Category Archives: Diet

Single, Fit? Boca Raton is the place for you!

Those of us that live here, in Boca Raton, have known it forever! Between the beaches, the warm weather, and the money to spend – Boca Raton affords a lifestyle and location for the single and fit that can’t be beat. Now the rest of the world knows it as well! Check out this great article by my good friend, Steve Dorfman, reporter at The Palm Beach Post.

If you live in Boca, you’ll totally agree. And if you don’t, you’ll be looking for a way to move here ASAP.

Palm Beach Post: Single, Healthy, Looking for Love?

Good news for health-conscious singles who are ready to mingle — and live in southern Palm Beach County.

In a study released earlier this month of its multimillion-member database, the matchmaking website Chemistry.com (a subsidiary of Match.com) ranked Boca Raton No. 3 in the nation for cities whose single residents pursue a fit, healthful lifestyle, and highly value similar traits in a potential mate.

According to Chemistry.com Chief Scientific Advisor Dr. Helen Fisher, “The site tallied profile information on factors such as active hobbies, commitment to exercise, alcohol-intake patterns and smoking habits. Boca Raton ranked among the top across the board.”

Doesn’t surprise me a bit.

(Although Boca Raton ranking behind some place called “Shawnee Mission, Kansas” — a sleepy little suburb of Kansas City — was not something I would’ve expected.)

I don’t reside in Boca, but live close enough that I’m quite familiar with how high a priority its populace — both single and married — place on recreational sports, health and nutrition. To wit:

  • The scores of runners, cyclists and power walkers inhabiting the city’s ubiquitous residential fitness pathways every morning
  • The numerous, immaculately maintained — and perpetually crowded — golf courses and tennis centers (both private and public)
  • Gyms and health clubs of seemingly every size and ilk (including a half-dozen Cross-Fit “boxes”) permeating the primary thoroughfares, from State Road A1A west to U.S. 441.

Read the full article here.

 

Happy National Peanut Butter Day!

It’s January 24 and guess what that means? It is National Peanut Butter Day!! How I didn’t know in advance so that I could prepare adequately is just a disgrace and I promise to make amends next year!

My absolute favorite food in the world is peanut butter. It can go on basically anything – and making the eating experience 10 times better. It’s amazing on apples, bananas, celery, bread and pretzels. It is even better in shakes and on ice cream. I like the natural kind just as much as the sugary sweet store-bought brands. Regardless, it is the best combination of protein, carbs and fat. And as a runner – it just goes so well.

How do you like your peanut butter?

 

Solutions to the 17 Most Common Running Problems

I found this piece on Active.com and wanted to share. Great tips for us runners…including everything from pre-race jitters to pacing during a race to fueling up before and after to much more!

 

Jay Johnson Solves 17 of the Most Common Running Problems

Jay Johnson, expert coach of elites, high school and adult runners, and creator of RunningDVDS.com, tackles 17 of the most frequently asked questions about running—from common running injuries to best pre-race fueling to how to improve, Jay has the answer…

See them all here.

THINGS ARE CHANGING in 2013

Okay runners – get ready for some NEW and EXCITING stuff coming your way in 2013. And only on RunningTips101.com.

Every few

weeks – we will be focusing on and unveiling new TIPS meant just for you Tips will fall in a number of categories including (but not limited to) Shoes, Gear, Running Routes, Workouts, Health Providers, Food, Beverage, Wellness and much more.

You tell me what you want to learn about. And I’ll provide the information, the product, the SAMPLES, the testing (with my crew of runners), the reviews/results, and more.

Interested in having your product reviewed?! Sent an email. Send your product. And we will see what we can do!

Start emptying out your closet!!! This is going to be fun!!!

 

Happy New Year! What’s Your Resolution?

It’s the new year and with a new beginning comes new opportunities, new goals, new starts and resolutions. They say that over 60% of resolutions involve exercising more – which essentially almost always involves RUNNING!

My new year’s resolutions include:

1. Being more consistent with my running. I am great during the week when I’m with the high school team, but I need to be better about committing to my long Sunday runs. They are early but make me feel so good when they are done (plus they add about 10 or so miles to my weekly mileage).

2. Follow my Advocare program better. That means less coffee, no dairy and more veggies, healthy fats and good proteins. New year, start, go!

3. Use my massages! I pay $59 a month to Massage Envy for an enjoyable massage  and I haven’t been using them! It’s such a shame. And for now on I’m booking them and using them – at least one a month – if not more!

