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The Perfection Perception

29 Mar

I have always described myself as a perfectionist.  A textbook Virgo, I have always aspired to be the perfect sister, daughter, friend, performer, student, and employee. I have a great number of vivid memories of when my quest for perfection and subsequent failure left me feeling quite disappointed.

Cut to a scene in my childhood, when I was in Kindergarten. I was drawing a picture…

…when suddenly, I had the urge to go potty.

NO, I MUSN’T GO, I thought. My picture is not perfectly polished! My crayons are not properly put away!

You bet I finished that picture AND I put the crayons away just so. I also ended up with wet pants, embarrassment, and a trip to the nurse’s office to find some dry (and ill-fitting) clothes for me to wear.

It was not until I was an adult, after earning a Master’s Degree in one year, and realizing that I was quite miserable, that I decided to reassess my idea of “perfection”. Why was it so important to me anyway? 

I finally realized that no one on this entire planet is perfect. Of course, I had heard that saying over and over again as a kid, but I guess I always thought that there were exceptions to the rule anyway. There were always those people that I perceived to be perfect at mostly everything; those who had the perfect house, the perfect kids, the perfect job, or the perfect life in general. Now I know that that was just a PERCEPTION and not a reality. There is a distinct difference. 

The minute I gave myself permission to stop striving for perfection was the minute that I began accepting myself.  I also began forgiving myself for the mistakes I had made and seeing those mistakes as learning experiences. I truly believe that we need to learn from all of our experiences, both  good and bad. We need to forgive ourselves, learn from those experiences, and carry on.

As I listen and talk to people who are struggling with losing weight, I can’t help but get the vibe that a lot of people are striving for perfection in their weight loss efforts. A lot of people adopt an all-or-nothing attitude. For example, many people are dead-set on sticking to their meal plan exactly, sticking to a regimented exercise schedule, and are not allowing for any flexibility. If they slip-up, I see many people giving up or calling themselves failures. They think, “Why bother? I will just fail at everything I try anyway.” 

My advice to myself and to everyone else is to be kind to yourself. If you overslept and missed your workout today, maybe you needed that sleep. Try to take a short walk instead. If you accidentally eat a piece of cake, don’t give up! Figure out how to set yourself up for success for the next time you’re in a tempting situation. 

Life is not black and white and neither is losing weight and getting healthy. Forget about following a certain plan perfectly and focus on adopting healthier habits into your life! Over time, you will reach your goals. If you believe that you can and treat yourself with kindness, you can achieve success!

Foodumentaries

23 Mar
“Have you seen Back to the Future?”
“No.”
Star Wars?
*Shakes head side to side*
“SERIOUSLY? The GODFATHER?
“NO! I have, however, seen Homeward Bound 2:Lost in San Francisco? Does that count?”
(Listen, I went to the theater to see Happy Gilmore and the theater was full. Please don’t judge.)
This type of dialogue happens on a weekly basis with me. Listen, I’m not a big movie person. If the film has something to do with action, science fiction, or anything remotely suspenseful or far-fetched, I’m not going to watch it. If you try to make me watch it, I will fall asleep immediately in an act of protest!
I know, I know.  You’re probably wondering WHY anyone would have this attitude towards movies! The blasphemy!
I can explain. I am a realist. I also have a short attention span. Therefore, I need to watch something that is either going to be relative to my life (documentaries), or at least make me smile and laugh (comedies and rom-coms).
I am a complete sucker for documentaries. I must say that over the past few years, I have watched a large number of documentaries and they have, in fact, changed the way that I view food. In particular, I have watched a majority of the documentaries listed below:
I am aware that with most documentaries, they are only showing one side of the story. However, there are a lot of stories about food that need to be told. Watch and then you can form your own opinions.
What are some documentaries that you have enjoyed or have changed the way that you look at food?
Until we meet again,
Meg

A Refreshing Perspective

20 Mar

I caught First Lady Michelle Obama last night on David Letterman.

All politics aside, I think that she is an extremely smart, kind, and sensible woman. I especially appreciate her views and values on how to raise children and how to help our obesity epidemic.

She made a point that the average American child spends 7.5 hours in front of a screen a DAY. You read that right. 7.5 hours. What happened to playing outside? As a teacher, I saw this scenario over and over again: kids coming to school exhausted and unable to concentrate. The reason they gave me? They were up late playing video games.

I could ruminate all day on this topic, but instead,  I’ll leave you with the video. She discusses a plethora of topics with Letterman, but around minute 4 is where she addresses childhood obesity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5e1R0lliFHc&feature=youtu.be

If you can, I think that it’s worth watching all three parts!

Feel free to comment and I’ll catch you all soon.

Meg

Eating with our Ears

4 Mar

Yup, you heard me right.

