I wanted to hop on today and talk about staying balanced in your life, in fitness, and with healthy eating. Recently, I sort of feel like balance is my life motto for just about everything. Not to be super cliché, but I think I’ve grown a lot in the last few years when it comes to leading a well-balanced life, which is why I want to address this topic. First of all, how do I even know I am more balanced than ever before? Well, I feel it. I sleep better, I’m less anxious/nervous about things that would’ve sent me down a vortex of worry in the past, and in general, I just feel a sense of calm.
Now, I’m not saying all day, errrr day, I’m a flower child humming tunes without a care in the world. I still worry about stuff (er, finances, cough, cough), but I think my perspective is better, as is how I respond to these normal life obstacles. For me, letting go of comparison, washing away the idea of “timelines,” and focusing on the present moment are all things I do to live that bad-ass, balanced life.
Let’s start with comparison…DON’T FREAKING DO IT. EVER. We clear? Good. Your life is your life. Everyone has a different outlook on life, different goals, different views on what makes a fulfilling life. If I allowed the comparison game to seep it my blood, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
You see, I felt that something needed to change a few years back…I didn’t love my job and I really believed I could find a way to make a career out of what I enjoy most (so…ya know, eating and fitness). Easily, at the ripe ol’ age of 29, I could have said “too late, kiddo. It’s time to stay stable, start having kids, and really settle down.” Because you know what, that’s what was starting to happen around me…right as I’m starting to have all these epiphanies about who I could be and how amazing it would be if I took a chance and left familiarity behind, others around me were diving into a way different life story- babies, buying homes, PhD’s,… It can be confusing when you feel you’re at an age at which you should be hitting that next life milestone, but instead of looking at my life as a timeline, I listened to that little voice inside of me that said, “do it.”
And I’m better for it. I’m not saying life wouldn’t be incredible if I had chosen another path, but I feel stronger, more balanced having gone down this one. The fact that I don’t dread Mondays, suffer from sleepless nights, and I feel excited to inspire others daily, are all testaments that I’m becoming who I was meant to be. I don’t want you to have this impression that everything is perfect in my life (it’s all tulips, overnight oats, and Pinot o’er here!) Everyone struggles with something, no doubt, but it’s about truly loving who you are and what you do that allows you to live observing your struggles, rather than letting your struggles be your life.
So I guess what I am saying is, if you don’t feel balanced, gut check. What’s your inner-voice telling you? I think when we tune into ourselves (via meditation, prayer, writing in a journal, etc.) we can discover those answers we need. Maybe not right away, but eventually, we do find that path we’re meant to be on. And hey, you might have to go on several paths simultaneously to get where you’re going, and that’s cool too. The one thing you can’t do? Look at someone else’s life and judge your own. You’ll never feel balanced living a life that is not authentically yours.
Okay, so now for a little health and fitness specific talk with regards to balance. I think it’s pretty common for many people to take on that “all or nothing” mentality when getting started on a workout or healthy eating kick. Here’s the thing- it doesn’t work. You are not going to have perfect workouts every week, and you sure as heck are not going to eat perfect 100% of the time. Here’s how I look at it… first, with regards to food, the question I ask myself most throughout the week is “what is this food giving my body?” Maybe it’s Vitamins A, C, B, or protein, healthy fats, complex carbs…but, by asking that question, I’ve acknowledged the true purpose of food: nourishment and strength for the body. But, I’m also human, and I love ice-cream and I believe sometimes our souls just need it. So I buy ice-cream that has real, natural ingredients (please don’t get artificial crap). I don’t have it every, single night, but I do have it when I truly crave it, and you know what it gives me? Balance 😉
The meals I make at home are pretty darn healthy, so when we have a date night out at a restaurant, I know it’s cool to indulge a little. When the majority of what you eat is clean, natural ingredients, then those occasional indulgences are good. And in a way, they are necessary (at least for me, I know they are). It’s all about listening to your body and being honest with yourself. You know if you haven’t had a single vegetable in a day. So work on that. You know if you’re being too hard on yourself and never allowing yourself treats. Work on that. Above all, love your body.
The same goes for exercise. We’re meant to move, but we’re not meant to move so much that we’re always tired, sore, or sick. Listen to your body. Mix up your workouts. I am a Pure Barre fanatic, but I still take myself through my own circuit workouts. I do yoga when I need an extra long stretch. I take rest days and I have weeks where I barely workout at all. It happens. Honor your body week to week, take walks, dance, stay active, but don’t pressure yourself to do a certain number of days, or a certain number of hours in the gym. Just focus on moving, having fun, keep your body guessing, and make sure you feel good. If you’re feeling good, likely you’ve got a good routine.
So why all the balance talk? Well, I hadn’t blogged in awhile, and I realized it was because I had spent some time focusing on other areas. I didn’t dive into every aspect of balance here today, but sometimes in order to keep our lives balanced we have to set certain priorities, and as a result, some things take the back burner for awhile. With work, with relationships…there’s always a fine line to maintaining balance. But, I’m back and ready to share and, hopefully do lots of inspiring here.
My idea of balance may not be yours. That’s okay. My point is, with everything in life, take time to listen; listen to that inner voice, listen to your body, listen to your heart. I think no matter what our definition of a “balanced” life is, no one can go wrong if we just listen.