Better With Sprinkles

The Colourful Side to Healthy Living.


42 Comments

Breaking Down High Expectations.

Hello and happy Tuesday! How’s yours going so far? I’m slowly working my way through a law paper…and being incredible jealous of people who are done classes/schoolwork.

On the bright side, they’re calling for 15 degrees and sunny today, so I’m thinking I may take my laptop down to the Coffee Culture down the street and do some work on their patio today. Might be nice! 

So today I wanted to talk about perfectionism and expectations. I know I’ve talked about this on the blog before, but my expectations of myself are high. Really high.

I spend a lot of time thinking about what I ‘should’ do. Whether it’s in regards to my eating habits, my workouts, schoolwork, small decisions, big decisions…I feel like I have a tendency to follow a set of rules for myself. Expectations I have to reach, rules I have to follow…I’ve been aware of and trying to break these patterns for years. I’ve made a lot of progress, but I still haven’t quite escaped from my own high standards.

For example, I realized the other day that I’m going to get a 79% in one of my classes. When I saw that, I was disappointed because I was aiming to get straight A’s this year. Which got me thinking…why did I decide I needed to get straight A’s? I’ve made the decision that I won’t be moving on after I get my MA (I have no desire to work towards a PhD) so really, as long as I pass everything, I’m fine. Who decided that I needed straight A’s? Where is this pressure coming from?

This month I’ve been taking a laissez faire, unstructured approach towards my workouts, deciding the day of what I want to do instead of following a schedule or routine. Last Friday, I was struggling with this a lot. I had no desire to work out. None. I had a busy day planned, so I didn’t really have a lot of time for it anyways. But I still had a nagging thought at the back of my mind that I should go to the gym. Because I was physically able to (I wasn’t feeling sore at all), I should work out. I knew I wouldn’t be doing myself any favours if I went, so I didn’t. But I was frustrated with myself for feeling that sense of “I should.”

Last week, veggies were not appealing to me. It was sunny and warm out (some days, anyways) which is normally when I start to want salads and fresh vegetables all the time. But…nothing. Not appealing. But because I thought I should, I made myself a couple of big salads for a few lunches. And then would end up eating all the ‘good stuff’ and throwing the leaves in the garbage. Because I expected that I would want salads, I tried to force it. Which, of course, failed (And of course, as soon as I stopped trying to force myself to eat more veggies I started craving them. I’ve had monster salads for lunch the last two days and adored them).

The perfectionist extends to social situations as well – I’m always worrying about saying the wrong thing, or coming off as unlikeable. I’m pretty sure that’s why I have a tendency towards awkwardness in a lot of social situations. I just don’t know how to act natural, because in my head I’m thinking about what I just said and how it was portrayed. That probably explains why I’m such a fan of texting…I can think about my response, write it out, think about it some more, change it if necessary. Not so much in real life situations.

I don’t really have the answers for how I can fix this…I’ve been working on it for years, first through therapy and it continues to be my own work in progress. But being aware of and expressing a desire to change is where it begins, right? I think I just needed to write this out as a reminder to myself to push past that desire for perfectionism and high expectations. Whenever I put pressure on myself to do something, to reach a certain standard, There’s a few questions I need to ask.

Why do I need to do this/reach this standard?

Who says that has to be the goal?

I’m not very good at being content. Whatever I do, I tend to think of how I could have done it better, gotten a better grade, lifted more weight, made a ‘healthier’ choice…I could go on. But, I’m going to keep working on myself and breaking down that habit. It’s ok to strive for excellence and for my personal best, but complete perfection is not part of that picture. Because I would like to think I’m pretty awesome, even with some flawed aspects Winking smile

Have a good one!

<— Do you have perfectionist tendencies?

<— Texting or calling someone? I kind of hate talking to people on the phone. Thank god for texting.

<— Do you worry about being awkward in social situations? I’m actually pretty terrible. 

image source: 1, 2, 3, 4


52 Comments

The Non-Plan Plan.

Good morning! How is everyone’s week going thus far? Mine’s been pretty quiet…my class on Tuesday and one of my classes on Wednesday were cancelled. The extra time off has been appreciated!

