Is your perfectionist brain calling all the shots? For a LONG time, my high-achieving, to-do list loving brain controlled the way I lived my life. I was successful...and exhausted, burnt out, and unhappy. I was so focused on my busy schedule and goals that I completely ignored what my body needed. One of the biggest things that changed my life was learning to manage my perfectionist brain. It doesn't matter how perfect your nutrition and fitness plan is - if you're not managing your mind and listening to and honoring what your body needs, you will never achieve sustainable health, happiness, and success that feels good.
In this episode, I share examples of how my perfectionist brain used to get in the way of supporting my body. I still have perfectionist thoughts (often!), but now I’ve learned to manage them instead of letting them run the show. I share tips on starting to manage your mind so you can prioritize your health even when you’re busy in this episode!
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Music: “Play Thing” by Ketsa
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Hey life booster. This is Dr. Amelia health coach and veterinarian here to help you ditch yo-yo dieting people, pleasing and perfectionism by breaking the norm and living a life that energizes you from within. This episode is going to be about mindset and how much shifting your mindset can truly impact your overall health and wellbeing in a really big way. It's actually been a little while since I recorded a podcast, I had been just like recording, been recording up a storm for a bit. So I had a lot of episodes that are still coming out. but that's even a little shift in the way that I manage my brain in that this month I have been focusing on updating the life boost jumpstart program, which I talked about on stories. The program is great the way that it is, but I saw areas where I could make it even better. So I have been adding even more resources for the jumpstart program and that's making me really excited. Like created some new models that are making, creating or breaking habits so much easier, some resources for helping to manage your nervous system during those moments when you're just like, Ugh, I feel so overwhelmed. And you just need to like to reset, give your nervous system a little break. And just overall I am feeling so excited about the new things that I have added basically to the life boost jumpstart program. There's now gonna be this whole life boost, toolbox of all these tools that you'll be able to use during the program to help you to manage your mind, to problem solve, to listen to your body. But they're just really powerful tools that you're also going to take with you for the rest of your life. That's just going to help you to feel like no matter what obstacles you encounter, you are always feeling supported and that you have the resources that you need to troubleshoot, to find your inner researcher to use those as data points, and then to have clarity in how to move forward. It's ultimately that long term success. that is my goal. So because I've really been focusing on, making those updates to the life boost jumpstart program, I have been doing this thing where I am not trying to do all the things all at the same time. And so I gave myself space to not podcast unless I was feeling inspired, but here we are because I was, and actually, The life boost jumpstart program is just about finished and updated. Speaking of that, if you're not familiar, that is, it is now an eight week program with weekly group coaching. And basically if you just feel like healthy is hard and you have associated healthy with less desirable or relying on discipline and willpower and you're just looking for a way of creating a healthy lifestyle that feels sustainable and that you actually enjoy, the jump start program is for you. It will truly change your entire mindset and approach to health. The way that you're treating your body, you will learn to really embrace the way that you're treating your body in a very loving and respectful way. You'll understand how to listen to your body, to finally understand what foods it needs instead of just getting bogged down or confused by all the health recommendations out there and you will set up a lifestyle that is customized to you. That works for you and really set you up for long term success. And then you have lifetime access to a Facebook group where you can continue to receive coaching you'll con continue to receive new resources or recipes that are added and it's just a really incredible way to transform your health. So if you do want to sign up for that you'll find a link in the caption section for this episode, if you wanna read more. So what I wanted to talk about today is I wanted to give you a glimpse of how much my mindset has changed and how much of an impact that has it's just this domino effect really. And I realized that I wanted to share this with you during a walk yesterday, because what happened is that I started the day and I had some pretty big projects that I wanted to finish. And I had a timeline in terms of like, when I wanted to have each project done during the day, for example, by lunch, I wanted to have accomplished, you know, these two things. And it was about 11:30 when I was just finishing up one project and then needed to start this other project that ideally I wanted to have finished by like before lunch. And I could feel in my body that I was starting to lose focus. I had been focused doing project number one, but now I, I just was starting to feel kind of distracted. And even my legs were just a little bit restless. I was like, I'm just tired of sitting in a chair and I could tell in my body and my mind that I wasn't in a space where I was just ready to power through. If I had continued with that project, it would've been coming from a distracted energy. And also this energy of like, I just want to get this done, not an energy of like, I am ready to really focus and make this what I want it to be. So in the past, what I would've done... I wanted to go for a walk and that would be my reward, right? Like if I get this done, then I can go outside and