My one dear friend has threatened (in a loving way of course, lol) to make a wall hanging for me that says, “Progress Not Perfection”. She knows me all too well. I am a perfectionist by nature, very black and white and find it very challenging to stay balanced in things. For instance, I am prone to either doing massive housework in a day or none at all. Its really insane when I think of it, but its the way I am wired I suppose and I am working hard on it. Thankfully in the area of faith my one elder has helped me tremendously to realize that I can allow others to have varying views without freaking out on them, lol. However, I want to talk about healthy eating and exercise on this particular post since this site about healthy living. I have spent years struggling with weight and struggling with how to feed our family healthy on a very limited budget. Those two things have frustrated me more times than I can remember. I perceive what is an “ideal” diet (and for my that is high raw, mostly vegan) and even see others doing it and I get very excited and hyped that I can do it too. Then a week later after purchasing only “ideal diet” things, I realize I am out of food money and still have another week to go before I get more food money. So the second week becomes a bunch of NON ideal foods which throws me into a cycle of feeling like there is no point in even trying if I cannot do it “perfectly”. Its the same with exercise for me. Ideally five days a week of hard core working is what I picture in my mind. However, I cannot stand working out and so I set an unrealistic expectation for myself and think if I cannot achieve that I may as well not even exercise one day. I see how ridiculous and irrational this looks typed out on my blog, but it is seriously what goes through my mind and then affects my actions. I easily become discouraged watching others easily eat “ideal” diets while I word hard being creative with my budget to put non processed food on the table. Sure I would love to feed my family mostly raw and no grains and no this or that, but honestly, its not realistic for my family right now. However, we have long since ditched the white flour, white pasta, white sugar, white rice and white iodized salt. We quit make hambuger helpers years ago and ramen soup for lunch is now archived history. We have a little garden that I am praying produces something decent and we now have our own hens laying 3-4 free range eggs a day. It is progress not perfection. We have made even more progress than others have been able to and for that I need to learn to be thankful. We may still eat rice but its brown organic. We may still eat oats but they are organic. We may eat popcorn but its been years since it is done in the microwave and now its organic popped on the stove with real butter and sea salt. We may still have pasta but its very infrequent now and always whole grain. Our chicken is from the store which means factory raised GMO feed but its better than having a cake. I am trying to remind myself of the progress we have made and not constantly compare myself to my version of perfection. I am trying to learn to be content with the budget that I have and eating as healthy as I can within its limitations. When it comes to exercise I have learned that even if I only do Pilates 2-3 times a week, it is much better than doing absolutely nothing. Its ok if I am not doing P90x an hour every day. Its progress, not perfection. It would be better for me to pick something doable that is “less” intense but that I will do long term and consistently, than to do short bursts of butt busing workouts that I never stick with. Again, its progress and not perfection. So where are you at today with your healthy living and eating today? Are you moving more than you were a few months ago? Good! Are you eating better than what you were a few months ago? Excellent! Can you eat better than you are within your budget? Look for ways to be even more creative than you already are but most importantly, when you realize that you are truly doing your best with what you have (and only YOU will know if you are) be CONTENT. Don’t compare yourself to others, beat yourself or throw in the towel and go back to crappier eating and no movement. Stay steady, continue in the little changes and you will never regret it. If you need help, tips, ideas or just some plain old encouragement I am here for you! Please don’t ever hesitate to contact me. You can find me on FB or even email me. I am on your team and together we can do this. Say it with me… Progress not perfection!