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Perfectly Imperfect

This past year has not been without it’s challenges.  I went through a heart-wrenching breakup and my dietary self-discipline was touch and go.  The thing that kept me moving towards a positive goal was finally focusing on myself.  What did I need?  What did I want?  Health, yes.  Happiness, of course.  But overall, I wanted to accept myself as I was: perfectly imperfect.

I admire those who lead a strict disciplined life of impeccable health and physique, but I know that is not in my DNA, and that’s ok.  Recently learning from my physician that my metabolic blood tests were within a healthy range despite my being “obese” makes me want to share that it’s possible to reach that healthy balance without being perceived as perfect.  You can lead a healthy lifestyle without making the right choices all the time.

The Smart Ones© message of wiping the slate clean has been a running theme on my blog and it’s one that resonates strongly with me.     Giving in to unhealthy food choices at events, family gatherings, and any sort of environment you find yourself within reach of food temptations doesn’t make you weak.  It makes you human.  If you are able to say no to the extra slice of cake, that’s great!  But in my experience, deprivation of certain foods can lead me down a slippery slope of gluttony.  I’ve learned to take desserts home if I am full, wrap up half of my plate of excessively portioned restaurant food before I start eating, and most importantly I listen to my stomach.

Occasional food slip ups are part of your journey to wellness, and it may be difficult but not impossible to keep from starting at square one.  Schedules get busy and unhealthy food makes it past our lips.  As much as I wish I had the money for a personal trainer and private chef, that’s just not the case.  Try not to let momentary set backs become permanent by realizing that it’s not the end of the world if you aren’t making the best food choices for a day or even weeks.  It may seem impossible if you are in a viscous unhealthy food cycle, but with a little help and inspiration you can get back on track.

Time is not always on my side.

Time is not always on my side.

 

Long Time, No Write.

I would like to express my extreme gratitude to my readers who have helped me achieve over 10k views in 5 months.  I was on vacation for a week and not really posting much over the past month, so when I logged in today I was all smiles!

It has been a very surreal past few months for me.  My personal life is in a place I would not have believed if told details 6 months ago.  I’m in a wonderful new(ish) relationship with an old flame, I’m in a new living situation I’ve never been in which is pretty awesome, and my sister is getting married in a little over a week with me as Maid of Dishonor. But this is what I’ve been feeling like doing instead of going to the gym…

nap

It’s that horrible spiral I find myself on when my health routine gets interrupted.   But these are life’s curve balls that get thrown at you whether you are sick, have little ones, have a full social calendar, or go on vacation and your gym/workout schedule gets pushed to the side.  I attempted Yoga while on vacation, but in an environment with lots of bugs and humidity in a cabin with NO AIR CONDITIONING I gave up after 2 days.  Then upon return from vacation my boyfriend moves in with me the very next day.  Not finding time to get to the gym because I’m hot and exhausted from our road trip and the move makes me realize I’m just coming up with excuses.  So I get down on myself.  This leads to a week of adjusting to the new living situation with a house in disarray and going back to work for the week.  I do have time for the gym if I made an effort, but I’d rather get the house together so it looks presentable than focus on myself making sure I look presentable.  Once again I need to change my way of thinking.

no time gym

I will stop thinking like the photo above.  I need to get my priorities back on track, I need to start making time for my own well being, and I need to remind myself it’s not too late.  I mentioned in a previous post if you fall off the healthy living wagon for a day, a week, a month, or even a year, it may be difficult to get back on but not impossible.  Of course it would be ideal not to fall off the wagon at all, but pshaw, I’m far from leading an ideal life!  What I do need is to take my own words of advice and not feel like I’ve permanently messed up my health regiment.  Time to get back to making better decisions!  It’s something I need to do, and I will.

I will take the feeling of tight jeans, joint pain, and lethargy as a reminder that I need to start moving just a little bit each day instead of feeling depressed and sabotaging myself when I go down the dark path of healthy destruction.  I will remind myself that my usual daunting 2-3 hour gym routine doesn’t have to exist.  Running for 20 minutes is better than nothing, don’t you remember that amazing feeling you get from the endorphins after a workout!?  Believe me, once I get moving, I’m good to go.  It’s the getting moving part that I have trouble with, I seem to psych myself out instead of up.

Stupid Newton and his physics laws of motion.

