This is a conversation between Sushma and me on perfectionism.

I:Sushma! Yes, of course!

Sushma(S):So nice to meet you and interact with you personally. Thank you for this opportunity, first of all. And, I’ve been following your videos
post lockdown for the past few months. I could relate to many of your topics like Work From Home, Circadian Rhythm and Weight Loss…Especially the recent series… it’s really interesting about weight loss.

I:I’m excited. I’m so happy that you’ve got the value. Fantastic! So, Sushma…Tell me something about yourself. What you want to know.
S:Okay. So, I work with one of the MNCs here in Hyderabad. And, I like content on personal growth. So, I read a lot on personal growth. Weight loss is one of my goals this year and for the next coming year. I’ve been on a weight loss journey actually. Lost some weight now.

I:Wow! That’s great.
S:Trying to work on all aspects of personality development.

I:Great! Yeah, you lost about 10 kilos, right?
S:Yes, that’s right.

I:Wow!
S:You know, you don’t realize when you put on weight. It adds up gradually, especially if you have a desk job. It was very shocking that I went from a
normal BMI to almost overweight to obese. My god! Now I’m just 2 kilos away from normal range. So, working towards it.

I:That’s such an achievement. I mean, it’s huge. I think you need a pat on your back. Great! It’s not easy. That’s really nice. What did you do? We would love to know.10 kilos, really?!
S:I took small steps. I was doing this indoor walking workout. Walking at home and also tracking the steps.10,000 steps was my target. But, I couldn’t hit 10K daily. So, it was okay to reach 5K,6K or even 8K sometimes.

I:Absolutely!
S:It’s very easy to lose the first few kilos.As you’re approaching your normal range, that’s when it becomes challenging.So, it was quite easy.

I:Oh, nice! That’s amazing. Great! So, everyone’s who’s listening…Just keep walking.10K steps a day, right? There you go. You’ve included so much movement in your day. Like you said, desk jobs can take a toll on you. People don’t realize that initially. But, unless you bring in a certain lifestyle…desk job can be…Hey, let’s speak in Telugu. You speak Telugu, right?
S:Yeah, I’m comfortable. Yes.

I:Super! Super! Our health starts declining before we even notice it. But, I’m so glad that it worked for you. You seem so sorted. What questions do you have? In fact, we have to ask you. So, tell me, Sushma. Do you have any questions?
S:Manjula, I really appreciate this. You released short videos rather than one long video.10-15 minutes of duration. I really liked that because, people have really short attention span these days. That is very helpful. My question to you is, I struggle a lot with perfectionism. So sometimes, I’m obsessed with my goals. It’s either too much effort or too little. How do I create a balance? After listening to your story I thought you must’ve gone
through these situations. So, how do you create balance in your weight loss goal?

I:Okay. Very interesting! I can clearly understand what your problem is. You used the word perfectionism. See, whenever we use will power to lose weight it gets really hard. You might achieve it. For a short term, you can use your will power to achieve your ideal weight. But, remember one thing. Your mind will take revenge later on. The reason I’m saying that is…It should be more than will power, you know. Sometimes, when you use will power, your body and mind feel deprived. And later, after a point, you’ll pounce to the other extreme. Even perfectionism is one of the extremes.

What’s perfectionism? Nothing in life is perfect, okay? We’re all imperfect.
We’re perfectly imperfect. We’re beautifully imperfect and unique, okay? So, don’t aim for perfection, because it doesn’t exist. What you have to aim for is an over all healthy state of well being. To do that, you must be aware
of all your thoughts and feelings. Even when you set your whole exercise regime or your diet chart…whatever it is, you should look at it from a bigger picture.

What’s good for you? Eating your nutritious food. And also understanding your vision. Why you want it? That’s when you take action steps.
I’ve been talking about knowing what you want, right? So, when you know what you want and you ask the question ‘Why do you want what you want?’, you will very clearly understand the ‘Why’ behind it, and you will have a very strong emotional connect with it. What happens then is you do all that you do, while enjoying the process. And you make it an emotional thing. So that way, you’ll never give up. What happens when you
have your emotional connect is…you look at a chocolate cake…you’ll look at it saying…this is going to cost me fat, you know. My energy’s going to come down. Because your emotions are in place regarding why you want to lose weight.

You want to lose weight because you want to be an inspiration to your family, your people…Whatever your Whys are. When you’re clear about it and you look at this chocolate cake, you don’t need to use your will power like -‘I’m not going to eat it!” I’m going to say no!’ The next morning, it’ll be in your thoughts again, making sure you eat it. And your mind will also go a little crazy, you know. So, the best way is to get the emotional connect, and what’s amazing is…when you have your emotional connect with it…you’ll gradually get used to fine eating. Your taste buds will slowly adapt. And also, start being very aware of your thoughts.

When you look at a chocolate cake or a pie…Whatever your indulgences are…you just look at it and then…whenever you want to eat, there’s
always a food devil and a food angel. Everybody has an angel and a devil, not only concerning food. They’re present concerning everything, okay? So, whenever the devil comes up…you know, watch it, okay? And the devil will be like, ‘Come on!’ ‘You’ve been so strict all these days. Come on!’ ‘Sushma, eat it!’ ‘Just for today. You can start your diet tomorrow.’

Then the angel will say, ‘No! No, Sushma!’ ‘I know what the devil’s up to.
No, you’re doing good.’

Then there will be this debate going on between the devil and the angel, okay? Whoever’s stronger wins. And then we move on. But, if you’re aware of this conversation…Listen very carefully, okay. When you’re aware of this conversation, what you can do is…You have a choice to either listen to
the devil or the angel. What happens many at times is that, we don’t have a choice because this dialog is happening automatically. We’re not even conscious of it.

It’s a cycle. It goes on and on. Sometimes, the devil starts growing powerful. It eats junk food and acts as it pleases. But, when we’re aware of this dialog…we tell the devil, ‘Sorry. I’m not eating that. It’s not good for me.’ ‘I feel sluggish after I eat it.’ ‘It’s like my energies are coming down.’
‘No, I don’t want it.’ And you’ll make the right choice.

Sometimes, you do listen to the devil. But, at least, you know. So, tomorrow, you can take appropriate action. As we have good thoughts and take good actions, the devil’s power diminishes. The angel will gain more power. But, if you’re not even aware of this conversation we lead life pretty unconsciously. We use our will power leisurely. If you keep this up, one day, the devil will suddenly take over.

What can you do? But, if you’re aware of the conversation, you can lead. Next time, what you should do is be aware of the conversation, not just in case of food, Sushma. You can do that for every single thing, to make the right choices. Keep listening to the angel and the devil’s power will become less and less. And then, you’ll have more power, more awareness to take the right action. Makes sense? Do you understand what I’m saying?

S:Very well said! It applies to every area of life. You take impulsive decisions sometimes. It’s similar to this. I can relate very well. So, yeah. That’s all.