I'm currently competing on ABC's The Taste as a happy, healthy living guru. Whenever you put yourself out there in a big way, like on national TV, you're certainly making yourself a target for judgment. So I guess I should have been more prepared for the remarks from vegans all over the Twitterverse when it was not clearly explained that although I LOVE baking and cooking vegan treats, I'm not a hard-core vegan.
When my French chef mentor, Ludo Lefebvre, pressured me to eat chicken, I cracked, and my attackers were ready to call me every name in the book. However, if I could go back and do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing! I’m not perfect; I’m REAL, and I want to inspire real people, people who might not be ready to go raw or be strict vegans.
I want people to know that you don’t have to be perfect! You can make small healthy changes and be compassionate with yourself at every stage of the process. I aim to show people that being healthy and happy is attainable for EVERYONE, because I’m not perfect, and I’m OK with that!
So here are three reasons I’m proud that I'm not perfect, and I hope you are too!
1. Perfect can be prison.
We are all free beings with different wants and needs that can change at any moment. Why put ourselves under the intense pressure and restrictiveness of a confining label? I eat plant based 80% of the time. I absolutely love making and enjoying vegan baked goods, and I frequently go to vegan restaurants. However, by not labeling myself, I’m able to feel flexibility in my diet and have compassion for my cravings. It makes my overall healthy eating a choice, not a life sentence. It also makes any sort diet more approachable and realistic.
2. Mistakes are totally OK.
Ever tried a low-carb diet and accidentally gorged yourself on bagels, cookies, cake and more because you had one little pretzel and figured you blew it? C’mon. Too many of us have been there! I always tell my coaching clients that they need to FORGIVE themselves. It’s not the end of the world if you want a cupcake. Life happens, and you shouldn’t feel guilty. I don’t even like calling it a “mistake;” you just veered slightly off your healthy course for a moment, and if you're totally loving to yourself in those moments, it’s so much easier to get right back on track.
3. Life was meant to be lived.
Whether it’s trying the best restaurant in town when you’re traveling, or skipping the gym because your boyfriend made you breakfast in bed, embrace life’s imperfections! It would be so boring if you always did everything perfectly, if you never allowed any room for improvisation. Cut yourself some slack! Be in the present and enjoy that moment, whatever it brings! There will be plenty of days when you can get the salad and make spin class — if adventure and experience calls, don’t be too busy drudging through your cardio workout to answer.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying abandon all your wonderful healthy habits, I just want you to know that it’s OK if you’re not perfect. Be kind to yourself, don’t let negative self-talk sabotage all the great healthy things you do for yourself on a regular basis, and don’t let anyone make you wrong for doing your personal best. We’re all at different stages of our journey, and the important part is that we're on the same path toward optimum health and happiness. We need to support each other along the way.