This blog helps keep me accountable for my actions and I cannot thank the blogging community and readers enough for it’s support and outlet for people struggling with body image and health issues their whole life.   Writing has always been easier for me than speaking face to face (though I’m definitely pretty open in person too) but it’s when I’m not open in either area when things are probably bad.  This blog helps me get out of that dark place and back on track.  I suggest anyone thinking about starting a blog should create one as a therapeutic resource on top of any other personal reasons.

So far, It’s worked for me.

“The Giver” and “The Inspirer”

GivingTree

I love personality tests.  Self-Awareness is never a bad thing if you want to grow and become a better version of yourself.  After taking a basic yes or no 72 questioned Briggs-Myers Yung online test I was labeled as an ENFJ (Extraverted Feeling with Introverted Intuition).  Reading this portrait of an ENFJ was eerie.  It is incredibly accurate as far as how I identify myself as “The Giver”.  Seeing the traits written in black and white makes the strengths and weaknesses of this personality speak a little louder and draws more awareness to the personality traits I should embrace, and the not-so-huggable traits.  I do not mean to ignore the strengths of the personality profile and in fact I enjoy reminding myself of these positive attributes, but in this post I am going to focus more on the personality profile weaknesses, how it coincides with my personality, and how it relates to my quest for healthy living.  If I recognize the hurdle, I can try to find a way to overcome this obstacle.

ESFJ strengths

  • Always look for win-win situations. ESFJ personalities value harmony and do their best to avoid conflict wherever possible. They are natural team players, trying to get along with everyone.
  • Very loyal. ESFJs value relationships and stability very highly and try hard to not disturb the status quo unless absolutely necessary. This makes them very loyal and trustworthy employees and partners.
  • Sensitive and warm. ESFJ personalities seek harmony and care deeply about other people’s feelings, being careful not to offend or hurt anybody.
  • Know how to connect to people. ESFJs are social and friendly individuals who have no difficulties with small talk or following other social rituals. People with this personality type also tend to have a strong need to belong, e.g. by playing an active role in the local community.
  • Take their duties very seriously. ESFJ personalities tend to be responsible and reliable, paying a lot of attention to their duties and responsibilities. They can be very hard workers, often putting their duties above their own needs.
  • Good with practical matters. People with the ESFJ personality type have excellent practical skills and do not mind dealing with routine, daily tasks. They will always make sure that people close to them are cared for.

ESFJ weaknesses

  • Often obsessed with their social status. ESFJs tend to have a very strong need to be seen as responsible, respected and successful individuals – they will do everything to increase their social status and influence.
  • May be inflexible. ESFJs place a lot of importance on traditions and may often worry too much about what other people see as acceptable. Consequently, they are likely to be very careful or even critical when it comes to unconventional methods or non-mainstream views.
  • Unwilling to improvise. People with the ESFJ personality type dislike venturing outside their comfort zone and taking bold steps, usually out of fear of being (or appearing) different.
  • Very vulnerable to criticism. ESFJs strongly dislike conflicts and criticism – they can get very defensive and hurt if someone (especially a person close to them) criticizes their habits, ideas or favorite traditions.
  • Often too selfless. ESFJ personalities may care and worry so much about others that their attention will become overwhelming and ultimately unwelcome. This is also likely to lead to their own needs being neglected.
  • May be needy. ESFJs need to know that they are liked and their efforts are valued. Consequently, people with this personality type may often fish for compliments or try to attract other people’s attention.

I think the most concerning weaknesses listed  regarding my journey to wellness is being too selfless and very vulnerable to criticism.  When you are trying to work on yourself, you cannot be selfless or read too much into criticism.  My needs, such as leading a healthy life and eating properly,  must come first.  If you give all you have, you have nothing left for yourself.  I am obviously not talking physical objects here.  It’s easy to lose yourself as an ENFJ personality!  I am determined to re-define myself and build on my confidence and inner strength.  I can also be very defensive, so if I am criticized harshly I will shut down emotionally and physically.  This is not something that will help me on my journey.

I also took a more detailed test and came out with a ENFP result labeled “The Inspirer”, but I identify more as an ENFJ, or “The Giver”.  The percentage difference between my P and J results from each test was 1-2% so it’s a close call between the two.  I think this gives me reasons behind my multiple personalities!