Something else for me to appreciate:

DSCF4791

The macadamia nut Kisses and the coconut M&M’s I won from Amanda’s giveaway a little while ago came in! I haven’t gotten to the M&M’s yet, but the Kisses are amazing. You know the cookies at Subway? Whenever I get one, my first choice is the white chocolate chip macadamia nut. Because chocolate and macadamia nut makes for a fabulous combo. Thanks love!

Speaking of good food, last nights dinner was the simplest, but most delicious dinner possible:

DSCF4801

A shrimp ring with cocktail sauce and a loaf of cheesy garlic bread, split between the boyfriend and myself. All I had to do with defrost the shrimp and stick the loaf in the oven for a few minutes – best dinner idea ever. Yes, I am obsessed with shrimp and cocktail sauce Smile with tongue out

Workout Plan…or Lack Thereof.

So in my goal post on Tuesday, I eluded to a new approach that I’m taking to my workouts in April.

Basically, I love working out and being active. Sitting on the couch all day, every day is not appealing to me in the least – I just get lethargic and antsy. The last year or so, I’ve been putting a lot more effort into weights over anything else, and I’m happy with the results I’ve gotten. I feel stronger and more accomplished fitness-wise than I have in a really long time.

But, I think my relationship with the gym needs some work.

Although I had never really thought of it in these terms before, I think it’s safe to say that in recovery, I became dependent on exercise. It was more comfortable for me to watch my food and calorie intake go up when I was hitting the gym and burning something off 5-6 days a week. If something got in the way and I wasn’t able to fit my workout in, I would panic. Although I knew it was unrealistic to think so, I was convinced that if I missed just one workout, I would gain five pounds instantly. Last spring, I was working overnights and still dragging myself to the gym, even when I was exhausted. Because I had a plan, and I couldn’t deviate.

Over the last 8 months or so, I’ve broken away from that mindset. I remember when I started doing Jamie Eason’s Livefit Trainer last summer, I laid awake for hours at night agonizing over the fact that the first four weeks of the program had me working out 4 days a week. And there was no cardio. After working out 5-6 days a week for years with at least 3 runs or treadmill workouts, I was absolutely terrified to cut it out completely, even for only a month. I did end up following through with it, and began to realize that I didn’t have to ‘sweat every day’ or anything of the sort – the body desperately needs rest just as much as it needs to be active.

I’m confident in saying that I have a much more comfortable relationship with exercise and the gym. I’m perfectly happy working out 4-5 days a week, and I take a complete deload every few months to allow my body ample recovery. In fact, I ended up taking all of my two-week Christmas vacation off from exercise and I enjoyed every moment.

However, thanks to this post, I realized a couple weeks ago that I’m still more reliant on the gym than I need to be. I’m a perfectionist at heart, so when I can’t stick to my planned workouts, I get a little bit of anxiety or guilt. When I’ve planned 20 minutes on the elliptical and I’m only able to complete 10 due to time constraints, I mentally beat myself up for not planning my time better. It’s frustrates me now to think about why I let that bother me so much. Why do I let a piece of paper dictate how much exercise is ‘enough’?

The truth is, I allow the gym and my workouts too much control in my life. When I got my class schedule in January, my first goal was to figure out when I was going to fit in my workouts. I was 15 minutes late to class a few weeks ago because I ‘had’ to finish up my workout. When I go back to my parents for a weekend, I make sure to pack my running shoes because I usually have a workout planned on Saturday or Sunday. If I’m tired and don’t really feel like going to the gym, I go anyways, because I had planned for it. When I need to make an appointment, I make sure it’s not between the hours of 10:00-11:00 am, because that’s been my gym time all semester. 

So, I need to break away from this mindset and give myself a bit more freedom when it comes to my workouts. So my workout plan this month?

No plan. Absolutely nothing. I will wake up in the morning and decide in the moment what my workout will be…if I workout at all that day. I love my heavy weights, so it’s likely that I’ll still hit the gym quite a bit. But now that the weather’s getting warmer, I may want to go for a run outside. Or take a walk on the trail around the river that’s near my apartment. I might stay in and stretch or do yoga…or plant my butt right on the couch. I will actually listen to my body, and not an obscure piece of paper telling me what I should be doing that day.