And that’s it…With these three resolutions complete – life will be fun, relaxing, enjoyable, happy, healthy and SUCCESSFUL! What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

Healthy, Delicious Smoothies!

I just purchased a Vitamix blender from Costco and I am super excited to get my juicing going! I started this morning with the following for brunch: Whey protein power, almond milk, half a banana, carrot and orange juice, flax seeds, Chia seeds and kale leaves! I was in luck because I spent the day yesterday shopping with a good friend at Whole Foods, Publix and Costco. Needless to say, my fridge is packed with good, healthy stuff!

In honor of my new Vitamix, I am including a post I recently read with some great recipes. (I will include more directly from the recipe book that accompanied my new high-tech blender!) Thanks Nicole McDermott from Greatist.com.

54 Healthy Smoothies for Any Occasion
By: Nicole McDermott 

It’s darn near impossible to screw up a smoothie (fine, avoid the anchovies). Throw any combination of milk, fruit, nuts, and other goodies into a blender and presto, you’ve got a handy-dandy drinkable snack. The beauty of these five-minute recipes is that there’s free reign with ingredient amounts. And if the fridge or pantry isn’t fully stocked with each, it’s easy to pull together a winning combination by popping just a few things in the blender. We’ve rounded up 54 of our favorite smoothie recipes to sip pre-and-post workout, plus dairy-free varieties, ones loaded with greens, and others perfect for breakfast and dessert.

But first, we have some pro tips to get your smoothie-making off to an award-winning start:

  • Make sure to pour in liquids first (it’s easier on the blender).
  • Start from the lowest speed and work up to higher speeds once the mixture smoothes out. Add ice last, and use as much or as little as you’d like. We suggest three cubes for each smoothie, but it’s perfectly okay to add more and make it a little slushier to achieve a creamier texture.
  • Some of our smoothies use cow’s milk, or dairy free subs like almond, soy, hemp, and rice. Pick your favorite, or make a mixture of your own!
  • If you’ve got leftover smoothie hanging in the blender, divvy it up into an ice cube tray for easy blending the next time.
  • Top smoothies with fresh fruit, seeds, chopped nuts, or shredded coconut for a texture change.
  • Freeze fruit for a thicker consistency. Chop it up for easier blending.
  • If you’d rather not sip it, try your smoothie from a bowl, with a spoon.

Now it’s time to get blending!

*All recipes serve one.

With Greens

Whoever said it’s not easy being green never met a green smoothie. The hue of these blends may be startling at first, but popping some spinach, kale, or chard makes these smoothies extra good for us.

1. Black and Blue
Though this smoothie has a misleading name (it’s because of the berries!), it’s got a hearty dose ofspinach which can actually help speed healing (because it’s a great source of vitamin K).

2-3 cups organic spinach
1 cup milk (or juice) of choice
1 banana
¼ cup blueberries, frozen
¼ cup blackberries, frozen
3 ice cubes

2. Thin Mint
Sure, this one sounds like it should be in the dessert section, but sneaky, sneaky it’s got spinach hiding inside. Just a cup of spinach contains over 300 percent of our daily-recommended amount of vitamin A. Plus, peppermint adds a refreshing zing.

1 cup spinach, frozen (or 2 cups fresh)
1 cup almond milk
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
¼ cup rolled oats
 teaspoon peppermint extract

3. PKB (Pumpkin, Kale, Banana)
Mmmmm, pumpkin. The delicious fall favorite has nearly no fat, but adds a creamy thick consistency anything it’s added to. It’s also loaded with antioxidants, like alpha- and beta-carotene, which convert into vitamin A in the body. This harvest drink also uses cinnamon, which can help fight inflammation.

3 leaves kale
½ cup vanilla soymilk
1 tablespoon flax seed
1 banana, frozen
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup pumpkin
3 ice cubes

4. Spinach Flax
So we know spinach is great for us, but this smoothie has the benefits of flax, too. The high fiber seed has a heavy concentration of omega-3s, which are good for the heart because they may help lower blood pressure and reduce blood clotting. Tip: Slice the banana before freezing for easier blending.

½ cup vanilla yogurt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
2 cups spinach
1 banana, frozen
3 strawberries
1 teaspoon flaxseed

5. Dark Chocolate Blueberry
While the color of this tasty potion isn’t exactly desirable, the taste and health benefits certainly make up for it. The spinach provides a good dose of iron and fiber, and the blueberries and cocoapowder throw antioxidants into the mix.

