applies to my goals. I can be honest and say that there’s room for improvement, but when I get away from focusing in on the less than perfect efforts (because they fit in that 20% and it’s part of the end goal), I can start to at the same time feel proud of all the progress I’ve made. Anyways, part of health for me is moving on and making the next meal one that feels good and trying not to get swept up in the past or too worried about the future. So to that end, it’s time for me to go watch fast people in spandex race by me!


Do you struggle with the scale?
What happens when you don’t nail the habits-based-goals that you’ve set for yourself? 


3 thoughts on “Weight a minute: Perfectionism rears its ugly head again

  1. Throw the scale away. It has been the best thing I have ever done.
    Have I gained weight? Maybe, but I used to eat following a very rigid low carb plan. I weighted and measured myself daily. I thought about good and exercise all the time.

    I don’t now. I feel comfortable in my body. I still have to make myself eat sometimes (I fall back into depriving easily) but mostly I enjoy my foods and eat what I like. Which is pretty healthy but with chocolate eggs and chips playing a role.

    I’ve gained a bit. My shorts from last summer are snug. That threw me. But I’m not letting shorts define me. I feel happy and content for this body that I love.

    No scales!!!!

  2. Oh-and no more goals. I’m still in the enjoying phase. I believe I choose things that nourish and support me. But mentally I still can’t put and rules or goals on that. It makes me anxious.

  3. I’m happy to say my scale is collecting dust in the gym downstairs. I’ve weaned myself off it over the past year or so and I think I’m better for it. There was a shift that happened when I trained for my first marathon. I actually gained weight like crazy during this time but just couldn’t be bothered because, holy heck, I was going to run 26.2 miles! How could I begrudge my body for piling on a couple of extra pounds when it was gearing up for that? I know from the way my clothes fit that I’ve lost that weight, but I haven’t looked back to my scale for validation since.

    Also, I really like the 80/20 idea you mentioned and think it’s a really good philosophy both for eating “right” and for sticking to my training plans. Gonna borrow that for sure!

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