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#398: Coloring Book Limitations

Monday, August 23, 2010

Remember how much fun we had as kids with coloring books? Even as adults entertaining children there is something magical about transforming blank outlines of pictures into multi-hued artistic pieces.

For some reason today I began thinking of coloring books and how there always seemed to be two schools of thought on the use of such books.

One was that it stimulated the creativity of the children coloring if they were allowed to color over the entire page and make the pictures any color they wanted.

The other was that all coloring had to be done within the lines and that the objects on the page had to be appropriate colors. Grass had to be green and the sky blue. People's faces couldn't be purple.

As I got older and colored with my little nephews and niece, I realized how stifling it could be for them to always be told they had to stay within the lines and so encouraged them to color as the mood hit them. It was fun putting weird colors on things and scribbling all over the pages. We enjoyed making the sky brown, faces green and the grass blue.

This was the time in my life I began to resent being told I had to do things a certain way because that was how they had always been done. I'm a creative person and often do think outside the box, or outside the lines in this case. I often see things in different ways from other people. I love word play and seeing the humor in many normal things.

But today, as I thought of coloring books, I thought how many limits we put on ourselves, like staying within the lines. For example, there is so much diet information that details to infinity how to eat, when to eat, what to eat, how to balance carbs and protein and fiber, and on and on and on.

It's easy therefore to become stifled and to believe we must live within such boundaries. But what is wrong with a hamburger for breakfast or cereal for lunch? Trying to live within self-imposed limits -- no caffeine or chocolate ever, breakfast foods eaten at breakfast, lunch foods at lunch -- reduces our creativity and makes our weight loss journeys so regimented we often rebel. That is when we find ourselves gorging on potato chips or cookies or ice cream then feeling guilty about it.

When we find ourselves bored with our food plans, let's think of the coloring books and realize there is no absolute rule that we stay within the lines. Let's eat a variety of foods and exercise as we are able and make this journey to fitness a fun one, where the sky can be brown and the grass pink.

Don't stifle ourselves. Let our creativity run wild. Color our meals with imagination. Let's have fun with our eating plans, just as we do when we revert to our inner child with a coloring book.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD5178852
    How true!
    3834 days ago
  • BREEZY85
    great blog!!! i did so enjoy readin it and it is so true.
    3841 days ago
    Oooo, Lou, you sure touched some of us with your comments. I, too, am more creative, and never quite liked that part of staying w/in the lines and coloring certain things particular colors. I'm no artist, tho, at least not w/pencil or paint brush. My artistry comes out in needle work - I take a knitting or crochet pattern and create away. I always say, "A pattern is just a suggestion".


    3841 days ago
    My parents use to buy me paint by number picture sets. I couldn't bare to do them. I would flip them over to the blank side then make up my own pictures. LOL

    I also don't like others telling me "this is the only way" to do whatever. I think there are many ways to reach the same goal and part of the fun is experimenting. I am all for food rules, but "the make up your own kind of rules" . LOL

    Enjoyed today's blog. Thank You. Joy
    3842 days ago
    Coloring in the lines can be so...boring. And yes, it does impose so many limits. Yet there are times when it is necessary to stay within limits! I am the type of person who stays within the boundaries or limits of certain things; but with others, I ERASE the lines! LOL It is hard to stifle creativity, isn't it?
    3842 days ago
    I am one who needs structure, or I tend to run amuck! I envy you! However, I do love breakfast for supper! emoticon
    3842 days ago
    I am one who needs structure, or I tend to run amuck! I envy you! However, I do love breakfast for supper! emoticon
    3842 days ago
    Structure verses creativity. It's interesting to consider whether they are in opposition or work in conjunction. Thank you for provoking my thoughts yet again!!
    3842 days ago
  • TEDYBEAR2838
    I love when I look at my nutrition for the day, all the different foods I've had. Love colorful plates.!
    3842 days ago
  • PIGLET1979
    I like what you're saying about self-imposed rules of play, but I'll challenge you with another thought about the converse; and the possible detriment of TOO many choices...

    “When forced to work within a strict framework the imagination is taxed to its utmost and will produce its richest ideas. Given total freedom the work is likely to sprawl."

    — T.S. Eliot
    3842 days ago
    ISN'T IT FUN EATING ALL THE COLORS? emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3842 days ago
    emoticon blog Lou! Something so true and important to remember. Great analogy with the coloring books and coloring in the lines!!!

    Thanks for always keep us enlightened!

    Kim emoticon
    3842 days ago
  • no profile photo YW84FRIDAY
    Coloring in the lines is overrated and often unrewarding. My favorite pieces of art (compliments of Curt) are red ducks, purple giraffes and a million backward "C's" because that's how he signs his name. Sometimes he gets tired of coloring pictures for everyone so he "outsources" them to the staff at the group home. LOL! I can always tell because even if they're scribbled, it's still within the lines. One time I called him on it and asked, "Curt? Did you really color this picture?" He insisted he did. I looked him in the eye and asked again, "Cuuurrrrt? Did YOU color this?" He fidgeted with his hat and then looked at his feet and said, "Well, Janica helped me." "Ohhh really? And what part did you actually color?" He pointed to all the purple backwards C's on the paper. I told him that I actually liked HIS coloring much, much better and didn't want to hang up Janica's picture on my fridge. He came in the next day with some wild colored something or other and handed it to me and stomped away. LOL! I went after him and gave him a BIG hug and made a huge fuss over his gift. Then he laughed and hugged me back. Life is good!

    3842 days ago
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