The difference between the P (perceiving) and J (judging) definition are as follows:

Judging (J)

Decisive, prefer clear rules and guidelines, eager to commit, see deadlines as sacred, seek closure

Perceiving (P)

Probing, prefer keeping their options open, reluctant to commit, relaxed about their work, seek freedom

I found this extremely interesting as far as my relationships both personally and professionally.  Commitment is something I enjoy, but it’s not something I come to lightly.  I like open options to a certain point, then it’s time to commit for good.  And once I commit, I commit wholeheartedly.  This also relates to my commitment to the gym!  Once I get there, I am good to go for hours.  But getting me there can take a lot of work.  Deadlines are a necessity in my life if I want to succeed in my professional life.  If I don’t have them, I am very very relaxed with my work, or “laid back to an extent” as I refer to myself as a supervisor.  Deadlines give me a needed sense of closure so I can move on and seek out the freedom I crave.  Furthermore, I am definitely not decisive and probing seems quite an extreme word.  I am curious, but not one to probe to the extent of annoyance.  I would say I’m a very good mix of both judging and perceiving, which is probably why the test put a very small percentage between the two in my personality result.

The above being said, I relate to many of the strengths and weaknesses of the ENFP personality type, or “The Inspirer”, as well.   I’ve made sure to note areas to embrace and work on from this information.

ENFP strengths

  • Observant. ENFP personalities believe that there are no irrelevant details or actions – they try to notice everything, seeing all events as part of a big mysterious puzzle called life.
  • Very popular and friendly. ENFPs are altruistic and cooperative, doing their best to be empathic and friendly in every situation. They can get along with nearly everyone and usually have a large circle of friends and acquaintances.
  • Energetic and enthusiastic. ENFPs are always eager to share their ideas with other people and get their opinions in return. Their enthusiasm is contagious and very inspiring at the same time.
  • Know how to relax. People with this personality type know how to switch off and have fun, simply experiencing life and everything it has to offer. Their wild bursts of enthusiastic energy can often surprise even their closest friends.
  • Excellent communicators. ENFPs tend to have great people skills and they instantly know how to present their ideas in a convincing way. They can handle both small talk and deep, meaningful conversations, although the ENFP’s definition of small talk may be somewhat unusual – they will steer the conversation towards ideas rather than weather, gossip etc.
  • Curious. ENFPs are very imaginative and open-minded. They enjoy trying out new things and do not hesitate to go outside their comfort zone if necessary.

ENFP weaknesses

  • Highly emotional. ENFP personalities tend to have very intense emotions, seeing them as an inseparable part of their identity. This may often cause the ENFP to react strongly to criticism, conflicts or tension.
  • May have poor practical skills. ENFPs are brilliant when it comes to solving problems, creating processes or initiating projects (especially if they involve other people) – however, they are likely to find it difficult to follow through and deal with the practical, administrative side of things.
  • Overthink things. ENFPs always look for hidden motives and tend to overthink even the simplest things, constantly asking themselves why someone did what they did and what that might mean.
  • Get stressed easily. ENFPs are very sensitive and care deeply about other people’s feelings – this can cause them a lot of stress sometimes as people often look toward them for guidance and encouragement, and the ENFP cannot always say “yes”.
  • Find it difficult to focus. People with the ENFP personality type lose interest quickly if their project shifts towards routine, administrative matters – they may not be able to stop their mind from wandering off.
  • Very independent. ENFPs loathe being micromanaged or restrained by rules and guidelines. They want to be seen as highly independent individuals, masters of their own fate.

Focus is something I struggle with on a daily basis, so on a very bad day I can see this being a weakness I need to keep in check during my wellness journey.  Again, being sensitive to criticism rears it’s ugly head so being that it is a part of both ENFJ and ENFP personality profiles only solidifies that I do NOT respond well to criticism as all!  I try to not be so sensitive, but I tend to lambaste myself instead of having the confidence to either agree or disagree with the opinion, and move on.   I also struggle with practicality often, so it’s no surprise I am torn between these two personalities (ENFJ being practical and ENFP with poor practical skills).  I sometimes wonder why my emotions or reactions are not practical, and there is always a struggle between my head and heart.  I think I’ve gotten better with these weaknesses, but only time and experience will tell!

In conclusion, I think I am constantly “The Giver”, and sometimes “The Inspirer” on any given  good or  bad day.  I am not a psychologist, I never studied Psychology, but personality tests are a fun interest of mine!  No one knows me better than myself, so i feel well prepared when taking these tests!

