If you define progress as perfection, you are keeping yourself stuck with weight loss.
With this mindset, you will believe moving forward means having no failures or setbacks. That to succeed you have to “eat the right things” and “do it correctly”. The stakes and expectations will be high.
To lose weight long-term, you will need to take action and actively create your results. Which means, you will need to define progress differently.
In this episode, you will learn to re-define progress in a way that accounts for failures, setbacks, and imperfect action.
A definition that accounts for failures is crucial, since you’re an imperfect human who will have messy, imperfect progress. No questions asked.
When you remove perfectionism from your definition of progress, everything changes. You make it possible for you to take steps forward with healthy eating and weight loss – all because you removed the unrealistic expectations from it.
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Hello, welcome back to the podcast this week. I’m happy you’re here with me today. And in this episode we’ve gotta talk about the definition of progress, whether that has to do with the way you eat healthy eating, weight loss, any goals you have, we need to talk about how you are defining progress now because for a lot of us high achievers, we tend to define progress in very extreme ways.
We tend to see it in terms of black and white. And in this episode, I want to give you a very accurate representation of how you are likely seeing progress now, how that will get in the way of the weight loss results you want to create, and what definition of progress is absolutely essential for you to create the results you want. So I’m really excited to offer you this here today.
Before we get started, I want to talk about what’s happening inside own your eating habits.
Right now we are having crazy results. And really when I say we’re having crazy results, it’s in the best way because I think for so many of us with how we’ve tried to lose weight in the past, how we think about crazy results with weight loss is this feeling like we’ve scaled a mountain, we’ve overcome obstacles, and we feel really exhilarated and satisfied when we’ve reached the finish line and we’ve lost all the weight. We’ve worked so hard, we’ve used up all of our willpower.
And when I say there are crazy results happening in on your eating habits, this is not the energy of the results my clients are creating. And it’s really from this calming, easeful, more neutral energy that these clients are creating results. And I wanna explain what I mean. So when my clients tell me the changes that they’re making and the results they’re having, they lead with how their lives are changing and how they’re feeling better.
So all of my clients each week write in an evaluation to me so we can help them measure their progress. And what’s interesting is these clients will share week by week how their lives are feeling more easeful, how work is feeling less stressful, their marriage is feeling more enjoyable, their kids are feeling less triggering. To them, it’s all just feeling better. They lead with these results over the course of the process.
And then what’s interesting is when they lose the weight, they say, oh yeah. And alongside all of that, I lost another xpo. You know, I lost another three pounds, six pounds, 10 pounds. And what’s so interesting about this approach is how different this energy is from things that most of us have tried in the past and how the way they view progress totally transforms. And why this is, I want you to hear me.
When you see why this happens for them, it’s because they’re becoming someone in that process who no longer struggles with weight. So they don’t even see the concept of weight loss the same way as when they started. And this is represented in the way they quantify their wins and their successes. They more see progress in terms of feeling better, enjoying their lives, more things that are at a deeper scale.
And then the weight loss ends up becoming an added bonus that feels like it’s happening in this natural and easeful way. And so when they’re creating weight loss in this way where it’s feeling a bit more neutral and relaxed, they get to keep that weight loss permanently because they have removed the struggle in terms of their relationship to it. So this is why they will never need to lose that weight again. And so I really want you to hear this, that this is weight loss in a completely different way, but when I say crazy results happen in that program, it’s not in this overly excited way.
It’s in a way where it just feels certain, it feels stable and it feels inevitable. And I want you to picture that shift in energy. So if this feels like your jam, this is weight loss at the most elevated level. And so I invite you to apply to own your eating habits so you can join me inside. All right, so let’s talk about progress and how most of us see progress is in black and white terms. We think of ourselves as either moving forward or moving backwards.
And for many of us high achievers type A women, we will define progress as perfection. And so I want to talk about the difference between those two things because we mix these things up completely. We will define progress as perfection. And if you are doing this, this will keep you stuck with weight loss and it will keep you feeling very discouraged and frustrated with why you’re putting in so much effort and nothing is working.
Because here’s what happens when you define progress as perfection, you will believe that moving forward means you do not have failures or setbacks. So this is the black and white mindset. You will think that moving forward in your weight loss journey means that that has to mean you never fail, you never not follow through, and you never experience setbacks in the journey. And I really want you to sit for a minute. If you want to lose weight, eat healthier, make changes, and this is the mindset you have of the progress you’ll need to make.