Eating with our ears. Hear me out on this one.

The scenario:

We’ve all been there.

You get home from work after an hour in traffic and you’re starving. Straight to the fridge you march and POOF!, two cheese sticks, a turkey leg, AND half a pint of ice cream magically disappear into the abyss of your grumbling stomach. All before you’ve even had a chance to sit down!

We all need to train ourselves to eat more mindfully and let ourselves completely enjoy what we’re putting into our bodies (and mouths!).  Actually tasting your food, taking small bites, drinking water in between, and giving your brain the time to process the “I’M FULL” signals are ways to do so.

However, a lot of eating mindfully and with enjoyment is all about setting up our environment for success! Did you know that you can use music to contribute to that success?

Anyone who has known me for more than 5 minutes knows what a pivotal role music plays in my life. It’s in my work, it’s in my play; it’s in every bone in my body. I am the first one to organize who’s bringing music to the dinner party or kickball game. I believe that it is essential to set the mood with music in any given situation. If you’ve ruled out meal times for a time to listen to your new Spotify or Itunes playlist, think again.

This article that I stumbled upon explains research in a fine dining atmosphere. What they found is that to the subjects, ” food tasted nicest when served with quiet classical music and a hint of background ‘chatter’.”  While this was just one experiment performed in a fine restaurant, it still gives us cues for how to create this situation at home. Take a look:

http://realdoctorstu.com/2011/04/01/eating-through-your-ears-listening-to-music-makes-food-taste-better/

Next time you sit down to dinner, play some relaxing music to get you in the mood. Making a “dinner playlist” or using internet radio sites like Pandora are easy ways to simplify doing so. Whether it is Sinatra who gives you the warm-and-fuzzies or it’s Jay-Z that melts your butter, throw on those tunes and start eating with more enjoyment.

Do you eat with your ears? What are some musical selections that help you enjoy your meals and eat more mindfully?

Until next time,

Meg

How to exercise (without even realizing it).

1 Mar
I am the first person to tell you that I don’t like “working out”. Who does, anyway? We first need to change our language. “Working out” sure sounds like WORK, doesn’t it?

Here’s a fact: Exercising can be hard. It can be frightening to think about!

[Here’s an even better secret]: It doesn’t have to be. In fact, you can burn calories while having fun and boosting endorphins. Here are some suggestions for how to do so.

  • Have a Party (guests optional)

Do you or does a friend have a Wii or Xbox Kinect? These consoles are incredible and the games to go with them are fun, exciting, and sweat-inducing. Try Just Dance, Wii Sports, Dance Central, or any other game that keeps you active. What an awesome way to compete against your friends (or yourself) while movin’ your body!

  • Bowl ‘O’ Rama

Have you bowled lately? You haven’t? Well, why not?

Bowling is an easy and fun way to burn cals. Try the cosmic bowling at your local alley and dance to the music without feel self-conscious (it gets nice and dark in there). Try not to use this as an excuse to drink white russians all night (Big Lebowski fans, anyone?) ;). If you do, you’ll be taking in way more than you are burning off.

Concerned about price? Check your local bowling alley for specials on certain off-weekend nights. My local joint has awesome unlimited bowling deals on Tuesdays and Sundays.

  • Try a Class

Yoga, Zumba, BodyPump, Pilates, Kickboxing, Water Aerobics, Spinning. Do any of those classes sound interesting or fun to you? Yes, most of these classes cost money, but you can most likely take any these for a free test spin.

Gyms such as Gold’s Gym and 24 Hour Fitness let you try their clubs free of charge, which can really give you an idea of which classes, if any, are a good fit for you. If neither of these gyms are near you, check out the local gyms in your area for their trials and class offerings.

Gold’s offers free 7-day passes for new members. Find a location near you at:

http://www.goldsgym.com/find-gym/

24 Hour Fitness offers free 3-day passes for new members. Find a location near you at:

http://www.24hourfitness.com/health_clubs/find_a_club/interactive.html#Learn_More

  • Join a club or a league

Were you the star of your little league soccer team in elementary school? Do you get excited about the thought of hurling balls at an opponent and in dodgeball? Check out your local sports clubs and organizations. I personally have made countless friends and memories playing in an adult kickball league. Not to mention that it actually takes athleticism and practice!

  • Pumped up Kicks

If you’re like me, the thought of running is intimidating. If that’s true, walk, don’t run. Put on those walking shoes and your favorite tunes and get out the door. Walk the dog, walk the cat, walk yourself. Punch in a tune that gets you groovin’ into the Pandora app on your phone or make an exercising playlist with Spotify. If he weather is cold or rainy, wear layers and start moving. You will be warm in no time and that much closer to your fitness goals!

I hope that this helps. Feel free to e-mail me at healthcoachmeg@gmail.com.

Meg