Ep #158: Taking Imperfect Action

By: Dr. Sherry Price

Drink Less Lifestyle with Dr. Sherry Price | Taking Imperfect Action

What is the next step to improve your overall physical and mental health?

You may think the answer is pushing through, forcing yourself to work out, never touching junk food again, and leaving alcohol off the table entirely.

Women tend to set goals and then beat themselves up when they don’t meet them.

But that doesn’t work.

The secret to making progress of any kind is to take imperfect action.

You have goals, and you want to pursue them in a way that feels good!

Tune in to this week’s podcast to learn how you can make progress on that important health goal. You can start using this tool – taking imperfect action – to start building momentum on one of your core values – HEALTH!


IF:45 for Women is open!  Learn how, what, and when to eat for burning fat, losing weight, and boosting your energy in midlife and beyond.  Click here to sign up!

Become a woman who can take it or leave it with food and alcohol and end your OVER-ing struggle while building a life you love.  Learn the tools and techniques to do this inside EpicYOU. Click here to join.


What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • Where women try to change their lives in ways that aren’t serving them.
  • Getting past blocks that are preventing you from the change you
  • What you can do to start making progress


Featured on the Show:

Ep #156: Justifying Your Drink

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 158.

Welcome to Drink Less Lifestyle, a podcast for successful women who want to change their relationship with alcohol. If you want to drink less, feel healthier and start loving life again you’re in the right place. Please remember that the information in this podcast does not constitute medical advice. Now, here’s your host, Dr. Sherry Price.

Well, hello my beautiful friend. I am recording this on a Friday. Happy Friday. Yay. I love Fridays. I love Saturdays. I love Sundays. I love most Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Thursdays. Every day has an opportunity to be a great day.

So I want to start off the podcast with an announcement. IF:45 for Women will be launching later this month in October. So if you are ready to dial in your eating habits and eat in a way that serves your body. That means you lose belly fat. That means you regulate your blood glucose. That means your blood pressure may come down, all the healthy benefits when you change one thing and that is how you eat and when you eat. A lot of people think it’s all about the what you eat. That is just part of it, my friend.

It is also about when you eat and also the food you select and if you are eating the right macronutrients for your body. And what I mean for your body, I mean for your health. We know that food is the biggest player when it comes to your overall metabolic health and the how, what and why and the foods you select will impact your lifespan as well as your longevity. And so I want to take all the guesswork out of that for you and teach you this method that helps you lose body fat. It helps you with autophagy. It helps you with boosting your energy.

It helps you with brain health. It helps you with your moods. It helps balance blood glucose. And who does not want all of that? So I’m super excited to be launching IF:45 for Women later this month. You can head over to my website epicyou.com to find out more information and sign up.

Now, I know some of you really enjoy learning a bit about my journey through perimenopause and what I’m experiencing in my life because you reach out to me. And I love answering your questions and helping you, not only understand, but figure out what is the next step to improving your overall health. So I am nearing the end of my reset and restore gut protocol and I couldn’t be more delighted because just the other day my blood work came back and I’m happy to say that my inflammation in my gut has resolved.

I’m so, so excited for that, so proud of myself for doing this, so excited to take my health to the next level. And I no longer have leaky gut or gut dysbiosis and I’m feeling better. As I mentioned, a few of you have reached out to me with some questions and I’ve been helping you heal your gut. That I started to actually outline some helpful guides to help you if you feel up to the challenge of resetting your gut microbiome. Now, if this is a new concept for you, when you have an unhealthy gut it just sets up this environment for disease to prosper.

So gut dysbiosis gives your gut this unhealthy environment. As I mentioned that dis-ease, your body not being at ease, not being at homeostasis, sets up this environment for other factors to happen such as it’s a precursor for autoimmune conditions. Many autoimmune conditions can be traced back to gut dysbiosis. It also sets you up for a weakened immune system and people who didn’t have a healthy gut and were older in age, this led to more COVID severity and COVID disease.