I’m starting to realize that I let my life revolve around my workouts, when really, it should be the other way around. I don’t know what’ll happen in May; I may decide that I like this approach and stick with it, or I might go back to following a plan (that I will allow myself more freedom on). We’ll see. But for now, I need to break away from the extra stress, guilt and anxiety that my workouts can cause. Perfectionism is stressful – when I broke away from that in my eating habits, I became a lot happier and carefree. I’m thinking breaking that mindset in my exercise will do the same.

<— What’s your approach to workouts? Planned or unplanned?

<— Anyone feel that they put too much pressure on themselves to complete workouts?

<— Favourite cookie? Oatmeal chocolate chip is another favourite for me.

 

img source 1, 2


39 Comments

WIAW: Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Good morning! 3 things before I get on with it:

1. Thank you so much for all your comments on yesterday’s post. I always feel a little nervous and vulnerable posting stuff like that, but you guys remind me why I love this community so damn much. Thank for all your support!

2. A huge shoutout to my cousin Adam and his wife Melissa on the birth of their first baby! A boy born Saturday night – I can’t wait to meet the little guy.

3. I have my stats midterm today. Send me good vibes!

Yup – it’s that time of the week again!

So last week was Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Canada. This week, it’s in the States. Considering my own history, it’s no surprise that I do my best to spread awareness and offer support to those who suffer with ED’s.

London is home to Hope’s Garden, the only eating disorder resource centre in the area. It runs solely off of volunteers and donations – they don’t get any government funding whatsoever. Every year during EDAW, they host a breakfast at the Hilton Hotel to raise funds. Of course, I went last year and enjoyed it, so my mom and I purchased tickets again.

After getting up at a somewhat ungodly hour (registration started at 6:30 am) my Mom and I headed down to the Hilton. We checked in and we immediately headed over to look at the silent auction and draws.

DSCF2132

DSCF2134

I was really hoping to win the Chil Froyo gift card, but no luck there (we will still hit it up sometime, Chelsea!)

It was planned so that the breakfast would occur before the speakers, so we headed over to the buffet tables. It was a fairly typical (but still delicious) fancy hotel breakfast spread – frittata, bacon, sausage, hash browns, fruit, pastries and cheese.

DSCF2138

I helped myself to bacon, the veggie frittata, fruit, and cheese (I have no idea what kind of cheese that was, but it looked intriguing. It was pretty good!). My mom and I also split a croissant. After breakfast and some opening remarks, it was time for the keynote speakers.

DSCF2139

First up was Julie Rochefort, with a talk entitled: ‘Becoming a Body Image Warrior’. Julie is a Registered Dietitian who focuses on obesity and weight discrimination. She talked about how the science concerning ‘healthy weight’ is flawed, and how weight isn’t the best predictor of health.

DSCF2143

The fact that this book exists (and is aimed at 6-12 year olds) is so, so shameful for our society. “Maggie” is bullied at school, loses weight by eating ‘better’ and exercising for hours, and becomes super-popular and a star soccer player. I had heard of the book before, but not in that much detail – WHY does this exist?! And really, what kind of lesson does this book teach kids?

DSCF2145

At the end of her presentation, Julie left us with this message, and I love it. I feel like most people approach RD’s because in their mind, getting healthier = losing weight. I loved hearing Julie’s mindset that we need to take ownership of our bodies the way they are supposed to be. She invited us to take a pledge to celebrate both our bodies and the bodies of those around us – real bodies, real people, no unrealistic expectations.

DSCF2152

Of course, my name is on there Smile (And oh my god, how do people walk in pencil skirts?! I felt like I could barely move my knees all morning).

The second speaker was Jan Pryde, who is on the Board of Directors at Hope’s.

