Skinny Daily Post


You’d think that being a perfectionist would mean that I’m a neat, orderly, organized and accomplished person. In fact, half the time I’m all of those things and half the time I’m none of those things. That also describes my lifelong weight loss journey. Perfect, perfect, perfect, WHOOPS! So this time around, I’m trying to be as imperfect as my perfectionism will let me be.

If weight management were easy, you wouldn’t be reading this and I wouldn’t have three years of journaling and weight records kept on my computer’s desktop file. No, if weight management is going to work for a perfectionist like me, I need to know that it can still be done when its not easy — that weight management can still be done even when it’s not perfect.

I’m fortunate enough to know a lot of incredible losers. The good kind. People who teach me and inspire me and show me the way. The ones who are the most helpful to me personally are those who struggle for months at the same weight and haven’t given up. Those who’ve unexpectedly gained while “doing everything right” and haven’t lost heart. Those who are back in the game after having thrown in the towel. You don’t have to be thin to inspire me, but you have to be a human being. One friend of mine has lost 60 pounds and maintained that for a year without losing another ounce, even though the medical charts would say she has another 150 to go. A true role model.

Today a friend of mine (and new role model) told me that when he gained back some of his weight last year he realized that he’d lost that special feeling that his earlier weight loss had engendered, so this time around he was “just doing what needs to be done” and waiting for that feeling to return another time.

Yesterday I had coffee with a friend who’s a priest, and who happens to have lost 50 pounds. I mentioned to her that I don’t always feel like I’m that place where I was meant to be. Having had her own struggles on this topic she replied, “Jonathan, God doesn’t put us into difficulty to test our ability to cope, God gives us the ability to cope when we get into difficulty.” Another new role model.

Who are your imperfect role models? Where have you been inspired by “failure”? How does this help you keep going?

8 thoughts on “(Im)perfect Role Models

  1. Jane from PA says:

    I enjoyed reading this Jonathan. I too am a perfectionist and have trouble completing projects because of my perfectionism. If it’s not perfect, I give up and don’t complete the project. I realize I’m having that same problem with losing weight. I was 1.5 lbs away from goal (at WW) and I couldn’t seem to reach that magical number to be a lifetimer. I quit the journey and gained 20 lbs back rather quickly. I lost the drive and excitement that I had in the beginning of my weight loss journey. I guess we have to get right back on the wagon and keep doing what is right. My role models have been women I met at WW who were struggling, but never gave up. Nothing is perfect in life. Thanks for the insight.
    Jane from PA

  2. victoria says:

    Great post! I am constantly struggling with my impatience as I wait for dramatic results to the slow game of wt loss and gain of good health. Hats off to those who don’t give up in the face of prolonged gratification. I have much to learn from you jedimasters!

  3. Quinn says:

    Remember that saying, “A job half done is a job not done”?

    I hate that saying. Durn it! A job half done is a job half done already! Jeez.

    A lot of us grew up in households where prefectionism ruled. (I sure did.) Unfortunately this often translates into if something can’t be done perfectly, then best to not even try. And this attitude pervades our lives. How sad!

    Maybe this is why so many people figure that since they weren’t ever meant to be Kate Moss thin (because they come from a family of plow horses, or whatever), then any effort to lose weight/get into better shape is a waste of time. The results won’t be perfect, therefore why bother?

    It took my dad a good ten years after retirement from the army to get over his perfectionism and relax. By then end, he was *very* relaxed. “Good enough” became a byword with him, not to the point of things being sloppy, mind you.

    “Good enough” is good.

    Ya know?

  4. h says:

    I was having very similiar thoughts just this morning. Once again, SDP reads my mind. When I was losing weight I would exercise every single day, no matter if it was a 5 mile run or a 2 mile walk. As long as I got out there and moved every day I didn’t give myself a hard time. Now that I’m in maintenance I’m back to the “all or nothing” perfectionist attitude, and it’s showing. I haven’t gained, but I’ve softened. Thanks for the inspirational words.

  5. Cheri says:

    Hi, my name is Cheri and I am trying to make severe, life altering changes in my life. I am trying to quit smoking as well as lose weight.

    I realize that the lose weight process will probably be slowed by he quit smoking process, but maybe if i can keep from gaining a whole lot more I will have a much easier time conquering the weight loss once i’ve quit smoking.

    Neither of these are an option. I’ve been told by my doctor that I must quit smoking and I must lose weight if I’m to continue to live a normal, happy, healthy life. Which I do.

    I just turned 50 last Saturday and am determined that this will be the year that I change my lifestyle to a more healthier one.

    So I will be reading here looking for encouragement. If someone would like to be my support buddy, I’d love that. I love meeting new people and making new friends. I feel one can never have enough of them.

    Looking forward to getting to know some of you,


  6. Sheri says:

    Hang in there, Cheri! I was 50 1/2 years old when I started my journey. I turned 52 last October and, while I have not lost all my weight yet, I have kept going with healthy eating and regular exercise for over 1 1/2 years.

    As Jonathan noted, sometimes it feels like we’re doing all the right things but we’re not seeing results. That pretty much encapsulates 2004 for me. I was pretty down sometimes, but I never gave up. I am fortunate to have great support, both on the web and in real life, and that has helped keep me motivated to continue.

    I’ll get there some day. Maybe not to the “magic number” I have in my head…but to a healthier weight and size. But ya know what? I’ve ALREADY won because my cholesterol is substantially down, I’ve lost 35 pounds, and I am more fit than I was at 50. Just remember: “Success is measured in many ways.” (not JUST by the scale!)

  7. JuJu says:

    Plow horses!?! Plow horses!?!

    Holy cow, Quinn, did you grow up with that expression too? The plow horse/race horse comparison?

    We are related. I just know it.

  8. rachel faye says:

    Wonderful post Jonathan. All the things you mentioned have rolled around in my head as I’ve been steady at the same weight for 7 months.

    And hearing, just hearing, that other people have sometimes lost the fire and then realize losing or maintaining a loss isn’t all excitement and momentum was a comfort.

    If I feel down about reaching a plateau, I remind myself that I have never, ever accomplished anything with self-hate. The post reminded me is that each step, easy or tough is just part of the journey, not good or bad, just a part of it.


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