And so you want to take care of your gut microbiome because it directly influences the health of your immune system. And actually 70% of your immune cells are manufactured in the gut. The gut is also responsible for 90% of your serotonin levels. So if your moods are off or you’re experiencing mood swings such as I am because I’m in perimenopause, this was one factor I wanted to take off the table.

I wanted to normalize my gut to make sure I had the best environment to improve my immune system, to improve my mood and see how much my diet was affecting that. Now, gut dysbiosis can lead to many other chronic diseases such as heart disease, strokes, cancer, and as I already mentioned, a whole host of autoimmune conditions. And so I really wanted to reset my gut and the main factor for that was really to see how much my diet may have been influencing how I’m feeling recently.

And how I’ve been experiencing perimenopause because my emotions have been a little up and down more so than normal, especially my anxiety. And so as I’m up-leveling my health, I just want to raise awareness around what goes into health and the markers we look at for health and help you tap into this plethora of data and to be able to understand that on a deeper level so that you can make these adjustments for your life.

I consider this lifestyle medicine. I don’t want to be on pharmaceutical medications if I don’t need to be so I really want to do all I can inside of my lifestyle because our lifestyle influences our health tremendously. If we take care of ourselves through diet, if we take care of ourselves through exercise. If we’re getting the right amount of sleep and just not the quantity of sleep, but the quality of your sleep, are you hydrating enough? It’s estimated that over 90% of Americans have chronic dehydration because we’re not hydrating enough and we’re not hydrating properly.

And are you getting all the supplements you need? I’m diving into this whole field and learning so much more about supplements that used to come and these nutrients that used to come from our food, but because of the way the big food industry has changed and these micronutrients that are no longer in our soil and the pesticides and the glyphosate and all these things. They’re sprayed on our plants and they’re seeping into the soil and changing the components and the structure of our food and our food’s becoming more genetically modified.

All of these things go into, am I getting the right micronutrients for my body? And last but not least, how am I managing my stress? Because as we age we become less stress sensitive, especially for women, because we’re losing estrogen, we’re losing progesterone and those help with the stress response. And when those start to go down, guess what starts to rise? Cortisol and cortisol gives us cortisol pot or cortisol belly and a stress bod.

And so really taking care of our stress through stress management practices, mindful practices and mindful based practices is really going to influence our health and our biochemical pathways inside of our body. And so right I’m now looking into what is causing a little bit more of this anxiety. And while I’ve been diving into it, I’ve been learning about this new phenomenon called post-COVID anxiety that many people are experiencing. And so I’m open to it could be coming from that because I did stay in a lot during COVID.

And now that things are back on, is that what is activating my nervous system and what’s triggering a little bit more anxiety for me? Or is it because I am in perimenopause and my hormones are shifting and then that’s fluctuating how I feel? One thing that I do know is that I do not want to go on an antidepressant or an anti-anxiety medication because of their short term and long term effects. And what I know about treating depression and treating anxiety is that a lot of times people get put on these medications, but they’re just symptom based medications and I’d rather get to the root cause of what’s causing the anxiety.

I heard a physician once say, it’s not that you have a Paxil or a Prozac deficiency. Let’s get to the root cause of actually what is causing the depression or what is causing the anxiety and let’s treat that because if we get to that root cause, we may not need medication at all. And so I firmly believe in lifestyle medicine. So looking at what in my lifestyle or what changes need to be made first before I have to resort to anything else.

Now, I do believe that these medications are helpful for certain people for a certain amount of time. But I’m just not experiencing severe anxiety, severe panic attacks, so I don’t even feel that I need to go there yet. And I also prefer to manage it in other ways. So because I am talking about this, a lot more people are emailing me and messaging me saying, “Oh my gosh, I’m in that same spot or I’ve experienced this or someone close to me has experienced this and can you help?”