2 cups spinach
1 cup blueberries, frozen
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
½ cup unsweetened almond milk

6. Killer Kale
Kale can definitely be a bit bitter, so this mixture will taste best with a very ripe banana. The leafy green is a great low-cal source of fiber, calcium, and iron. Hemp is one of the highest plant-based sources of complete protein.

1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
1 ½ tablespoons almond butter
1 banana, frozen
2 cups kale
1 tablespoon hemp seeds

7. Carrot-Berry
Not only does this guy have some greens, it’s got all sorts of other colors too. (Warning: It may not look as pretty as it tastes.) For a thicker smoothie, let the chia seeds soak in the water for ten minutes before blending (they absorb up to ten times their weight in water!).

½ cup almond milk
½ cup water
1 carrot
2 cups spinach
½ cup frozen berries
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon hemp protein
½ teaspoon stevia

8. Minty Swiss
We’re not talking swiss miss for this smoothie — we mean swiss chard, a great source of calcium and potassium.

1 bunch swiss chard
½ cup raspberries, frozen
½ cup pineapple, frozen
½ cup peaches, frozen
3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
¼ cup orange juice
3 ice cubes

9. Coconut Kale
This list of ingredients produces the prettiest, brightest green smoothie ever. The coconut extract is a must, and the coconut milk makes it super creamy. Feel free to nix the honey if you’d like to take the sweetness down a notch, since a little goes a long way.

1 cup chopped kale
1 banana
1 ½ cups coconut milk
1 tablespoon flaxseed
1 tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon coconut extract
3 ice cubes

For all 54 great smoothie recipes — pre-workout , post-workout, dairy-free, breakfast and dessert options — go to Greatist.com.

Looking to Sweat?! New Infrared Sauna Studio “INFRASWEAT” Opens in Delray Beach

INFRARED SAUNA STUDIO, INFRASWEAT, OPENS IN CITY WALK AT PINEAPPLE GROVE IN DELRAY BEACH

Infrasweat offers numerous private infrared saunas for use; Grand Opening scheduled for December 21, 2012; First 25 guests to receive complimentary sauna session

Infrasweat, a proven yet cutting-edge wellness concept that delivers Infrared heat directly to the human body, will open December 21, 2012 in City Walk at Pineapple Grove in Delray Beach. Located at 200 N.E. 2nd Ave, Suite 106, the Infrasweat sauna studio will be a sanctuary for customers interested in health and wellness. The Delray Beach location, which will be open seven days a week (Monday – Friday, from 8am to 8pm; Saturday, from 9am to 5pm; and Sunday, 10am to 2pm), is the first of many planned for the South Florida market by Infrasweat.

The Infrasweat studio’s grand opening will take place during the Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority’s “Fabulous 3rd Fridays” from 4-7 pm. The event will feature tours of the sauna studio, food and refreshments, as well as complimentary infrared sauna sessions to the first 25 guests.

Infrasweat is the first of its kind in South Florida and features multiple Sunlighten™ private infrared saunas. The Sunlighten™ mPulse™ brand sauna is the world’s first bio-feedback enabled or “smart” infrared sauna and helps users wirelessly track heart rate, changes in weight and body mass index, and calories burned. The sauna also features the first customizable full spectrum infrared heater, featuring a range of options, including near-infrared light (for pain relief and skin purification), mid-infrared (which assists in weight loss and improved circulation), and far infrared (which reduces blood pressure and is whole-body detoxifying). Further the Sunlighten™ brand offers the only saunas with clinical data shown to reduce blood pressure, increase core temperature nearly three degrees, and aid in weight loss.

“For the past year, I have been traveling across the country to California in order to access and experience the benefits of infrared sauna therapy,” said Infrasweat owner Kelly Dorsey. “I am thrilled to finally be able to introduce this proven wellness concept to South Florida through the Infrasweat studio, and help the community understand the impact of infrared heat therapy first-hand.”

Infrared saunas have been featured on The Oprah Show with Dr. Oz, The Doctors, and Ellen. The benefits of the Infrared sauna have also been referenced in studies conducted by Kagoshima University in Japan and the results sited in Harvard Health Publications as well as by The Mayo Clinic.

Infrared heat therapy uses infrared light characteristics to heat the body directly rather than just the air. Infrared saunas increase the body’s core temperature thus resulting in a much deeper, more detoxifying sweat from the cellular level of the skin where many toxins are housed.  As a result, infrared saunas can produce a sweat composed of 20% toxins vs. only 3% toxins with a traditional sauna.

