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BESSHAILE
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The 80/20 Girl Maintaining

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

I've always been sort of an 80/20 kinda gal. Or rather - I have always aimed at being an 80'20 gal. It is a conscious choice, because I CAN conceive of perfection and its attraction is powerful. Perfection is the glittering peak, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the star on your chest. It's the paper you get back from the teacher with the red100% across the top. It's Ralphaie's A + + + + + + + + + + + + + for his essay on getting a Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time.

And very few people are able to miss that goal with as much equanimity as Ralphie. Most of us grow up fending off that feeing of being crushed, beaten, at best, as second rate wannabees. Early on I decided that I was always going to be happy if I got 80% of it. 80% right. 80% happy. 80% loved, accepted, paid. Like Garrison Keillor's children in Lake Woebegone, it's Above Average.

Eight years ago I hit my Weight Watcher's goal weight. That wasn't the weight that would automatically make me fashion model slim with a long torso that could wear wide belts or open pleats and legs that went on forever. no weight was ever gong to give me that - not even when all flesh is gone and all that's left is a skeleton - because that isn't the skeleton I was given. But it was slim and healthy and could be dressed very stylishly - and that was good enough for me.

Staying there for 2922 days never happened. That would be 100%. Staying there for 416 weeks or 96 months didn't happen either - other 100%s. But I have stayed there for about 84 months which is about 13%. So I'm actually an 87/13 kinda gal - and that's pretty durn good in my book.

Lately I've been reminded of that happy day when I grabbed the ring, hit the target, reached the goal weight. I've also been reminded of how I felt when I just stopped being the girl with her hand in the box - of cheez-its, cookies, crackers, chocolates, cheetos. (Oh - who knew C is the Calorie letter?) I still enjoy those things now and then, but they don't have the hold on me they did 8 years ago. I hear their call, but it just doesn't feel like they were talking to me.

Of course, I'm feeling particularly stable and strong these days. give me a week of anxiety and I'll probably be prowling around the kitchen looking for one of those C foods. Fortunately none of them live here with me - so it would be a drive to a store to get some.

I think giving myself permission to Not Be Perfect has stood me well these past 8 years. In high school that would have made me a C+ student. In college - a solid B. But those judgements belonged to institutions and their teachers. My own judgement is that I've done pretty well for myself. I might have done better but then I'd have become fixated on picky minor flaws and I know that behavior only leads to weight gain. I accept that there is hardly a woman alive who wouldn't like to drop 10 lbs. I know that's because we live constantly bombarded by visual media with a product to sell. If we lived in a medieval village or a pioneer town - how many different Perfect Bodies would we even see in a lifetime? 1? zero? Think how many Perfect Bodies a little girl has seen by the time she's 5? So yeah. Within the context of the world as it is - I feel I've held my own, come to terms with junk food, found a fit and style that makes me feel comfortable in my own skin and hey - exceeded my goal. I guess I have to call myself an 87% gal from now on.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • KSE1018
    Just stumbled upon your blog this morning. So encouraging and well written! Thank you for sharing your positive and healthy perspective. I will totally benefit from your advice and stop the perfection quest and enjoy this journey of health.
    79 days ago
  • WARRIORSUE518

    I really WANT to be an 80/20 girl, and that is what I am working on right now.
    My usual attitude is that I am an "all or nothing" girl and I truly thought that was working for me, not seeing that yes... I can give myself "nothing".... but can I work on being a woman who gives myself, "some" without rushing down that slippery slope?

    I was a 100% girl all year last year with my Mediterranean diet. This year? I am learning and encouraging myself to be an 80/20 girl. It's tricky, but only because I'm not used to it. So all of this verbiage to say, I hear you, and well done!
    89 days ago
  • OOLALA53
    I used a system that recommended having some kind of extra every weekend and for a couple of days a month. That saved me! I couldn't not have followed a much tougher plan, then, even though I now eat in a much more limited way. I never had a hard goal besides a sustainable eating plan that attacked the worst overages. I've never been media thin, either. I call it a false idol. I have been a bit slimmer, and it certainly did not solve any other problems, if it even is a problem to be ten pounds heavier than skinny, when I feel that call from the inner victim of propaganda, I ask myself to step back and see where else I might put my energies.

    Have a great spring!
    94 days ago
  • MEADSBAY
    I have always cut myself a lot of slack.
    Maybe too much.
    That’s funny because I’ve always call myself the 90% girl.
    I’m fine with that.
    emoticon
    95 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11945874
    emoticon in every way---I think you said 87% and in my book that is a emoticon You can be proud! Here's to many more years of great health and maintenance.
    97 days ago
  • THROOPER62
    emoticon
    97 days ago
  • GETULLY
    That sounds absolutely spot on! Your C triggers are some of mine. Dearly Beloved is starting to step on the train of not buying those things.
    98 days ago
  • JCMSMILE
    Woo hoo. ..87% is awesome emoticon
    98 days ago
  • ONEKIDSMOM
    Permission to "not be perfect"... emoticon
    98 days ago
  • WATERMELLEN
    Super blog, Bess!! I "liked" it!!

    The best is the enemy of the good enough, Voltaire (almost) said. . . .

    And you are absolutely good enough in anybody's book: but the most important book is YOUR book!!
    98 days ago
  • LYNCHD05
    I don’t think living in a world of perfection would be very much fun. Just think how annoying we would be!
    98 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    emoticon
    98 days ago
  • SERENASEA
    What a perfect blog to describe maintenance. I agree with DESIREE672's comment that good is good enough, and her comment made me realize that I've been using the term "good enough" a lot more often lately and not just as it relates to food. (My "C word" is cheese, and even though it sometimes "tastes like more," as my DH would say, a small piece or two is enough to satisfy.)
    98 days ago
  • 1CRAZYDOG
    80/20 is just . . . perfect!

    Happy St. Patrick's Day. emoticon
    98 days ago
  • POLSKARENIA
    A+++ blog.
    87% sounds good to me!
    98 days ago
  • DESIREE672
    A triumphant blog, and I love the message! I bet many of us need it. Good or very good is good enough!
    98 days ago
  • BETHGILLIGAN
    Great blog and good reminder for all of us on maintenance!
    98 days ago
  • BROOKLYN_BORN
    You have added a new term to my vocabulary - "C Food"
    I will include cake and chips to the list.

    An excellent description of maintenance as most of us know it.
    We get most of it right and that works for our mental as well as physical health

    87% sound terrific to me.
    I wish that was my Spark trivia score.

    A great blog that deserves a larger audience. I LIKE it!
    98 days ago
  • NEPTUNE1939
    emoticon
    98 days ago
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