Tuesday, April 17, 2007

All or Nothing

I was reading an article last night in one of those embarrassing girly magazines I pick up now and then but never admit to. It was about perfectionism, and how it gets us into trouble.

Since childhood, my attitude has been "do it best, or don't do it." If I don't think I have a reasonable shot at not just being competitive but excelling, I tend not to try. I never enjoyed organized sports because I learned early on I couldn't be the best player on the team. Once that was established I had no desire--even an aversion--to even trying. I wonder how many things I've passed up in life because I didn't want to risk not just failure but failure to excel?

Now, apply that to food and I think I can see why a ketogenic diet works so well for me when I stay on it, and why it's so darned hard to make myself go back on it once I've strayed.

First, I've strayed, therefore I'm not excelling at it. Strike one.

Second, I know that once I get back on it, there's no wiggle room. The ketogenic diet feeds on the all-or-nothing mentality (no pun intended), at least for me. One little "oops" on a ketogenic diet and I've set myself back at least a week. In putting myself into a known all-or-nothing eating plan, I risk straying, which leads to failure, which is the opposite of perfection. Strike two.

Third, since I try to avoid situations where I see myself as having a low chance of being "the best," I am avoiding a return to a ketogenic diet. Strike three.

Looking at it that way, competitive type-A perfectionist that I am, it's easy to see how my own fear of failure has actually led me to fail quite spectacularly, at least in terms of food and weight.

Obviously, something's gotta give here.

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