Infrared sauna health benefits include:

  • Detoxification. Sweating is the body’s natural and safe way to heal itself and stay healthy. Infrared saunas heat the body at the cellular level and help detoxify the body by getting rid of highly toxic metals, such as mercury and lead, arsenic, as well as sulfuric acid and other organic and inorganic compounds.
  • Increase Metabolism & Burn Calories. Studies show that a 30 minute infrared sauna session can burn upwards of 600 calories. As the body works to cool itself, there is a substantial increase in heart rate, cardiac output and metabolic rate, all of which cause the body to burn more calories.
  • Anti-aging & Skin Purification. The profuse sweating achieved after just a few minutes in the infrared sauna carries off deeply imbedded impurities and dead skin cells, leaving the skin glowing and clean. Further, increased blood circulation has been shown to relieve acne, eczema, psoriasis, burns, lesions and cuts.
  • Relaxation & Stress Relief. While traditional saunas operate at extremely high temperatures in order to heat the air, the infrared saunas heat the individual directly and therefore feel gentle, soothing and therapeutic. One session at Infrasweat will leave you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and renewed.
  • Pain Relief. Infrared heat penetrates tissue, joints and muscles. Studies show, it can help relieve anything from minor aches and pains to chronic conditions, such as fibromyalgia. Increased blood circulation also helps carry off metabolic waste products and delivers oxygen-rich blood to depleted muscles to aid in recovery.
  • Heart Health. Infrared saunas cause a deep sweat which makes the heart pump faster, in turn increasing blood flow, lowering blood pressure and helping circulation. Scientific evidence, in fact, shows that using one of Infrasweat’s featured saunas two or more times a week lowers blood pressure.

To learn more and/or to book an appointment, please stop by the studio at City Walk in Pineapple Grove, 200 N.E. 2nd Ave, Suite 106, Delray Beach; visit the Infrasweat website at www.infrasweat.com; or call 561-276-5550. (Parking is available for customers in the Pineapple Grove parking garage. Hours of operation are Monday – Friday, from 8am to 8pm; Saturday, from 9am to 5pm; and Sunday, 10am to 2pm.)

 

Open Heart Surgery for My Dad…

My dad, Russ Perlman, age 60, just eleven days after open heart surgery and five bypasses. I’d say he’s looking pretty good!

Well, I haven’t posted for a while as I’ve been super busy but I am excited to catch up on a few subjects this Thanksgiving holiday weekend…

Just two weeks ago, my dad Russ Perlman had open heart surgery and five bypasses. The urgent surgery came out of no where for all of us – my dad included. He’s 60 years old, not overweight, in overall good health and very active (plays softball up to 5 times a week).

Apparently, over the past couple of months my dad has been feeling a little out of breath while playing softball. He even vomited after running the bases one day and nearly passed out another. He ignored the signs until feeling that his jaw was going numb one afternoon while standing in the outfield. At that point, he told his girlfriend Patty and they made an appointment with his internist. He was immediately sent to a cardiologist for a stress test, which led to a surgical appointment for angioplasty and to have stents put in. Unfortunately, the doctor realized my dad’s arteries were 100%, 99%, and 75% blocked. There was no way a stent could be inserted and at that point a heart surgeon was called for open heart surgery.

Considering that my siblings and I just lost my mom to breast cancer in 2008, the idea of my dad going under for serious open heart surgery was scary. As I told him before he went it, he would need to fight as hard as he could. He couldn’t leave us now. We were so lucky that he was getting this second chance – as the doctor said my dad already had two silent heart attacks – either of which could have killed him.

My dad’s surgery was scheduled at Palm Beach Gardens hospital with Dr. Heitman last Thursday, November 8th. He was on the bypass for more than 8 hours. But he came out, five bypasses later and did great! It has been two weeks since his surgery and my dad has been home for over a week, is walking and doing everything else on his own. He was recently okayed to drive on his own. And the only thing he’s not permitted to do…play softball for the next two months! He’s a little upset with that but he’ll make it 🙂

So why I am writing about my dad’s open heart surgery here? Because this is a warning to all my readers to have the people in your life get checked, have their stress tests done annually, and listen to the signs. My dad was and is healthy. It was hereditary reasons that led to his blockage more than anything. So, take this is as a sign, a warning, a push to get your loved ones check out…before the New Year.

And, my dad is not along. Coronary artery disease, also called coronary heart disease, or simply, heart disease, is the No. 1 killer in America, affecting more than 13 million Americans. Heart disease is a result of plaque buildup in your arteries, which blocks blood flow and heightens the risk for heart attack and stroke. Learn more here.

