Carrie has declared, in two well-stated posts (one today – go see), her attitude toward diet and exercise. I think it could best be summed up as “live your life, eat stuff you enjoy, move around a little, and quit stressing about getting it all perfect.” (Carrie, feel free to correct me if I screwed that up – that was my interpretation.)
Here’s the thing. I couldn’t agree more.
I don’t know if this is a surprise or not. It shouldn’t be, because I’ve posted about my strong belief in balance in all things, including balancing the daily consumption of chocolate with a salad or two! On the other hand, I know some folks have chalked me into the “benignly crazed” column because of my running and encouragement of others to log exercise miles or minutes.
Carrie posted about this, originally, because spring has brought with it the not unusual phenomenon of folks in blogland starting to stress about summer coming and having to uncloak thighs and biceps that have been hiding under a comfortable swath of sweaters, jeans, and heavy coats. Her point (leaving aside the fact that she gets to wear shorts all year round) is that the last thing she needs is more pressure to do or be yet more.
Truly, I think that’s the last thing any woman needs. I’d like to turn the thought over, though. Women are so good at putting themselves and their needs dead last. We’re also experts at striving for impossible ideals of perfection.
What if, instead, we think about what we do need? And what if we give ourselves permission to simply do our best? “Good” has a dictionary definition, and it’s the opposite of “bad” for a reason. “Good” is not, I must point out, the opposite of “perfect.”
I would go so far as to say that perfection is not only overrated, it sucks. It’s not attainable. And its toned, smooth, skinny, lustrous, imperious spectre keeps us from just doing our best, and loving ourselves.
So I say, screw perfect! How can life be interesting if it has no lumps, bumps, and flaws? And why should we, any of us, let that bitch perfection stop us from doing things that make us happy and let us feel great?
It’s OK to go for a walk instead of running 5 miles. It’s OK to eat dessert! But it’s also OK to love yourself enough to get some good nutrition every day, and to get out and breathe some fresh air and feel your muscles.
Remember back to my “Three Things” deal? The idea is to try to do three healthy things each day. Just for you. Those things need not include running 5 miles or limiting your intake to less food than it takes to keep a bird alive. Seriously. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about thinking highly enough of yourself that you make conscious choices to honor your well-being.
Here endeth my manifesto (mostly because I have to get to work). But please, let’s hear your thoughts about this. And go comment at Carrie’s, too.
Most of all, have a great day – and go give perfection a good kick in her bony ass.