So I plan on bringing some experts onto this podcast here soon to talk about this, to really help us women navigate these times because I don’t feel we get enough of that. I don’t feel that this is publicly known. I know in pharmacy school for me, this was maybe a one hour lecture about menopause and it was just around the functions that the ovaries start putting out these hormones and that your adrenal glands have to pick it up. And so when your adrenal glands get activated, that’s when cortisol gets activated.

But they never talked about how cortisol leads to stress bod and body fat and all the other mechanisms that go into play that can increase our feeling like we have to be going all the time. And that we can’t relax and that we’re always on and that flight or fight response is constantly triggered leading to this chronic stress. And so I’ve learned so much from experts in this space and really want to get them on this podcast so you can learn from them too.

And I have to say, it’s not just me because I’m seeing this a lot more in the clients that are coming to me is that they have more fear, they have more anxiety. And even the small things that used to not bother them are starting to bother them.

I know some have told me they don’t feel that they can deal with the fear that they experience or the restlessness that they feel inside their body. So they turn to drinking more, or they just need that drink to relax or to shut off that response that their body is having. Or they’re turning to food for comfort and joy and then there’s some that are just not as motivated or driven as they used to, and that bothers them. And so they’re finding they just become passe or apathetic about something. That they want it to be meaningful to them, like their health.

And then I have the flipside where some people are filling up their calendars so much because they just can’t sit with that restlessness. So they just want to be on the go all the time because they just want to power through it. And they think that’s the best way to heal that and take care of their bodies. And we know that that’s the quickest way to burn out. That will not heal the body, that will only cause the body to go into overdrive. And of course, there’s consequences when that happens.

So my preference is to not cope with it, not ignore it, but actually get to the root cause so that we can treat it. And so I’m willing to be open to see if my hormones are off. And if it’s my hormones that are off, I will fix them. Let’s fix them. I know right now in my journey, I have really cleaned up my diet so I have ruled that out as a causative factor. I’m also in the process of monitoring my cortisol levels over time to see how stressed my body is in the beginning of the day, the middle of the day, the end of the day and looking at that data.

And looking at other areas of my life that could be contributing to the root cause, because, ladies, we don’t know until we start to look. And that’s what it’s all about when it comes to drinking, really understanding why is it? What is it in that drink that you are looking for and how can we solve that without using alcohol? Or if your vice is overeating or food, looking under the hood and saying, “What’s driving this behavior? What do I want from this? Why do I need this comfort from this? What am I getting out of this? And how can I solve that a different way, one that supports my health?”

And so while I have this anxiety, I have to say it comes and goes. It’s sporadic, it’s not constant. I don’t have it every single day, but as the ladies know in my programs because I’m quite open and honest about it, I start wringing my hands. I notice when I wring my hands that my anxiety is up. That is one manifestation I get from anxiety that I’m really tuned into now. And while I have some great tactics to cope with anxiety that don’t include going to alcohol or don’t include going to food, I don’t want to walk around with it if I don’t have to.

So I really want to take action to look to solve it. And that’s really what I want to talk about today is not just pushing through something just to get through the day. Not just pushing yourself into something, not just being your inner dictator just saying, “Suck it up and keep going or what are you complaining about?” And just being so demanding and critical of yourself to get through to the other side. Because I find a lot of women do that to themselves, more so now than ever. It’s like we want to wrestle with ourselves into submission. Just do it, just do that workout. Just put the cookies away.

So whether that’s getting healthy, like I said, getting a workout in at the gym or even reducing their weekly drinking count. I see women do this all the time where they just want to beat themselves up in order to meet this metric. But I want to embrace a different way of doing it. And so my philosophy is, how can I do this in my life in a way that’s compassionate, in a way that’s self-supporting, in a way that’s self-empowering, in a way that gets me on board with this without berating myself.

So I prefer to use self-love, self-compassion. I talked about this on the podcast many times, rather than that inner dictator. And one way to do this is to embrace what I call imperfect action. So this has come up in a few of the coaching calls that I have been doing, because I have a few clients right now who are just really stuck. They want a better way. They want to be taking a certain action, but they just aren’t. And so they go into justification.

