5 Minutes with Meg: Shame Edition
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about…
…the power of positive thinking.
The Metro Morning Money Columnist brought up something yesterday morning that really gave me pause. For years there’s been lots of hype around the $5 Latte Factor and how powerful/real it is or isn’t in terms of turning people’s finances around. But what she spoke about, which I have never considered, is the shame associated with it.
Full disclosure: Aliona at The HUB knows exactly how I take my Americano Misto and she draws a milky, cinnamon spiked heart on it every morning. So, I do spend over $20 a week on frothy, espresso beverages. (No shame ever by the way. I refer to it as a hug inside my belly. It makes me happy. I also bring my lunch every day. That’s an important piece of this conversation too.)
The real challenge, the Money Columnist contended, with buying a complicated coffee or avocado toast is not the $5 withdrawal from your bank account, but rather the shame people feel when they buy it. That people end up feeling they are terrible with finances, and this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. There are multiple, complex reasons why people are not as financially healthy or strong as they would like to be, and feeling shame, guilt, and helpless isn’t helpful at all.
Where did my brain go? Here: Could it be the same with EXERCISE and DIET?! Most definitely.
There is no perfect, no 100%, no “I have to” or “should” in exercise and diet. There are lots of choices. Some of them will support your fitness and health goals and some won’t. But, at the end of the day, the important thing is that you keep making the positive choices that shift the needle in the right direction. Do you feel guilty because you missed a workout, only fit in 20 minutes, drank a bottle of wine, or indulged in too much blue cheese and ribs? We are human. (Side note: people who indulge and cheat once in a while often know how to have fun).
Life is short and long. Is it important to be healthy and strong? Absolutely. Is it important to be hedonistic? Indulgent? Lazy? Decadent? Hell yeah!
Keep looking for balance. Keep pushing or tapping that needle in the right direction.
Feeling horrible about yourself and your choices doesn’t help. Decide what’s really important, what’s realistic, and how you can make small and big choices to support that. Some days will be better than others.
It’s taken me literally years, with most of the changes happening in the past 10, but I’ve managed to move my needle to a pretty good place. I’ll share a few of the choices and strategies I’ve managed to implement and keep:
- I drink only red wine. And only 2-3 nights a week.
The body’s ability to rest, repair and burn fat is grossly impaired when there is booze in your system. And having only one option in and of itself cuts back on overall consumption.
- I try to “earn my shower” every day. Even if it means only 12 minutes of activity.
- I schedule my workouts in. Even on the weekends. No second latte until I get my run in. Even if it’s 15 minutes instead of an hour.
- I bike to work 4 days a week and run to work one. Its 4 kilometers. And every km counts.
- I lift weights twice a week. Sometimes the second session is only 12 minutes, but it counts. I strive for (and schedule) 2 hours, and almost never hit that. It’s not an activity I’ve ever loved (yes: a personal trainer just said that) but I recognize it’s vital for my long term vitality, metabolism, posture, and it supports faster, stronger, injury free running and cycling.
- I have a trainer. My trainer ensures I get results and helps me avoid injury. He makes me work harder than I would on my own, which in turn means I’m able to maintain muscle mass when the majority of my peers are losing it. He ensures my form, focus, and execution are dead on, even when I’m tired.
- I always eat food that tastes good to me.
- I eat loads of vegetables.
- I drink only water, espresso, and full fat milk during the week. The only beverage added on the weekends is the wine!
- I eat breakfast at home and bring my lunch every day.
- I do a big grocery shop every Sunday and dedicate 60-90 minutes to food prep every Sunday as well.
- I eat whatever I want starting Friday night, up until, and including, Sunday brunch. I relish and enjoy every single bite.
Meg Sharp, MSc., B.Ed.Kin, FST Executive Director of Personal Training CGoC