Tired? Energy Low? Get Your Iron Levels Checked!

Earlier today I visited my doctor for a regular check-up and had my recent blood test results reviewed…I am happy to report most of my levels were normal, including my Iron and Total Iron. However, my Ferritin levels are low. In fact…very low. According to the test results, the recommended levels are between 10 and 154 ng/mL. My doctor upped that to between 50 and 150. My numbers? 6L. And while my doctor wasn’t very concerned (she said the Ferritin really only comes into effect if you need to go into your blood storage…), running experts say otherwise.

With that in mind, I figured I’d share some information about Ferritin levels and recommend that we all get our blood tested and checked at least once a year (especially if you are feeling tired and run-down)! And with that in mind…I anticipate my running only improving and my times only getting faster (once I start my iron pills)! I will be starting with an over the counter supplement (sulfate) first thing tomorrow morning!

Courtesy to RunnersConnect.net.

Outside of training deficiencies, low iron levels in runners is one of the most common reasons for poor results during workouts and races. Recent research indicates that almost 56% percent of joggers and competitive runners suffer from an iron deficiency that severely hampers performance. By closely monitoring iron intake and supplementing if needed, you can quickly boost performance and prevent lulls in your training.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency in Runners

Determining if you have an iron deficiency can be somewhat difficult if you’re a runner. The main symptom of low iron levels is fatigue and a slight shortness of breath. You can appreciate the dilemma here if you’re a runner – you’re always tired after a workout and shortness of breath defines our preferred mode of transportation.

If you are worried that you might be iron deficient, you should schedule an appointment with your physician for a blood test. It’s a simple test that most doctors would be willing to provide if you tell them you’re running a lot of miles and feeling more fatigued than usual. Even if you are not iron deficient, you can establish a good baseline for your iron levels, which could help you identify an iron problem down the road.

The major results of interest to runners are: hemoglobin (Hg), hematocrit (Hct), iron (Fe), total iron binding capacity (TIBC), and ferritin. In anemia, your hemoglobin and hematocrit, which are a measure of your red blood cell count, are low. In iron deficiency, your iron is low, your total iron binding capacity is high (meaning there is lots of extra room to bind more iron), and your ferritin (a measure of your iron stores) is low.  In my experience coaching elite runners, a ferritin level less than 30 ng/ml in women and less than 40 ng/ml in men is often enough to reduce performance and impact your running.

Why is Iron Important for Runners

Red blood cells, which contain hemoglobin (an iron-containing protein), transport oxygen to your working muscles when you run. If you have low iron levels, you will generate fewer red blood cells and your hemoglobin levels will decline. Therefore, less oxygen will be transported to your muscles, and running performance will suffer. Studies on how low iron levels can cause injuries (especially in runners).

How Runners Lose Iron

Runners lose more iron than non-runners for a multitude of reasons.

Through your feet – First, a process called foot strike hemolysis occurs in runners, especially those who run high mileage. Foot strike hemolysis is a process where red blood cells are damaged when the foot hits the ground, thus reducing your hemoglobin levels.

Through sweat – Iron is lost through sweating. While the amount of iron loss isn’t staggering, for a runner working out in hot and humid conditions, the losses can easily add up.

Through the intestines – Loss of iron through the GI tract (primarily the stomach or large intestine) is a problem for some athletes. Iron loss through the GI tract is fairly minor, but there may be a cumulative effect over months of running that leads to iron deficiency.

Female runners – Finally, female runners have an especially difficult time maintaining proper iron levels since they also lose iron during menstruation.

How to Supplement

As you can see, the cards are stacked against you as a runner when it comes to maintaining your iron levels. Therefore, it is important that you consciously monitor your iron intake through your diet and with supplements, if you already have low levels.

Iron rich foods

Good food sources of iron include: lean meat, oysters, egg yolk, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, dried fruit, and whole grain or enriched cereals and bread. If you are worried about your iron levels, avoid drinking coffee, milk, or tea with iron-rich meals, as calcium inhibits iron absorption. In addition, you should drink vitamin C with your iron rich foods since vitamin C aids in absorption.

Supplementation

I suggest most runners be on an iron supplement unless their iron levels have tested high in the past.