have a little fresh air and go for a walk. And what I would've done is I would've made myself just stay there and continue to work until I finished it, even though it was going to be a lot harder because I was going to be distracted so it was gonna take a lot of energy to just continue to make myself focus. When in reality, our brains are really only good at really focusing for like 90 minute blocks of time. And anytime you have to switch tasks that it takes a little effort and time in order to refocus and to get into the groove. And so if I had continued to work, I really would've been working against just the way that our brains function. And so instead of doing that, I have come to a much more flexible and understanding place where I recognize the signs that are showing up in my body. And I work with those instead of just letting these rules and timelines that my brain has come up with dictate the way that I'm experiencing my day and life. So instead what I did is I recognized, okay, I am not in the right state of mind to be able to do my next project in a productive way and in a way that feels good. So instead I gave myself a break and recognized that I needed to go outside to just give my brain sometime just to freely think and to recharge so that I could return and be refocused. And that's what I did. So I'm at a place now where I'm no longer seeing things that feel good to my body as a reward. I'm just seeing them as a tool to help my body and mind function optimally so that I am much more efficient and productive. So going for a walk now it's more of a way to recharge and to help give my body what it needs instead of something that it only gets if my brain has been able to cooperate. And this has ultimately made my life so much more comfortable. The old me just was wound up into this tight ball, just trying to control everything. And there was so much tension and stress associated with that. So the old me would have been like, Ugh, I'm already running behind, I need to get this done because I just created this rule and now it's super important to me that I meet it. And so I would have continued to try to focus. I would not have been efficient. This task would've taken so long because I was working against my brain. That was already just, you know, I had already kind of reached its capacity for being able to focus really well in that moment. I would've felt antsy and then that project would've taken so long I can tell you this from the experience. And ultimately, I probably never would've been able to do the walk because I wasn't able to focus and that would've just made me then be not in a very good mood. I'd be super frustrated with myself because things are taking so much longer than I thought that they would. And in general it just would be a very negative experience. My stress would be rising and rising and it's a vicious cycle. The new approach is instead of just resisting my body and mind's cues it's that I am flexible in understanding and actually listening. So I'm like, okay, I know that I need time to recharge. Great. Let's go for a walk. That's gonna feel so good. I'm gonna get some fresh air. I'm gonna just let my mind wander. I know that that is a time when I'm actually able to come up with fresh ideas and it's able to help me step back, come back with a new perspective. And so I just went for that little walk, came back, set a timer for 90 minutes, put my phone away so I didn't have distractions and I was able to really focus on that project. I felt it was coming from a good energy and I got it done in so much less time than I would have. If I had been forcing myself to. This approach has just made me experience my life. I just am so much calmer. I feel freer. I feel happy and that stress is, is gone. You know, I just, I realized how much I was making my life uncomfortable by the, I was creating this reality for myself and it didn't have to be that way. Now this shift, it's not like it was something that happened overnight. It's been slowly evolving of where the more in tune I am with the way that my body feels and understanding what it needs. And also the more I've become just more of like a spectator of the thoughts that are in my mind and where as previously there was this main inner voice that, that perfectionist voice that got to call all the shots and dictated everything. Now I manage that to recognize that as soon as that perfectionist brain comes up with a rule or thing that I need to do, I don't have to do it. I can think about it and call it out and then think about what makes sense. With one of my clients, we talk about how her inner critic's just not logical. So we call out, that's not logical and that's something I encourage you to pay attention to. A lot of the times we have inner critics or those inner thoughts or that inner voice that is worried about things or creating a reality for you, where if you do some fact checking it's not based on any facts and that's not serving you. So in this case, I recognized that my brain was like, "no, you can't go for a walk. You wanted to finish this. You're already behind. So you're gonna sit down and just get it done now". And instead I'm like, okay, well, I hear that that is ideally my initial plan was, but I can tell that my brain isn't ready to focus. I can tell that my body needs to move and it doesn't wanna sit in a chair anymore. And so that's not going to be productive. That's not in the best interest of my ultimate goal, which is to do this project and have it be something that is created from a good, positive energy and to create it in the most efficient way. And that means also doing something that's great for my body, by giving it a break, some fresh air and helping it to walk. That is so good for my stress and my body, blood sugar, digestion, overall health, happiness wellbeing. So that has been a big shift, but that perfectionist, like I wanna do all the things voice is always with me. I have grown up like I don't ever remember not having that perfectionist brain truly like I remember in first grade caring about my grades and trying to, to do everything perfectly. So it's not like I can just be like, oh, I'm not going to have