Balance. Ohh the infamous balance. It’s not unusual now a days to hear people say, “it’s all about balance” or “it’s all about moderation”. It’s a common word people use to describe being in a place where you make healthy choices majority of the time but allow yourself to skip a workout here or have a piece of cake there WITHOUT feeling guilty. For some people, this may be a very achievable concept to grasp but for others, finding balance can be extremely difficult.
It has taken me years to find a healthy balance in my life and it is something that I continually work towards. Years ago the idea of balance sounded like a novelty. I would have loved to only eat one cookie and felt satisfied & not consumed with guilt but back then I didn’t understand how to create a place of balance and what that looked like. There are so many negative connotations around “bad” food and the need to workout a certain amount of minutes a day or times a week. It is easy to develop emotions of guilt and shame when we break those rules or norms we set for ourselves.
The truth is, balance looks different for everyone and we aren’t perfect. Balance for one person might be ordering pizza every single Friday night. For them, that Friday night pizza allows them to not feel deprived but also helps them stay on track the rest of the week. For another person balance might be having a small dessert every night after dinner. If they didn’t get to have some dark chocolate at eight o’clock every night it might lead them to binging later on with all sorts of poor choices. Someone else might feel like they are living a balanced lifestyle when they can have two extra rest days one week and not feel bad about it because their body really needed that extra rest. Balance looks different for each person so it is important to figure out what balance looks like FOR YOU. It is also important to keep in mind that we are never going to be perfect. There will be nights where we have full intentions to eat only one small piece of pie and then it turns into two pieces of pie with ice cream and whipped cream on top. It happens. There is no need to beat yourself up over it because that only leads to more feelings of guilt, shame, and disgust for yourself and you don’t deserve that.
Most people find this time of year to be especially challenging to continue to live a healthy lifestyle. There are so many celebrations full of extraordinary food, less daylight & warmth to be active, and more traveling distancing us from our normal routine. While these things may be true, healthy balanced living is absolutely and completely still an attainable concept to master. I believe it is even more important to learn what balance means for you during this time of year so you are able to genuinely enjoy time spent with family and friends while also learning how to maintain your health goals.
I am not a therapist, dietitian, trainer, etc., I am just your normal, average young adult striving to find a place where I show myself grace, have pride in how far I have come, and continually work towards living a healthy life that is realistic, maintainable, and enjoyable physically, mentally, and spiritually. I encourage you to take some time to think about what really makes you feel satisfied and not deprived in your health journey. What choices, patterns, structure, etc. will make you feel as though you are able to savor and appreciate your life while preserving your health goals? What will help you to achieve the infamous “balance”?