I want to do it, but I can’t find the time or I can’t muster the energy or I just don’t know why I’m not taking this action. And so I’m first always about peeling back the layers. What is blocking you? Is it a poor diet, bad relationships, injuries to your body that you feel like you can’t do the workouts that you used to? Is it family getting in the way? Is it your job getting in the way? Is it your energy level?

And I really want to dive into what are those change blockers because we have to address what’s blocking us and then we try to eliminate them. If not, then we look for the change agents because we’re always going to have change blockers in our lives. And a lot of times that’s the mind. So getting over your own mind is something I’m working with my clients a lot, working on with myself a lot. But there sometimes are other things, other factors in our environment, in our lives. Maybe we have toxic people that we have to manage and they’re not going to be our supporters.

So who are our supporters? Where are our change agents? And what can we use as a change agent to fuel us to take the change we want? And one change agent is this wonderful concept called the taking imperfect action. It’s truly a change agent. And I’m going to be demonstrating that with an example here soon. So taking imperfect action has been helping these clients that I’m working with currently right now who are telling me they’ve been stuck for months, make any progress. It’s really been helping them.

So I want to go into this with you today, so take notes. Alright, so one of my clients is not exercising. And ladies, we should be moving. If you don’t like the word ‘moving’, you don’t like the word ‘exercise’, great. Then I say you should be strength training. There’s so many benefits to strength training for our bodies. As we say in medicine, TMTC, too many to count. So many benefits, TMTC, too many to count.

When you strength train you not only improve your muscle tone, but that muscle goes and gobbles up more blood sugar. So your blood sugar is regulated more. It helps to improve the elasticity of your vasculature. So this can impact high blood pressure and if your vessels are more elastic, it’s going to lower your blood pressure. Strength training dramatically improves oxygenation to the brain, so that’s going to lower your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Strength training also causes the gut microbiome to release certain chemicals and reset itself and giving you a healthier microbiome. Strength training is going to build up your bones, preventing vertebral fractures, hip fractures and other types of fractures that you can be prone to as we age. Strength training increases BDNF, which is helpful for growing new brain cells and learning new things and improving memory. Strength training has so many benefits, so many.

And it’s particularly important that if you want to halt and slow that aging process, that you are engaging in strength training particularly north of 40 years age. Alright, so working with this one particular client who wants to work out, wants to strength train, knows all the benefits of it but can’t get herself to do it. She wants to go to the gym.

And when we look at what that means for her to go to the gym, she’s like, “Well, I have to change. I have to get in my car. I have to drive there and then I’ve got to spend 60 minutes there. And then when I come home, I’ve got to shower. And when I look at all that, that’s two hours. Yeah, I have the time but that’s two hours. That’s a significant commitment throughout my day.” And so we looked at all those factors that were change blockers. And then we looked at that.

We had to really understand where she was getting hung up before we can go into her change agents and taking imperfect action. So if we took imperfect action, what would that look like? And so as we delineated and spelled that out for her, and I said, “What if that imperfect action could be just something that you do in the moment to get some strength training and maybe it’s not changing your clothes. Maybe it’s not going to the gym. Maybe it doesn’t need to be 60 minutes’ worth?”

Because now that’s what her brain would say, “Well, it’s only a workout if it reaches 60 minutes. Maybe you don’t need to shower afterwards and maybe it could be all done and just take less than 15 minutes.” And her face lights up and is like, “Yeah, I’m all for that. That would be great.” So see, we identified what it would take for her to feel emotionally safe and excited to take that action. So her body and her brain were in alignment, that she could take this imperfect action.

So as this was happening for a lady inside my Tone in 10 program. She signed up because she really wanted to start taking action, particularly around strength training because she knows that that is her major weakness. And it is her desire when joining the program that she starts working out as a habit again. She used to do it all the time in the past but she just hasn’t been doing it. And she would say things like a lot of us say to ourselves, “I know, I should do this. I should go back to walking. I should go back to this.”

