Are Your High Standards Harming Your Health?

There’s no better feeling than reaching that long sought-after goal (finally!). But what happens when you aren’t able to reach that goal? Whether you’re striving to lose a few pounds, to get a promotion at work or to stick to that new tight budget, having something to strive toward can be both a blessing and curse.
While goals can be a great source of motivation, they can also fuel feelings of disappointment and anxiety, especially when you’re striving toward unrealistically high standards. This is where perfectionism comes in.
Now most of us know that perfection is an impossible standard. Unfortunately, though, that doesn’t always stop us from pursuing it, sometimes without even knowing it. So when your goals shift from inspiring and self-esteem building to degrading and stressful, your perfection may be in overdrive.  
Here are 8 Signs To Watch For:

1.    You’re always stressed out. “Elevated stress can adversely affect your health by causing the hunger hormone, ghrelin, to rise and increase appetite, while decreasing the satiety hormone, Leptin. Also, over activating the stress-response system and increasing cortisol can result in unwanted weight gain,” says Devin Vicknair, PhD, a behavioral health coordinator at GMC’s Center for Weight Management.

2.     Your relationships feel unsatisfying. Putting too much pressure on ourselves to please others leaves us feeling depleted and sometimes resentful. Good boundaries, however, provide healthy relationships and ensure positive self-care.

3.    You have trouble sleeping. Our never ending to-do lists and racing minds can sometimes interfere with sleep. Feeling lethargic then leads to poor food choices since we tend to use food for energy and we are too tired to make healthier decisions,” says Dr. Vicknair.

4.    You frequently get sick. “This is often a sign that you’re overdoing things and your immune system is suffering,” explains Dr. Vicknair. “Our body is not designed to sustain chronic stress without it breaking down.”

5.    You tend to quit when you fail. “We all make mistakes. When you find yourself disappointed with a behavior or outcome, just use the relapse prevention strategy,” says Dr. Vicknair. “Do the next right thing—after all, some of the most remarkable inventions resulted from setbacks.” Sometimes you just have to remind yourself that the action is good enough.

6.     You’re exhausted. “Feeling tired, irritable and emotionally distant can be a sign you’re setting unattainable standards for yourself and receiving inadequate social support,” Dr. Vicknair adds.

7.    You force yourself to relive negative events or actions: “Perfectionists tend to believe worry or striving excessively to correct missteps will be beneficial, but the opposite is true because focusing too much on mistakes is rarely a path forward,” explains Dr. Vicknair.

8.    You’re constantly “should-ing” yourself or others. The late psychologist, Albert Ellis, stated “People need to stop should-ing all over themselves.”  “With that in mind, I encourage clients to discontinue use of the word should, and instead say I want to....Viewing actions as opportunities rather than obligations can create a powerful change,” says Dr. Vicknair.
Positive Change—Inside and out.
Weight loss isn’t just about changing your diet and exercising more, it’s about taking into account all of your needs, both physical and mental. With a clinically proven medical weight loss program, comprehensive surgical weight loss options and an individualized aftercare program, GMC’s Center for Weight Management offers a whole-body program customized to suit your unique needs.

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