How to find a healthy balance between fitness and life
When you talk to someone about health or fitness, you are always going to get a strict answer. They are either trying the latest diet that is going to lose them 20 pounds over night, or they are eating a magic pill that is supposed to give them the physique of The Rock. No matter what way you look at it, health and fitness is always taken to the extreme. But if you ask me, this is not going to be the answer to long term success. If you want success, you need to find a healthy balance with your health and fitness goals.
I have had to learn this lesson in the hardest way possible. Extreme dieting, exercising until I couldn’t move, obsessively counting calories, and even binge eating. All of this because I thought I needed to look a certain way in order for people to accept me. I felt that if I had been accepted by others, all of my issues would magically disappear. Boy was I wrong. Let me be the first to tell you, the minute you lose the balance in your life, you will go crazy.
Finding balance in my life was not easy. It is actually still a daily challenge for me. Some days are better than others. We just need to take a step back and think about what is important to us. Like I said, I am far from perfect, but here are some strategies that I am currently using to try and find balance in my life.
- My biggest suggestion is to be more lenient on the foods you are eating. I love to eat healthy foods, and I tend to only eat healthy foods. What I have started to do, is I eat healthy 80% of the time and “cheat” the other 20% of the time. By cheat I do not mean that I am stuffing my face with a Big Mac and trying to force feed 10,000 calories in my body, I am simply enjoying the moment and not focusing on food. In my post The Importance of Saying Yes, I talk about my previous weekend and how free I felt by living in the moment and saying yes to everything. I ate whatever I wanted over the weekend, and I must say, I had never felt more liberated. I literally felt like the weight of the world was lifted off of my back. At the same time, not only did the food provide me with a boost of energy, it also made me motivated to get back into the gym on Monday morning.
- Speaking of the gym, you need to learn to give your body a rest. This is probably the suggestion that I have the most difficult time with, because I love moving and exercising. If you are a person like me and loves to be active, go for a walk, do some stretching, go play so basketball. You do not need to be completely sedentary, but do not overdo it and put additional stress on your muscles. Too much stress can lead to an increased risk of injury and can cause you to get burned out of exercising.
- My final suggestion is to listen to your body and eat intuitively. As part of the fitness community, we have become so reliant on food labels and how many calories we are eating that we have completely forgotten how to listen to our bodies. It only makes sense that we since we are constantly putting stress on our bodies, that we should listen to them when they say that it is time to refuel.
By listening to your body, you will be able to stop eating when you are full and eat only when you are hungry. The energy, the recovery, everything is going to be better because only your body can tell you what to do. Do not listen to those “magical” diet plans and eat at a certain time or only a certain amount of calories. Find that balance and listen to yourself.
I am going to be completely honest with you. Some of the things that I am saying here make me a hypocrite. That is because I know what it is like to push my body to the extreme. I face struggles every single day with my eating and exercise choices. Building a balanced approach is not going to happen overnight, at least it has not for me. However, by searching to find that balance, I have been able to make memories and I have learned to love myself all that much more. Find you balance and live a new lifestyle. I promise that will be happier and you will be healthier both mentally and physically.