I want you to do something for me. I want you to write the word ‘Perfection’ on something. It can be a piece of paper, a chalkboard, a write-on wipe off board, a steamed up mirror, the sand, the dust in your mantlepiece – whatever, just write the word on it or in it.
Now, take a thumb, any thumb, but preferably your own – people get a bit arsey if you borrow theirs – and bring it up to the end of your nose, fanning your fingers out nice and wide. Now, do this next bit simultaneously:
- Look at the word ‘Perfection’
- Keeping your thumb on your nose, waggle your fingers about
- Blow the loudest raspberry you can in its direction.
For best results repeat daily.
I want you to repeat this whenever you feel the need to think you have failed at something, just because you didn’t do it perfectly.
Perfection is an evil word and heaps stupid amounts of self-generated pressure on ourselves – for what? There is enough rubbish in the world pressing down on us externally without us generating more of it to snarl up our insides. This is especially true of anyone, let’s not use the D-word, let’s say anyone who, for health reasons, is paying closer than usual attention to what they eat.
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard people commenting that they have been ‘good this week’. I’m assuming this is an attempt to get on Father Christmas’s visiting list for 2011; because if it’s some rubbish about classifying food into ‘good’ and ‘bad’, then I’m going to take a copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica and clonk you around the head with it! Stop it! Food is not good and bad. There is food and there’s stuff that has gone off which you put in the bin – that’s the only bad food. You wouldn’t eat food that was bad, it would make you ill.
Your attempt at paying a bit closer attention to what you eat did not fail because you ate three chocolate hobnobs. It has not failed, you just ate three chocolate hobnobs, you didn’t eat the entire planet and go pop.
Perfection, when it comes to using it to determine what you do and do not allow to pass your lips is setting yourself up for a whole heap of trouble. By all means pay a bit closer attention to what you eat, but, let’s be honest; will the world really end if you have a single slice of cake? And if we’re being truly scientific, the planet won’t even have so much as a wobble on its axis if you do eat the entire thing. It’s just food. Ok, so you might gain a temporary couple of pounds; but again, I repeat, this is not the end of the world and does not constitute a ‘face-down-in-an-entire-bowl-of-pringles’ moment.
Come on now, you know what I mean by that. You have the three chocolate hobnobs and then think your diet’s ruined for eternity and proceed to eat the whole flipping packet. Stop at the three hobnobs. Eat them, enjoy them, but don’t give yourself the guilt trip and think it’s all gone to pot just because you ate some biscuits. You’ll never succeed at anything if you have that attitude. Just keep doing the best you can, when you can. I’ve had it with perfection, it has no part in my life anymore. I refuse to classify food and I’m going to admonish anyone I hear telling me they’ve been ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – unless it’s in relation to Father Christmas.
The optional God bit…
When it comes to food, nothing should be labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and personally speaking, as a Christian, I think God has a problem with it too. Even the Bible says that no food is excluded. In John chapter 11; Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples is explaining himself after a dream where he believes God has told him to ignore the food laws – the restrictions placed on what Jewish people could and could not eat. Peter queries God about this, this asking him to eat all sorts of animals – animals previously excluded by the laws. To Peter’s query God replies “If God says something is acceptable, don’t say it isn’t.” Even right back to Genesis, God only has one proviso as far as food is concerned. After the flood, he tells Noah:
“All the wild animals, large and small, and all the birds and fish … I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables. But you must never eat animals that still have their lifeblood in them.” Genesis 9: 2-4 (NLT)
So, sadly, you’re a bit screwed if you’re a vampire – or a fan of rare steak. Oh and the Jewish food laws? Look at them and you’ll find that they correspond quite well with modern concerns about cooking food properly and food hygiene. So less of God being pedantic about bacon and more about God wanting to care for his people and not make themselves ill eating food that has been insufficiently cooked.
Optional God bit over…
Putting cake, chocolate, peanuts, crisps and the like in a big category and labelling them ‘bad for you’ is counter-productive and we know what we’re like, we’ll just want it all the more.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to those people who have genuine food or alcohol-related problems. If there is something that is causing you problems – and anything salt-covered does for me – then you have to cut them out, because you know that you can’t control your consumption of them. But they are still not ‘bad’ foods, they are just foods that you are choosing to exclude for a very specific reason. Excluding salt-covered nuts from my diet does not mean that I can’t enjoy unsalted nuts, and I do. Unsalted, they are enjoyable in small handfuls. Coat them in salt and you might as well have given me an entire wrap of heroin. Stand well back and watch me mainline the lot. Nuts we bought? What nuts we bought? Anyone with me here?
Food and alcohol problems aside, the occasional slice of cake, the periodic pint of cider and even the occasional packet of crisps DOES NOT REPRESENT ABJECT FAILURE, so stop treating yourself like a war criminal and enjoy them as part of your overall plan to eat and drink sensibly. ‘Everything in moderation’, ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’, these sayings are tried, tested and still ring true.
Of course, let’s highlight the important words: Moderation and a little. It’s not carte blanche for you to consume the contents of the dessert trolley; but if you see something you’d really like, stop being the self-righteous prig moaning that ‘you shouldn’t’; get the dessert and ENJOY IT!
Right, rant over. I don’t want to hear any more rubbish about you ‘being good’ or ‘that’s bad for you’. This is the twenty first century, we are advanced citizens of planet Earth, we have better things to do than criminalise carrot cake and canonise cottage cheese.
But don’t just take it from me, take it from an actual Doctor over at SparkPeople.
Oh and once you’ve blown sufficient raspberries at perfection, I would recommend you go eat some, with some vanilla yogurt. Delish!
Like what I’ve written? Leave me a comment below!