The health journey is not about “perfection”. Perfection in this sense is a subjective illusion, and something that is perfect is stuck. It can't be improved or evolve. Human beings have always had the ability to improve, evolve, and push past our perceived limits.
There is also no such thing as a “perfect” diet. Nutrition science and data seems to regularly contradicts itself. A food is healthy one day, the next day it’s the opposite. An aspect of these contradictions is that every person is biochemically and metabolically unique with unique lifestyles and circumstance. Nutrition science and research can definitely (but not always) point you in the direction of what foods are healthiest to consume. Your own self experimentation, and cultivating an honest and conscious awareness of the foods you consume, and how they impact your health and life will be how you discover your optimal diet.
Rather than striving for perfection, focus on consistency.
Using an analogy from habit building expert and author of Atomic Habits, James Clear; imagine an ice cube in a cold room where the temperature is slowly rising. The temperature rises 1,2,3,4,5, degrees and the ice cube is seemingly unchanged. The temperature then rises one more degree and the ice cube begins to melt. So, even though that one degree of temperature change is seemingly no different than the previous 1,2,3,4,5 degrees, a big state change happens and you witness the ice start melting. Was it just that one degree temperature shift that caused the ice to melt? Or was it a culmination of all of the degrees the temperature rose until it reached the point where it began to melt?
This is an analogy showing not only how a state of poor health and disease can arise, but how a state of healing and health can arise as well. To get to a state of disease, poor health and sub-optimal functioning (having low energy, handling stress poorly, depression, anxiety, or always catching whatever cold or sickness is going around, chronic pain, digestion issues, etc), it is likely you are over-exposing your body and mind to the wrong types of environmental influences, and have reached a metaphorical melting point. The temperature (poor health) had been slowly rising without you registering it, until you reached that one degrees that resulted in your ice abruptly melting (symptoms, disease and dis-ease).
The same goes for reaching a healthy state of being. States of optimal health are reached by consistently exposing yourself to the right types of nutrition, and other environmental influences. Ones that enhance holistic health and wellbeing. You have to take a holistic approach and be consistent with wellness practices. This is where getting to a state of optimal health has the potential to be more difficult than reaching the poor health state.
Consistency in this sense can be equated to making the temperature drop to that point of the ice getting solid and strong again (a solid and strong state of optimal health). Unfortunately, sometimes it can feel like those practices are wasted energy at first, since you may be incorporating them for a week or two, and you may not have met whatever expectations for immediate results you imagined. Or maybe they do provide some quick results, but those improvements then begin to plateau faster than you would like. Then maybe you start to lose motivation and become less consistent at doing them, or give up on them all together.
The trick here is it that the energy is not being wasted. It is being stored, just as the ice cube stores up energy with each unnoticeable degree change, until it reaches the point of a huge shift in its state. The steps you take may not be providing immediate and fast changes, but remember that consistency here is actually storing your health and wellness energy, making the temperature drop further and further to the point of a desirable state of health and a body you have confidence in.
It is important to keep in mind that circumstances are constantly changing, and you will regularly be modifying your plans. Integrating dietary and health practices takes time, effort, patience, experimentation and maybe some failing forward. Failing forward means personal growth is occurring. It means you are gaining knowledge, wisdom, compassion and empathy. And it means that you are taking action and overcoming resistance and fear in its many forms. There may be a lot of two steps forward, one step back (or vice versa) on this path of self-improvement, and that is totally normal.
The recommendations and strategies used in my practice will serve you in incorporating more beneficial nutrition and lifestyle choices. Start slow and build consistency. Set up your environment for success and do the best you can in each moment. This does not mean you are always doing things at the same level. It means that what your best is going to be different from moment to moment. And the more optimal you feel and function, the closer you will be to operating at the best level that is possible.
Focus on how you can do better today, based on how you are feeling in the moment. The more consistent you are, the better you will start to feel, and incorporating practices from the Elements of Wellness can then become second nature to you. You will begin to love and look forward to your wellness practices as you develop a relationship with them.