those tendencies anymore. I'm not going to do that. It is constantly practicing. And it's all about managing those thoughts. So I'm going to even show you a little bit further of how much that perfectionist brain shows up. So during my walk, I was thinking like, maybe this is an example that I should share with life boosters, an example of how the old me versus the new me and now listening to my body and brain. And then I started to spiral again. So then I was like, Ooh, how should I share that? Like, I could record a story or I could an Instagram post, or I could do a podcast. And instead of just doing all of those right in that moment and then, you know, working during my walk, I was like, okay, I can do a podcast. But then my brain was like, Ooh, but you should do it now because you want the podcast to be out on the same day that this is happening. And then you could make an Instagram post to share the podcast. So when you get back, you should definitely record the podcast episode, edit it and then get it out so that it's all done. Welcome to my brain. so note how the podcast was not at all, something that I was planning on doing yesterday, but my brain wanted to do all these things. And what I noticed as my brain was spiraling and adding lots of things to my to-do list is I could feel that just sense of overwhelm and agitation, you know that feeling in your chest and your heart where you just like, feel it getting a little bit tighter or like rising and you're like, Ooh, this is I'm adding stuff to my plate. I recognized that that was happening. And I just said, no So I, once again, called out my brain, managed my brain and reminded myself that I had already created my to do list for the day. I created that to do list intentionally and did not overload it because there were two well three, I guess, things were important to accomplish that day, and I did not need to add a whole new project that was going to then make it, that I was probably working after dinner and that I was feeling overwhelmed. There was no actual logical reason that the podcast had to come out that day. Aside from that, my brain thought it did. So instead I just called it out and came up with a new plan and I thought, okay, I'm gonna write this down so I can remember this idea. And then when I am feeling inspired or have some time, I can record the podcast if I still want to, and then I can edit it when that happens. Because this is an extra thing in my week that wasn't on my to-do list initially. And so that is not a top priority. And that's one of the big things I have learned to do is just to continue to check in. And every week I do identify what are my top priorities and I continue to check in anytime I think that I want to add something new to my plate, because just want to reiterate how this was another time how my brain likes to do things that adds stress to my life that truly isn't necessary. In retrospect, when I look back to myself even two years ago, and really it's just been increasingly improving since then, but I, I truly was just living in a state of constant anxiety and constant stress and it didn't feel like that was something that I was creating. It felt like that was a product of the environment and that all of those things that were causing stress were really important and that I just had to be doing it all. And I didn't feel like I had a choice. It just felt like that was my reality. And when I was able to just start stepping back and listening and seeing how those decisions and the thoughts in my mind were affecting the way that my body felt and all that stress I was constantly carrying around, and the more I realized that I didn't have to be living by these rules, the more, all of that just started to melt away and the more in control and resilient I felt, and that flexibility of, and willingness to work with my body and to recognize when I'm getting overwhelmed and to instead of just like, "ahhhhh" then just be like, oh my gosh, I'm so busy. I'm so stressed. Ah, I'd like to, there's just too much to do now. I can just be like, okay, I don't love this feeling. What are the thoughts that are causing this? And how can I come up with a plan so that I'm not carrying all of that with me? How can I make this feel doable? I'm going to give one more example from this weekend as a final way of just helping to show how much I have been working to resist perfectionism and how much that can truly impact just the way that you are experiencing life and the way that that directly impacts your overall wellbeing and health. so we had some friends visiting this weekend, which it was so great. I hadn't seen them in even a couple, a few years. Um, so it was just wonderful to have them at our house. I love hosting. However in the past, man, that major perfectionism would creep up and I was like, everything needs to be absolutely perfect. Our house has to be spotless. It has to be perfectly clean, indoors and outdoors. I need to come up with an exact meal plan. I have to have every moment planned. And that would have been like, you know, the Friday before they arrived, I would've spent the entire day getting everything ready and it would've caused a lot of stress. And even when the guests were there, I just, would've been wanting to make sure that everything was absolutely perfect all the time. And I am just done with that, you know, it's just... It's too much and it ends up exhausting me. I had other things that I wanted to be focusing on Friday, and I now realize that those perfectionist tendencies, it was like, I needed to put on the show and I wasn't comfortable just being like, okay, this is like authentically who we are and where we. Matt and I had a busy week and so we didn't need to be adding more stress. The point of having good friends visiting is to have that connection and enjoyment of all being together and, likely they don't care if every single project that I came up with in my brain and for the house is completed. And if there are friends that we have who do then maybe those also aren't deserving of us spending an entire day preparing. If there are people in your life who are judging your appearance or your circumstances, then