DSCF2146

Jan is extremely passionate about the fight against eating disorders, because she has been watching her 26 year old daughter struggle for twelve years. She talked about the experiences she’s had with her daughter, climaxing when Jan carried her daughter threw hospital doors last June, at less than 60 pounds and blood pressure that was barely registering on the scale (I can’t remember the exact numbers, but it was something like 48/20). By some miracle, her daughter survived.

Jan was an amazing speaker, letting her passion for the fight against ED’s flow through her words. She discussed how eating disorders leave scars and battle wounds on our hearts, and how eating disorders become a battleground between the sufferer and the disease.

It was one of the most heart-wrenching, inspiring talks I’ve ever witnessed. Of course, she received a standing ovation, and when she brought her daughter up with her on stage…yup. Any chance of me getting out of there with my mascara intact was gone.

While I do not consider myself lucky for my own struggle with anorexia, I am extremely grateful that I was able to pull back when I did, as opposed to letting my anorexia continue to dig it’s claws deeper. Listening to Jan was a reminder that I am one of the lucky ones in the sense that I’ve escaped my struggles, but I need to keep fighting the battle on behalf of everyone who comes in contact with this horrible, harrowing disease.

Hope’s Garden does truly amazing work with ED patients – I know, because I reached out to them when I was ready for my own recovery. I attended their group meetings for the better part of a year, and through them found my fantastic therapist, who was absolutely vital in the process of my self-discovery. I don’t exactly have a lot of extra funds available for donating to charity (grad student problems) but I will always be happy to help out Hope’s Garden with my time, support and money. And of course, if you are in the area and you are (or know someone) who is struggling, I completely recommend turning to them – it was one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made.

Of course, Jan’s talk brought to mind how extremely grateful I am for my parent’s support in my recovery – therapy ain’t cheap, and I can only imagine how scary it must have been to watch their daughter slowly wasting away, unable to understand why or how to make it stop. I love you guys and I will be forever thankful for all the love and support that you’ve always shown me, whether in my recovery, my education, my goals, and every other aspect of my life.

IMG_1024 A

And my mom makes a fantastic breakfast date Smile

 

But now that I’ve managed to make myself tear up…moving on.

Although I didn’t win the froyo gift cards, we cleaned up pretty nicely with the draws Open-mouthed smile

Prizes

That fig balsamic vinegar I’ve been using on my spinach salads lately? Courtesy of a gift basket from Olive-Me & Co, a specialty olive oil and balsamic store in North London. The balsamics I won are: fig , chili, and an 18 year old traditional. The olive oils: citrus habanero, Italian herb, and sundried tomato parmesan and garlic. I’ve tried most of them, and I have yet to be disappointed! I think I need to get a really good french loaf this weekend to really enjoy them. The prize also came with that cookbook, but I don’t use quinoa too often and I already have a similar one. So I forwarded it on to an aunt of mine.

We also got a HUGE giftbasket full of 3M stuff – tape dispensers, band aids, page dividers…

DSCF3584

And post-its…so many post its. (Amanda, I know you’re jealous Smile with tongue out)

So this post is already pretty massive, so a quick speed through the rest of the day’s meals:

Lunch

Lunch

Salad – romaine, bell pepper, chopped baby carrots, tomato, blackberries and chicken, topped with a tzatziki yogurt dressing. A slice of multigrain toast with butter on the side.

A small bowl of my mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup.

Snack

DSCF3601

The Simply Bar in Cocoa Coffee – so I like coffee in dessert and in bar form, but just not in drink form? I think this needs to be my strategy to get myself to like coffee…

Dinner

For dinner, I was feeling inspired by Chelsea’s Turkey Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup. I followed her recipe, but I subbed kidney beans for the white beans and spinach for the kale. I also threw in a bit of dried basil.

DSCF3609

It’s pretty damn fabulous – I ate it for lunch every day afterwards Smile

DSCF3615

Palate cleanser…

DSCF3621

And a nighttime snack of cottage cheese, cinnamon raisin swirl PB, and chocolate chips.

So…wow, epically long. Hopefully you plowed through it!

<— Had you heard of “Maggie Goes on a Diet” before? Does it piss you off as much as it does me?

<— Tell me someone you’re grateful for.