Like many women, I sometimes have a dysfunctional relationship with food. It’s sad really since it’s something we all must have to survive. Some days, it’s nothing more than the fuel I need to keep myself moving forward productively. Other days it is my best friend, giving me comfort and temporarily taking away the blues. This pattern is not unique to me, and it is equally as vexing to others I know who are prone to this vicious cycle. I am a huge proponent of healthy living and goal setting, especially for health reasons. The older I get, the more I realize that health is not something that we can take for granted. Some of the things I did in my teens, 20s (and sadly… in my 30s) simply don’t work for me these days. At this stage in my life I would never do a triathlon without training (yes … I’ve done that in the past). After a muscle tear last year, I’ve given up on high velocity sports like tennis and boxing that require quick direction changes. I still run occasionally, but it’s not my main event. In my opinion, healthy living is equal to fashion — one size really does not fit all. However, I do believe there are a few things that we can all do to find what works for us individually. Forget the Fads I admit it … I wore parachute pants in the 80s, Hypercolor t-shirts in the 90s, and have been the victim of many other fashion fads that I choose not to mention here. The fact of the matter is that fads are here today, gone tomorrow and rarely leave you looking back on them with fondness. In the interest of full disclosure, I have tried some fad diets over the years that resulted in temporary success. The problem is that much like the mullet, you can’t sustain a fad diet for any real length of time. Sooner or later, your body is going to require more than just lemonade, or just grapefruit, or just protein shakes or whatever the newest thing is. If you are really attempting to be in tune with your body, it will tell you what it needs to function at its highest levels of performance. Say No to Quick Fixes Have you ever been caught with a wardrobe malfunction? I certainly have and it’s usually when I have little time, or need to be somewhere super important. A well-placed safety pin, accessory or the occasional stitch witchery have been my saving grace. Unfortunately, such quick fixes are “fast and dirty” and they are not a permanent solution. Diets or exercise routines that promise you will drop ridiculous amounts of weight and be “beach ready in a month” are … well, ridiculous. You may drop some pounds and head to the beach, but you will likely eat everything in your wake once you arrive. In our day of instant gratification, it can seem like you need the patience of a saint to make incremental progress. Unfortunately, making lasting changes requires patience and perseverance. I read something recently that said it takes four weeks for you to notice a change, eight weeks for your friends and 12 weeks for the rest of the world. The motivation to sustain and keep working definitely increases after those 12 weeks, but real change means that you’re never “done” making great choices. Be You Another confession … I read celebrity gossip magazines and websites. I don’t know why I enjoy being in the know on who went where, with whom and what they subsequently bought at the grocery store. Maybe it’s nice to try and humanize the people we see on screen and stage. Maybe I’m secretly hoping to catch a glimpse of them sans makeup and hair extensions? Or maybe knowing that Gwen Stefani does her own grocery shopping will lead me to believe that I should be able to do it all too — be rich, have a hot rocket body, always be dressed impeccably (with my impeccably-dressed children in tow), and an ever-doting wife to my impeccable husband. Not realistic! As women we have to be comfortable with who we are. No amount of working out is going to give us JLo’s figure if we aren’t built exactly like JLo. Wearing stilettos to the grocery store is fine, but you’re not inferior if you choose something more comfortable. Proudly be who you are, you’ll feel more comfortable and will come off more authentically to others. Just because your coworker is a vegan doesn’t make it right for you. Take the time to find what works for you and your lifestyle and move forward with confidence. Spring is upon us — take this season of rebirth to tune into you and do what makes you feel your personal best.
Shelley Davis Mielock
Shelley Davis Mielock is a certified business image coach and the founder of Mieshel Image Consulting, a Lansing-based firm that specializes in image development for individuals and businesses. She is also a co-host of In Her Shoes, a a weekly women’s talk radio show. To ask Shelley an image question, please e-mail her.