And that’s where the critic comes out. That’s where berating yourself isn’t going to work. And so, bottom line, she’s not taking action, and she doesn’t know why. And I know exactly why. So once we identified those blocks and broke them down, because she was seeing things that had to be done a certain way and I call that certain way when we’re like, “It has to be this way.” That’s when we’re thinking that it has to be exactly that way, and that’s perfectionist.

And the way around that is to do imperfect action. So I said, “We’re going to change that you don’t have to go to a gym, you don’t have to drive there. You don’t have to spend 60 minutes. You don’t have to drive home because you never left your house. You don’t have to shower afterwards, and it doesn’t have to take two hours to fit it all in.” And at that point she said, “Wow. Sign me up.” So what I did is I created her a video showing her how to overcome all of these obstacles. So I did a workout that she could follow.

And the workout I did in my jeans and in my dress shirt with my makeup on and my necklace on. I did this workout right after I got done meeting with a client on Zoom, stepped out of my office, grabbed my weights, hit record on my phone, recording my workout that I did, and at the end I showed her I didn’t get sweaty, my makeup didn’t smudge. I didn’t need a shower and I was going back in to my next client who I was going to be meeting on Zoom and I didn’t have to drive anywhere. And the whole workout took less than 15 minutes.

And what I did was, I stimulated muscle growth. I worked my muscles. My heart rate went up. And I improved the tone of my body in that short of time. If you continue to justify why you aren’t working out and why you don’t work out, guess what? That will keep you from not working out. I just recorded a podcast a few weeks ago about your justifications. Your justifications keep you stuck. So if you want to stay stuck, keep justifying staying stuck. But if you want to get unstuck, you have to drop and change the justifications, because those are your change blockers.

You want to move to your change agents. That is exactly what I showed her on how to do that process. Now she was willing and open to see new possibilities and new possibilities if she couldn’t see them, I showed them to her. I’m her coach, I’m going to show you new possibilities, ways you can incorporate this into your daily life where it doesn’t feel like such a struggle and a time commitment. And it comes from willing to take imperfect action.

Now, a lot of people will look at that action and they’ll criticize it. They’ll say, “Wow, well, you didn’t get your heart rate up fast enough or you didn’t get your heart rate up long enough to really matter or you didn’t break a sweat. So that’s not considered a workout. Or I saw you lifting that last set of weights and you didn’t go to muscle fatigue. You didn’t tire out your muscles.” And I say, “Yes, all that is true.” And if you want to just critique the actions, you can do that all day long. But it’s not just about the actions my friends, it’s are those actions giving you the result that you want?

And what is this client’s result? She wants to make exercise and strength training a habit. And by taking that imperfect action, does it lead to the result of building this as a habit? Hands down, yeah, because she can see herself doing this and it doesn’t exhaust her brain before she even gets started. And it turns out, once you get started, you may some days want to extend the workout, you may want to do more. So if your result is to tone muscles as it is in Tone in 10, that is the name of the program. To tone, you have to look at what actions are going to get you there.

And sometimes, imperfect action works just as well, and if not better than taking perfect action, because for a perfectionist, they will only take action when it’s perfect and therefore, how often do they take that action? Maybe once a week. And let me ask you, if you strength train, if you do something for your muscles four times a week versus once a week and those four sessions are shorter than that one long session.

Working out once a week for one hour is not going to change because you have six other days that you’re not working out and that’s what your brain’s going to focus on, especially with a perfectionist mentality. It’s like, I only did it one day this week. You’re not even giving yourself credit. And so we know that imperfect action is going to take you to your goal much quicker, much faster, and build you up to be the woman you want to become and be. And we know that doing something is way better than doing nothing.