How does that feel for you emotionally? What is the feeling that comes up when you picture that as being necessary for you to succeed? So even now as I’m speaking to you, the feeling that comes up for me is pressure for my clients. It’s definitely the feeling of pressure or confined or restricted because your definition of progress is setting the stakes and expectations very high for yourself.
And really you are setting unrealistic expectations that can’t possibly be achievable when it comes to weight loss, because I say this a lot, but I really want this to sink in deeper and deeper. The more you listen to this podcast, you are an eater for life. You have a body for life, you have weight for life. So the expectations and stakes cannot be high in terms of how you lose the weight and eat healthy because you will keep having to maintain healthy eating and weight loss with those same expectations and those same stakes.
See what I mean? So when we set the expectation that perfection will be required, it immediately pressures us into hustle, which eventually becomes inaction and burnout. And this is when we’re believing that for you to lose weight and succeed, you will have to always eat the right things and you have to do it correctly in this very regimented way.
So most of you will probably have this mindset because you’ve read a lot of scientific research, you’ve heard things from a lot of so-called experts, you’ve read lots of books. And let me tell you, I want you to pay attention because all of these people and resources are all giving you conflicting evidence for what will work for you and what won’t. But they’re all selling you a specific regimented way that allows you to lose the weight. And really in my practice, what we do is we throw that thinking out the window.
We no longer rely on a regimen in order to create weight loss. We teach you how to become someone who naturally has the weight result that you want, who eats in that way naturally, who lives in that way with ease. And so picture that difference. When you believe regimens and protocols and restrictive methods are what are necessary for progress and success, you’re going to create pressure from the very beginning and it’s because you think perfection is required.
So when you define progress as perfection, this definition is going to paralyze you. Even in my body as we speak about it here, it is quite a paralyzing feeling. What I know for myself is it doesn’t compel me to want to take action. I feel like I have to amp myself up to get started. And I believe that a lot of efforts going to be required, which this does feel quite paralyzing, and it puts us in this fear response.
You are not going to take action on solving this problem. You are sure as hell not going to evaluate your progress along the way, and you’re not going to move forward sustainably and incrementally and you’re not going to create the weight loss results you want. We’re going to essentially set ourselves up for failure ahead of time. Here’s what you’ll do. Instead of making actual progress, when you put these expectations on yourself and expect perfection, you’re going to do a lot of over prepping.
So you’re going to prep well in advance of you taking action, but then it just looks like indefinite prep that continues to happen. You’re going to overlearn, so you’re going to keep consuming different books, different research, all of the different things to build up your knowledge base before you take action. And you’re going to overthink as type A women, we love to do this. You’re going to overthink believing that you will stumble upon the best, most convincing right solution in your mind before you take action.
And notice how this keeps you in in action. You are never creating the weight loss results you want. You’re never moving forward because this is what our brains do is offer up passive action as a solution. So passive action is when we’re taking action in a way that feels productive, but we’re not actually creating results. And so, so you’ll create food plans, consume more educational material prep meals.
Maybe this is those of you who listen to this podcast and do not take action differently. Listen, I love you. I have been there, but this is what our brains do. So when this is happening, we’ll consume information so much and will feel more productive in that process. But right, we won’t actually be creating the changes we want. And I want you to know in case you feel tempted to blame and shame yourself here, we all have access to this. So I have access to this.
All of the humans have access to distracting ourselves in passive action. But I want you to be aware of this pattern within yourself because this is what will stall you from taking action on weight loss. And if you find yourself here, it’s likely because your expectations of what progress will look like are just too high. They’re too demanding, they’re too confined.
So to lose weight long term, you’ll need to take action and actively create your results. I know this sounds like such a simple concept, but I’m actually gonna say it again cuz I really want you to hear me. To lose weight long term, you will actually need to take action and actively create your results, not passively, not through planning, not through prep, not through research. And this means here together you are going to define progress differently and you’re going to set your brain up for success so you can actually take steps forward rather than paralyzing yourself into inaction.
And here’s how we’re gonna define progress differently. It’s likely a definition you’ve heard before. The definition of progress is three steps forward, two steps back because that equals one step forward. So I’ll say that again. The definition of progress is three steps forward, two steps back, and that equals one step forward.
Now, most of us have heard progress defined in this way before. I did not create this myself, but what I wanna offer you here is to really let this concept resonate with you as to what this will actually look like. If you define weight loss progress in this way. What will the emotional experiences look like of this progress? What will it require you to do? How would you treat weight loss differently if you fully believed that there was no other way for you to progress than three steps forward and two steps back?
