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Monday, October 5, 2015

#WYCWYC: Your Best Effort is Good Enough

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Its Monday. Its morning.  What could be better? A fresh start!

I have long been a fan of Carla Birnberg, a blogger, author, speaker, mom and wife, who is also a fitness professional.  Unlike most health and fitness blogs though, hers is really more philosophical musings about life that many of us can relate to.  She's smart, daring and complex and I love reading her posts.

She recently published a book called What You Can When You Can, which is based on the notion that no one should strive for perfection with their lifestyle (which doesn't exist anyways), but instead, aim to do your best in each situation that you find yourself in.  This is very consistent with research that the more flexible you are, the more likely you are to be successful with your efforts.  Its often our black and white thinking (oh no, I ate a cookie and blew my diet, so I guess it doesn't matter if I eat the whole bag), that stops us for achieving our goals. Yoni Freedhoff, an obesity and health expert, whom I highly respect, has said he thinks perfectionism is one of the central reasons many people fail to lose weight or keep it off.  By the way, he did a post about something I sent him recently!

I haven't bought the book yet, but definitely plan to, and one of my weight loss clients did, and she is loving it.

Admittedly, I am prone to perfectionism and black and white thinking, although since becoming a counsellor I am somewhat reformed. I now understand the futility in trying to achieve perfection and am willing to accept my best effort in a given situation...sometimes!

This was put to the test this past weekend.  Saturday I woke up at 5am so I could get a workout in before going to the clinic for work.  Adam was already at the gym (he starts his workouts at 4am!!). My alarm went off and I hopped out of bed very excited to do a Muay Thai workout DVD.  I love Saturday mornings because I don't have to rush to get the girls to school and its kind of my wildcard workout day where I do whatever I'm in the mood for.  Unfortunately, about 2 minutes after getting up, our power went out.  Well, no DVDs.  No electricity period.  No Internet. No phone. Um, and no hot water!!

Once up I can never go back to bed so I was at a loss as to what to do.  I am not in a mental state to do work at that hour.  I couldn't even make coffee!!  Too dark to do weights or HIIT without potentially breaking furniture or injuring myself, and with the girls asleep upstairs I couldn't leave the house for a run or even to go grab a coffee.

Finally, I settled on peddling for a bit Adam's spin bike, with our flashlight to provide me with some ability to see in our basement.  I still had juice left in my Ipod, so I found some headphones and put on one of my playlists I use for my spinning class.  I got a sweat up, but that could certainly have been because I couldn't turn our fans on, unfortunately, it wasn't long before both girls got up...2 hours before their usual Saturday wake up time for some freakin' reason. 

The rest of the morning was a total gong show.  The girls were distraught over no television and then started fighting over their Ipad.  I had to take it away.  Of course, with no electronics or screens they didn't know what to do with themselves except complain.  We had to take freezing cold showers and afterwards I was so chilled my toes went numb.  No coffee.  NO COFFEE FOLKS!  Many mornings I wake up not even in the mood for coffee...this was not one of those mornings!

When Adam got home I packed up my stuff and headed to work early so I could make a hot breakfast in the kitchen there and buy some coffee...there is a Starbucks in the building so that's where I went even though I HATE Starbucks coffee.  Of course, as I arrived at the Starbucks eager to get my coffee but when I pulled my wallet out of my bag, the change purse was open and my coins and subway tokens spilled out all over the store.  Oh yes they did.

By the way, since we had no power, I couldn't blow dry my hair or flat iron it so I looked like Medusa. 

Yep, one of those days.

But by the time my first client arrived I was able to laugh about it all, and realize that I'd done the best I could given the situation.  Getting on the spinning bike was not my preference, I would much rather do martial arts, HIIT or strength training than any form of endurance cardio, and I teach spin on Sundays. But since it was really my only good option, I took it, and a bit of cycling is better than nothing!  Surprisingly, I did actually enjoy it as I played some awesome tunes, and it was kind of Soul Cycle-like with just a flashlight providing almost the equivalent of candle light.  It also turned out to be suitably emotionally cathartic after an emotional week (I'll explain more about that later). In addition, I managed to get my healthy breakfast and coffee in when it finally dawned on me that I could just go to work and make it.  It wasn't a fun morning, that's for sure, but it was the best I could do and that's good enough! Not the workout I'd hoped for, not the morning I'd looked forward to, but whatever.

Does perfectionism or rigidness get in the way of your healthy lifestyle progress? Have you read Carla's book?