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Episode 46 Fitness Behavior - A seed was planted

Gordo Byrn had a good question on his brilliant blog,, which got me thinking about this months topic. It's a way of looking at your world that helps you figure out where to put your energy. I also share an experience that I had recently around my image. 


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The cost of eating out

Last month I was lucky enough to be in Hawaii for work, my lovely partner Jo and I decided to extend our stay and have a holiday afterwards - it would have been wrong not to! Whilst Hawaii is it’s own group of islands in a very special part of the world, it still comes with some of the trappings of the US mainland, one of which is the food. Being someone who always prefers a good sized meal to a smaller ‘fine dining’ option I felt the American dining experience seems to be designed for me. In America you never get a meal served where you think ‘that seems a bit small’, if anything you think to yourself ‘wow, look at the size of that plate!’. 

At home, if we go out for a meal with friends and the restaurant has large servings, I allow myself to enjoy it knowing that it’s a one off occasion. This is never a problem for my weight as it only happens every so often but when we are on holiday we can eat out a couple of times a day and on this holiday that was exacerbated due to the size of the meals put in front of me. I knew that if I wanted to keep within the healthy weight range that I am comfortable with, I had to shift my ‘eating out’ rules while I was in Hawaii. 

At first I thought about how I normally approach going out for dinner and I saw that it’s a time where I tend to allow myself to remove or reduce the limits around what and how much I’m eating. I also saw that I often walk away from a restaurant feeling over full and so I decided that the strategy I would use on this holiday was to order my meals based on how I wanted to feel when I walked out of the restaurant. I wanted to walk away feeling I’d made healthy choices, I felt fresh, and that I’d had just enough food.  

With this approach, when I sat down to order my meal I wasn’t looking at the menu with greedy eyes, thinking about how I could go ‘all in’ with my favourite foods. Instead, I was contemplating how I would be able to achieve my 3 objectives when I had finished. My different perspective totally shifted my ordering patterns and what I found interesting was that the whole process was easy. I didn’t feel I was missing out on all the food I would normally order and I was completely happy with the choices I had made, if anything I felt good about myself on an esteem level as I felt I had a level of control and that I was making good choices for myself. 

It turns out that ordering a meal based on how I wanted to feel afterwards was a good strategy as I came back from holiday the same weight I had left with and I had eaten out at over twenty meals at American restaurants. 

This strategy is a good one to think about not only when we are on holiday but at other times when we tend to eat out a lot more, particularly relevant now is the Christmas season. That’s right, Christmas is just around the corner and the number of social functions, family get togethers, and dinners with friends all increase at this time of year. Over the next two months you can be tripling or even quadrupling the amount of times you will be eating out and this is one of the main reasons many of us get to the end of January thinking that we need to go on a diet. 

When you think about your approach to eating out are you the type of person who lets yourself off the hook when you are ordering your meal? Do you find that you walk out feeling bloated and that you have eaten too much? If you can identify with this maybe you could try my strategy of thinking about how you want to feel as you leave and when you have the menu in front of you make choices based on that. 

If it works for you like it did for me you will probably get to January feeling good that you have stayed healthy and within a weight range you are happy with during the busiest social time of the year. 


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Am I photoshopping my life? 

Have you ever watched a YouTube clip which shows the process involved in a fashion magazine shoot with an amazing, almost perfect looking model? It’s an eye-opening experience to say the least, seeing the transformation of the photo from the raw image to the end of the post production process shows us that the end product isn’t even real.  Once the makeup artist and photographer do their best to create a good shot the real magic begins, a graphic artist then uses their highly trained skills to create a picture that has no human fault.  

When these clips started to show up on the internet they instantly became viral, the comments they generated highlighted how people felt and the message was loud and clear - these false images were harming society by creating unrealistic expectations around how people should look which leads to negative self perception. I know that when I look at some magazines these days I remind myself that what I’m looking at is not real and that I shouldn’t place any expectations on myself based on what I’m seeing - what I am seeing is unrealistic. 

While I have trained myself to do this, recently I had an experience which made me think about something that I was doing that may be having a similar, albeit possibly smaller affect on others. One day I jumped on Facebook and checked out my profile page, a friend of mine had tagged a photo of me and it’s fair to say that I hated the photo, I felt like I looked like absolute crap. All of the insecurities I have about my image were glaringly obvious and right there for all the world to see, as quickly as I could I untagged the photo, I didn’t want my world to see this photo of me. 

This experience made me think about my Facebook page, is it a real representation of my life or is it a carefully crafted representation of how I would like my world to see me? If I am honest about it, my social media profile isn’t 100% me, it’s the 100% me that I would like my world to see. I’ve subconsciously, and at times consciously, tweaked it to influence the way people think of me when they see my profile. I don’t feel my profile is a lie, it’s just that the majority of the time I only show the good parts. If you look through the photos you won’t see ones where I look like rubbish, my written posts tend to represent the personality/character traits that I would like my world to see in me, they don’t show sides of my personality that may risk judgement that I don’t like. 

The question I have been asking myself since thinking about this is; am I willing to shift my approach to the way I use social networking? Am I willing to be more risky with my thoughts, to put images up where I feel my insecurities are exposed? 

I’ll be honest, I don’t think I will and I’m ok with this, to me it’s ok to want to protect yourself but there is an important point to think about with social media. Like the carefully crafted and manipulated magazine photos, the majority of social networking profiles and outlets aren’t the true, 100% representation of the person that it portrays. The reason this is an important thing to remember is that we can look at our social media outlets and think that everyone else has an amazing lives but mine is not. These types of thoughts can lead to negative assessments of ourselves which can be harmful to us in many ways. 

My point here isn’t that you need to get rid of the social media in your life, it’s just that it’s good for you to create a way to remind yourself that what you are looking at is a curated version of someones life that will tend to be a representation of all of the good sides of that person. If you look at social media and feel that everyone else has an amazing life and yours is lacking remind yourself of this point and that you shouldn’t feel bad about yourself. See the pictures you have in front of you for what they really are, it’s the healthy approach to this world.  

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