#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.