The reason why this is the only definition of progress for weight loss is because it actually accounts for your human failures, which is crucial. This is a non-negotiable because as much as I know, it pains us to admit as high achieving women. We are imperfect humans. You are an imperfect human and you will have messy, imperfect progress.
It does not mean your emotional experience of it has to feel unstable or messy. It can feel useful even when we’re having the setbacks. But in terms of how the tangible progress looks, it’s going to look imperfect and the two steps back will occur, no questions asked. Now, here’s what’s really funny about our perfectionistic brains, and I really want you to feel safe if this is how you think as well in calling yourself out.
Because if you identify as a perfectionist or a high achiever or a go-getter, you will have tried to cheat this system. You will have tried to mis define what progress is, and you will have tried to alter this equation to fit your mindset. And here’s the difference, the actual definition of progress, right, is three steps forward, two steps back. If you are a perfectionist, here’s what you’ll have attempted.
Three steps forward plus three steps forward plus three steps forward plus three steps forward. And this keeps going indefinitely until you finally have a setback. Burn yourself out and quit altogether. Now I want you to think back along your healthy eating journey and in your past, and I want you to really consider how this shows up for you. How do you mystify what progress should look like?
So you think it should just look like steps forward? And then the moment there’s a step back, you freak out in your mind and you think something’s gone terribly wrong and then you feel compelled to quit. This is not your fault. This is just because as type a high achieving women, we were taught that this means we’re failing and it doesn’t. What’s really fun about weight loss and defining progress accurately is that you actually can’t fail.
If you don’t quit, you’ll always be moving forward because the setbacks are a part of the equation. Three steps forward plus two steps back equals one step forward. So we aren’t talking about self sabotage just because you have setbacks, it means you’re human and you are exactly where you’re supposed to be. But we, we cannot cheat the system. And listen, I speak for myself too in the past. This is humbling for me and the women I coach.
And it will be humbling for you to establish with yourself that you are human. You are going to have imperfect messy progress, and we can’t cheat that system and do it perfectly no matter how much we have brainwashed or convinced ourselves that we can. Now, here are some questions I want you to consider for yourself. When you think about this, I want you to think about what is your current definition of progress right now?
And ask yourself this question from a clean slate. How do you see progress? How do you personally define it? How do you know when you are making progress for you? How do you personally determine when you’re doing things right? So think about that. Next, I want you to think about how has that definition of progress translated into your attempts to lose weight? All right?
So think about how this way of defining progress has played into your weight loss attempts. Then ask yourself, when did this definition of progress stop being sustainable for weight loss or for healthy eating? At what point did seeing progress in that way stop serving you? And lastly, if you believed progress was supposed to be imperfect, as in that is the law of the world, it requires three steps forward and two steps back.
If this just felt non-negotiable and not a problem, what would change for you?
If you believed it was supposed to be imperfect? Then when would you determine if you were doing things right? Think about that because how you will in the past believed things were going well and you were doing things right, was when you were perfect and you always followed through and maybe weight loss looked like a perfect straight line down and there were never fluctuations, right? When we define progress in terms of perfection, we will have expectations that it should look a certain way, and this is a lie.
This is not true. It will keep us very discouraged, it will keep us in doubt and it’ll compel us to stop doing what is working. So really think about this. I promise there’s no right or wrong answer, but think about it for you. If you were able to believe that progress by design was imperfect, then how would you determine when things were working for you and when you were doing it right?
When you remove perfectionism from your definition of progress, everything changes everything. You approach weight loss, healthy eating, you approach it all differently, and what happens is you make it possible for you to take steps forward. You don’t paralyze yourself into inaction. You allow yourself to show up because you are human, and this means you are able to create healthy eating and weight loss all because you removed the unrealistic expectations from it.
This is powerful because once again, my friends, I know it sounds like a basic fact, but we have to remember to create weight loss long term. You will need to take action and actively create your results. In order for you to do that, you cannot have a definition of progress that paralyzes you. You need to define it differently. This will provide you so much more relief when it comes to you eating healthier and losing the weight permanently.
Alright, my friends, I hope this was helpful. If it was, let me know and I will talk to you next week.
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified life and health coach for women who believes that eating healthy should feel simple and sustainable. I teach hundreds of high-performing women to change their eating habits without the overwhelm. Want to change your eating habits in a way that is aligned with your needs, preferences, and goals? You’re in the right place. You can read my full story here.