So if you’re stuck in that perfectionistic mentality where you have to do it a certain way and if you don’t, it doesn’t count, then you’re not going to do it, especially if you’re short on time, short on energy or life happens. You get a flat tire or somebody gets sick or calls out at work and you’ve got to stay overtime. So applying this change agent to your life, you can make leaps and bounds difference in just a very short period of time.

Actually, I even challenge you to do this for two to four weeks and see how this one simple concept can radically change how you feel and how you think about yourself. Because I want to be a woman who takes care of myself. I don’t want the medical system to take care of me. I want them to come alongside of me and teach me and educate me and help me and empower me to help me take better care of myself. But I don’t want to become dependent on the healthcare system.

I don’t want to become dependent and be in a long term facility when I’m older. I’d rather take care of myself. So I want to be educated and I want to use that education to empower me and change my habits and change my lifestyle so I make good choices so that I am in full responsibility of my health and wellness for as long as I possibly can. Because I’ll tell you what, the alternative is not attractive to me.

And so for you, where can you take imperfect action this week to get you closer to your goals? And what support do you need? Do you need a coach to come alongside of you and help you see your change agents and say your change blockers so you get more clarity and that way you get more progress? Or do you need more information or do you need data? I went and got my microbiome tested just to see if it was out of whack. I didn’t have symptoms. There was nothing prompting me to say, “I think it’s your microbiome that’s out of whack.”

It was, I don’t feel any bloating. I don’t have constipation or diarrhea or any dysbiosis when I asked Dr. Google but Dr. Google doesn’t know everything. So let me go get my labs tested. And sure enough, I had inflammation. And just like a lot of disease in our body, it starts out silent. We don’t even know it’s there. But once we detect it, once you see something that shouldn’t be there, you want to treat it. You want to take care of it.

So I empowered myself with data. I got my bloodwork done. I got my stool tested. I got my saliva tested. I really wanted to know what was going on internally because I could step on the scale, but stepping on the scale and knowing that one number is not going to be a marker of my internal health. That’s not even a marker of my external health. That just gives me one data point, how much do I weigh.

But there are plenty of sick skinny people or sick thin people, and there are plenty of people who are what they would consider at a weight they’re not happy with, but inside they’re massively healthy. Where they’ve got these muscles that weigh a bit more, and so they are the epitome of health. So the number on the scale doesn’t really measure health. And I think that’s one thing the diet industry really skewed us on, thinking that that number meant health.

So what kind of support do you need in taking that next imperfect action? Do you need data? Do you need information? Do you need to make an appointment or talk with an expert? Because I’m a true believer, we need others along the way. We need support. We are not meant to do life alone because life alone leads to a lonely life. And COVID showed us how that ended, not well, not well for our kids, not well for those of us in midlife and not well for those of us who are in our aged years.

And I’ll tell you what, my functional medicine doctor and team has really poured into me, has really educated and educated me in a way that I’ve never experienced with western medicine, no offense to western medicine. I’m a part of that. But they’ve expanded my knowledge. They’ve expanded my definition of health, and as I’m expanding my knowledge, I’m sharing that knowledge with you so you get an expanded definition and knowledge of your health, so you can be your best advocate for health and Wellness.

And I listen to podcasts that are health based for men and women and experts in the field and how they have inspired me and transformed me. And I hope this podcast does the same for you, inspires you, transforms you because I know health is one of my top three values. I stand for my health and my greatness, and I also stand for your health and your greatness. I call that your epic-ness.

Do you stand for your health and your greatness and your epic-ness? And if you do, what imperfect action are you willing to take next for your health, for your benefit? Alright, my friend, that’s what I have for you this week. I love you and I will see you next week.

If you want to change your relationship with alcohol and with yourself then come check out EpicYOU. It’s where you get individualized help mastering the tools so you can become a woman who can take it or leave it and be in control around alcohol in any situation. EpicYOU is the place for women who want to be healthy, confident and empowered to accomplish their goals and live their best life. Come join us over at epicyou.com/epicyou. That’s epicyou.com/ E-P-I-C-Y-O-U. I can’t wait to see you there.

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