When I was kid I was never a fan of the seesaw. I was small and it seemed whomever sat at the other end (I'm looking at you big sis) would hold it down so I was left with my scrawny legs dangling up there at the top. The seesaw is not fun when you're stuck in the "see" position. (See is up, saw is down. right? Has this point ever been debated?) Turns out it look me a long time from those seesaw days to find my balance.
I've always struggled with balance. My tendency is all-or-nothing. 100% in or 100% out. Over the years my weight reflected that inconsistency. I would run too much and eat too little for as long my willpower would allow, then eventually, not run at all and eat too much until I gained enough weight that I would be inspired to start the process over again. I repeated this more times than I care to admit. Every time that I would lose the weight, I would pinky swear that I would never gain the weight again (never!).
But when you are living on willpower fumes all it takes is a change in routine (vacation, anyone?) a life change (maybe a new job) or any unchecked stress and the pendulum would swing in the other direction. Bye bye skinny jeans.
I don't believe in before and after pictures. These are both during my life at different stages. I still cringe at the first picture. I made a self-depreciating joke when I first shared this picture that there was an elephant in the picture...and some zoo animal in the back ground. It was taken nearly 10 years ago. The second one is not my after picture, I am still living my life.
It took me too many years of on and off to finally find balance. I realized that I didn't need to run every single day and that lifting weights and Yoga are fabulous additions to a well-rounded routine. I learned I can eat pizza and drink wine in moderation and I don't have to deprive myself of anything.
Absolute abstaining from so-called bad foods never worked for me, because eventually I would break and not be able to stop the overindulging.
These days I exercise most days but don't get down on myself if I am tired and replace a scheduled workout with a long walk. I eat healthful foods most days but enjoy pizza and sushi (yes, the yummy deep fried kind) on a regular basis. I try not to restrict anything, but enjoy everything in moderation. Sounds cliché, right?
This admittedly, is easier said than done. I am sure lots of people are reading this and nodding their heads in agreement. Almost everyone agrees that moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle, yet so many of us (raises hand!) still struggle with the execution of it. The key for me was understanding and identifying that fine line between self-compassion and poor choices, so that the actions that are harmless when they are done occasionally don't turn into full blown bad habits (and vise versa).
For me it always went both ways. I was just as likely to lose control by overindulging as I was by under nourishing or working out too much. Orthorexia Nervosa is the unhealthy obsession with clean eating and exercise. Too much of a good thing is still too much (that's why it's called too much).
Miss a single workout? No big deal. My body needs the rest. I don't have to beat myself up for fitness. A rest day is a good thing. Miss three days in a row? Four? I have learned to look deep and really be honest with myself. Am I missing my workouts this week because I feel lazy or because my body genuinely needs the rest? There is a big difference and as long as I am honest with myself I can make the right choice for my body.
After a decade of a yo-yo mindset, I finally feel like a have a handle on it. I've been able to maintain my healthy weight (not too heavy, not too light) for nearly two years and am more in tune with recognizing the triggers (whether positive or negative) that can lead to unhealthy behaviors that throw off that balance.
I work to practice self-compassion while still pushing myself to achieve personal goals. This is a fine line and something I am sure I will have to be mindful of for the rest of my life. I try to make positive choices without obsession and enjoy life's pleasures without over indulging. It's the art of balance.
Can you relate?
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