  • When you go to buy an iron supplement, make sure it’s in the form of ferrous sulfate. Usually, you can find iron at a health store like vitamin world or a GNC. You can take iron in a pill or liquid form, whichever works best for you. Pills are often easier to find, but liquid absorbs better.
  • Like when you’re eating, avoid calcium an hour before and an hour after taking your iron. Likewise, take with vitamin B (a pill or orange juice) and a B-complex supplement to aid absorption.
  • I suggest taking your supplement before bed. Iron supplements can sometimes cause minor stomach issues and gas. If you take them at night, it probably won’t bother you. If your stomach does bother you, taking ferrous gluconate rather than ferrous sulfate can be easier on your stomach. Iron supplements can also cause constipation, so you could consider a stool softener if needed.
  • If you’re just looking to maintain your iron levels, supplement with 30mg of elemental iron. If you are iron deficient, supplement with 60mg of elemental iron.

By paying attention to your iron levels, getting tested if you think you may be low, and increasing your iron intake through diet or supplements, you can avoid lulls in your training and boost performance.

Read more here and here.

Low ferritin levels have also been shown to substantially increase the risk of injury.

During the cross-country season, there were 71 injuries severe enough to cause lost training time. Those runners who were injured had average ferritin levels which were about 40-per cent lower than those found in non-injured runners. In addition, the 34 runners with the lowest ferritin concentrations had twice as many injuries as the 34 runners with highest ferritin.

The researchers concluded that low ferritin is related to an increased risk of injury in female cross-country runners. Since iron is a key component of haemoglobin, the compound which carries oxygen to muscles and other tissues, it’s possible that athletes with low ferritin had decreased oxygen delivery to tissues and therefore became fatigued more easily during workouts and races, compared to individuals with normal ferritin. Their exhausted muscles would then be less able to stabilize and support the knees and ankles – two key sites of injury in the study. Low ferritin might also decrease the rate at which muscles and connective tissues are repaired, allowing minor injuries to blow up into major problems –Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, vol. 25(5), Supplement, p. S25, 1993

Perfectionism: The Double-edged Sword

Every once in a while I come upon really insightful and interesting case studies and white papers that touch on a nerve, get me thinking, compel me to share the piece with others…And here is another one straight from the University of South Florida’s “The Counseling Center for Human Development.” (Circa 2000.) Enjoy – and let me know if you recognize someone while reading this. Potentially yourself? Your spouse? Your child? I know I sure did…not mentioning any names!

Ask yourself while reading this piece – if you do relate…what can you personally do to grow? Put a little less pressure and stress on yourself? Enjoy life a little more? And probably even succeed at a faster and greater (and more enjoyable rate)…

Perfectionism: The Double-edged Sword

Do you push yourself to be the “best?” The best student, greek, athlete or friend. Do you get upset with yourself when you’re anything less? While we all strive toward excellence, some individuals have a great difficulty accepting a personal role of less than “number one.” These people are considered perfectionists.

Many college (and high school) students are perfectionists. To these students, obtaining a “B” is considered a failure. (Not being the best on their team…not being the best in their class…all failures.) They are unwilling to accept an “average” performance or role, because to them, “average” equals “second-rate.”

Perfectionism is not the healthy pursuit of excellence, as most people tend to believe, but rather it is the compulsive striving toward unrealistic goals, declares psychiatrist David Burns. “Setting high personal standards and goals, and working hard to attain them is appropriate,” he says. “However, perfectionists set excessively high goals and strive compulsively to achieve them, punishing themselves for mistakes and lowering self-esteem because they can’t reach these impossibly high goals.”

Perfectionists believe compulsive striving is necessary for success. Aiming to be the “best” all the time virtually guarantees feelings of failure, however. In fact, studies suggest that perfectionists are often less productive and successful, and experience more stress and anxiety than their co-workers/students/teammates. For perfectionists, who measure worth entirely in terms of productivity and accomplishments, this vicious cycle is self-perpetuating and self-defeating…

So what’s the answer? First of all, be aware of the difference between setting high personal standards and perfectionism. Setting high standards involves the pursuit of success and realistic goals, while perfectionism involves setting impossibly high goals (all the time) and is motivated by the fear of failure.

Second, learn to focus on your successes rather than perceived failures. Perfectionists typically view success as an “avoidance of failure” and as a result rarely gain satisfaction from their achievements.

And finally, your worth as a person is not determined solely by your accomplishments. Feelings of self-worth are also affected by such factors as interpersonal relationships, physical health and appearance, spiritual beliefs and emotional well-being. Perfectionists often focus on only one area of their life to the exclusion of others.

10 Steps to Overcome Perfectionism