are they bringing joy and are they a valuable connection to have? So for example, I am currently still in the process of scraping and painting my deck. So it is not looking great. You know, there's like half that's painted and there's half that's in the middle of being scraped. And the old me would've one hundred percent been like the outdoor space. This whole project needs to be completed and everything needs to look great for them because what if we're spending time outside, like this is just not acceptable. And that would've required so much time working to complete that project during the week, the new me is just like, okay, this is the reality. Like we are in the middle of the project and that's okay. We still have outdoor space where we can hang out if people want to. It was also a pretty hot weekend. So, initially Matt was going to grill and we decided that we weren't going to do that. And I was able to just embrace, like, this is okay. Like, I, I feel safe to just show who I am now. Like, this is us, this is us in the middle of a home project. And also we're so glad to have you and to welcome you into our home. And you know, of course we wanted our house to be clean both for them and for us, but it didn't have to be spotless. It just had to be in a way that we felt good as well. And in terms of coming up with a plan for food, you know, I thought about what would be something that's easy or that I enjoy. And I love when we have guests doing build your own bowls because I find that that's so easy for different taste buds and dietary preferences and like amounts that way everybody can kind of create a meal that they like and be a little bit creative. So we did Mexican themed, either build your own bowls or tacos. That was really easy. I just had a base of, we got some corn tortillas and then I made some cauliflower rice that I seasoned a little bit and made some quinoa so that you could pick whatever you wanted and then did the easiest proteins. I love shrimp cuz that cooks so fast. I just got some frozen shrimp and then a rotiserie chicken. Then you don't have to cook that at all. And for some veggies sauteed a bunch of onions and bell peppers and took some cans of black beans and heated them up a little bit and added some spices and a little lime juice and cilantro just to add some flavor. And then I used some things that are so easy. Like I already had a jar of pickled onions that can add free flavor and then just got some salsas and of course, guacamole. Guacamole always. And it was just very easy. It was the thing that I enjoy cooking, but it wasn't one of those dishes where I was like, uh, everything has to be perfect. Or, when we're grilling for Matt, he likes it to be perfect so very closely monitoring the temperature the entire time. We just did things that were easy and that has just totally. Been a huge shift for me because I grew up with a mom who is like Martha Stewart in a wonderful way. I mean, she's an incredible host. But I am programmed to want everything to be perfect and to go above and beyond. And for me, I have learned to embrace that authenticity and just being comfortable with showing up as I am and making sure that my home is welcoming, but not needing it to be perfect. Just working with where I'm at in life and what is not going to be overwhelming. So. If you can relate to that perfectionist brain and just that feeling like you're always stressed or you're always busy. I really invite you to pay attention to what statements are showing up really frequently. Like, and the way that you're describing your life. If you are always saying, I am so busy or I am so stressed. That can start to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you have those statements, you are believing that reality and that can make you feel overwhelmed. And so I recommend that you start and just noticing when you're even describing your reality that way and start to do a fact check and that's when you really encourage you to start asking these questions of like, how am I making my life harder than it has to be? Call out, like, is that logical? Are these things that you actually have to be doing and starting to get curious about are you resisting showing up as your authentic self? Are you trying to paint this perfect picture or would it be okay if you just show your current state. And you know that my outdoor project is halfway done. That's okay. Not every single project needs to be done in life. That's not logical and it's not realistic. And just noticing the rules and the timelines and the times when you feel unpleasant things in your body showing up, whether that, that is that like building sense of overwhelm, as you're adding things to your to-do list, whether that's just an inability to be focusing, whether that's like your legs, just your feeling like you need to walk, what are the signs in your body and your mind that you need a little break and how can you listen to that so that ultimately you are happier, more productive, more efficient, and you're just experiencing life in a much more enjoyable way? If you feel like you do really want to start managing the thoughts in your brain, that is what my programs are for. The life boost, jump start program is an amazing way to get you jump started in terms of listening to your body, the signs that are showing up, how stress is showing up and understanding what foods work for you, and also addressing all those thoughts that are coming up in your mind that maybe making your current reality more uncomfortable than it has to be. It's all about partnering with your body. And if you really wanna dive into the mindset work, if you prefer a one-on-one environment, that's where my one-on-one programs are perfect for you we'll work closely together and we will just start paying attention to the thoughts on your brain, help you set up a healthy lifestyle that doesn't feel hard. It's a lifestyle that gives you energy, helps you to feel comfortable and helps you to feel in control, so you never wanna ditch it. I hope you find this podcast helpful. If you did, please share it with somebody that you love and cheers to your inevitable health, happiness, and success.