So, what is your Personality Profile???  Once you take either the short or long online questionnaire (or both!), find out what your results mean and let me know!  Do you identify with your results?  Why or why not?  Are you within a small margin of percentage with another personality like I am?  Do you see yourself in both roles?  What weaknesses do you find are relevant in your own personal journey to wellness?  What strengths can you use to help you along your journey?

RESOURCES:

http://www.personalitypage.com

http://www.16personalities.com

Purpose, Hope, and Impact.

I wanted to write today about the purpose of this blog, what I hope to achieve by maintaining it, and what impact it is having on my journey towards health and wellness so far.

My purpose here is part personal therapy through writing and part joy in the possibility that telling people they are not alone in their struggles with food and weight loss may help them find their own happiness.  I felt alone for most of my life regarding my relationship with food and weight.  There were numerous helpful outlets for under-eaters, not so much for over-eaters when i was growing up.  It was not fun.  This blog is a personal account of my relationship with food and exercise.  Will my decision always be the healthiest for me?  No.  Will I try to get back onto a healthy path if I fall off?  Yes.  I’m a work in progress.  I know this.

I’ve received mixed feedback about this blog but I love the energy and conversations coming out of my posts.  My approach to wellness may be unorthodox compared to other weight loss and health blogs by scholars and professionally trained health gurus.  As a commenter wrote on my first post, my testimony is a ‘common sense’ approach to health and happiness.  Am i happy and healthy? Most days.  Could I be happier and healthier? Sure.  Am I happier and healthier than I was 8 months ago?  Heck yes!  Do I want to go back to where I was 8 months ago?  Heck no!  I would love to be able to lead a completely organic whole and fresh food diet with no processed foods.  I know many people who do lead these amazing lives, feel great, and I admire them for that.  I am not saying it’s impossible for anyone to reach that lifestyle, I encourage it if you feel it’s what you want to do.  I really enjoy delicious fresh meals and organic vegetarian cuisine, but sometimes I just have time and money to reheat that lean cuisine in my freezer.

Life can get in my way as far as maintaining a healthy routine.  Work, relationships, and health issues (like surgery) can put a temporary hold on your path to wellness if you don’t make that extra effort to find the time to make the right decisions regarding food and movement.  You are not a bad person if you forget about your journey for a while due to these distractions, but it will certainly take it’s toll. I tend to internalize negative thoughts and doubts that can cause constant road blocks deep in my psyche that effects my decision making skills during these times. I can feel like I’ve failed or sabotaged myself if I don’t make the perfect decision.  I started this blog to not only remind myself, but remind all the yo-yo dieters, moms and dads, workaholics, lazy butts, and others that if you fall down on your own personal journey, it’s OK.  Get back up, make a plan to continue on the path to wellness and make it a lifestyle, not a temporary goal or “diet”.  Don’t lose hope.  Change your thinking.  Don’t get discouraged by time passing you by.  If you fall off course it makes it difficult to get back on track, but it’s not impossible.  I am still learning what’s best for me nutrition wise, I’m hammering out this journey as I go, I’m still growing into the best version of myself.  My hope is to be a positive and supportive friend through this blog for all my readers.  Being happy is more than just achieving your goal, it’s living a life that’s right for you.

The positive impact of this blog has been quite substantial in less than a week of going live, and for that I cannot be more thankful.  I’ve had numerous friends/acquaintances/strangers give me such genuine support and feedback about my writing and kudos as to my weight loss accomplishment thus far.  This drives me to continue on course the right way.  The not so positive feedback reminds me to be clearer in my message to the public, and to find my voice.  I am thankful for that as well.  The best review I received was from my father.  He told me the other day that I am an engaging writer and he’s shared my blog with people he feels would appreciate my story.  That is the highest form of flattery from someone I have extreme respect for.  It’s a nice example of showing someone how their actions make you proud of them.  I thank my father for that, and for his and my mother’s ongoing support of such a public display of intimate details about their daughter.

This blog has been a positive influence in my life in such a short amount of time.  My psyche feels free and lighter with each post.  The feedback keeps me sharp and honest with myself.  I think this blog will help mend my mind and lead not only my body, but my soul to achieving the highest form of health and happiness for me.  I welcome all types of feedback and I’d love to start a dialogue with you about any topic I’ve covered on my blog or one I have yet to write about.  Please feel free to e-mail me at katyells@gmail.com or comment here.

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(plate available for purchase on Etsy)

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