My Journey With Balance
Finding balance in my health journey has definitely been a journey in itself for me. After being diagnosed with a chronic illness (Lyme disease), I had to drastically change my lifestyle. At first I really struggled to eliminate so many foods I had grown to love. No more gluten, dairy or processed foods. It felt like my life was full of restrictions, stress and worry. I feared that if I ate even the smallest amount of something that didn’t fit within my dietary requirements I was failing myself. I feared I would feel sick from even a bite of what I had eliminated.
There are some cases where you need to eliminate or add something to your health regimen that you need to strictly stick with. For example, if you have celiac disease you don’t have the ability to be flexible with your gluten intake. However, if you are trying to lose weight, it is alright to have a cookie every now and then. If you are trying to reduce your sugar intake and you’re at a birthday party, it is ok to have a slice of cake.
To make lasting changes in your health you need to be in it for the long run. In order to do that you need to find balance and peace within your health journey. After I began to feel a lot healthier, I started to reintroduce foods and listen to how my body reacted. I now have a clear understanding of how much and of what my body can handle. I no longer live in complete fear every time I eat at a restaurant. I now know that my body won’t freak out if I have a bit of flour in the sauce on my chicken to thicken it, which is something that used to stress me out. I know what I need to avoid for my health, but I also know that I can’t avoid everything. That right there is important. It is great to be as healthy as you can be, but part of that health is your mental health. There is no perfect in a healthy lifestyle. Life happens, sometimes you are traveling and have to make do with what you have and that is ok. You have to find balance between living a healthy lifestyle, while still living your life.
My 3 Secrets to Finding Balance In Your Health Journey
1. Progress Over Perfection
There is no perfect in a balanced healthy lifestyle. I am a very “all-or-nothing” person, and I have found that that has proven to be a challenge in my health journey. If I forgot to take my supplements in the morning, chances are I won’t take them in the evening. If I ate unhealthy all morning, chances are I would eat unhealthy for the rest of the day. It’s almost like I feel that if I don’t eat perfectly or wake up early enough, the day is ruined for health. This isn’t the case! Transitioning and even maintaining a healthy lifestyle is all about taking small steps each day, that will contribute to your overall health.
One of my favorite quotes is “Some days you eat salads and go to the gym some days you eat cupcakes and refuse to put on pants. It’s called balance.” Not every day is going to be perfect. Some days will be close to perfect. But those “perfect” days that we all strive for are not the key to health. The key is finding a balance between living a healthy lifestyle, while still living your life. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you have to be happy with your lifestyle, or you won’t stay on track. How can you find that balance?
2. Listen to Your Body
In my opinion, listening to your body is the most critical element of living a healthy and balanced life. There is no magic diet, exercise routine, or guide to happiness and peace that works for everybody. For some people they may feel best being vegan, others may feel their best being paleo, others may feel best when they limit their sugar intake. When you can become one with your body, I truly believe that your life will change and your outlook will shift.
If you aren’t at the point where you know what your body reacts to, positively or negatively, try eliminating certain foods and track how you feel. Then reintroduce the foods and track how you feel. Over the years of elimination diets, I have become very in sync with my body. I am still constantly checking in when I eat new foods, try new workouts, or add new actives to my daily routine. To me, listening to my body is just as important, if not more, as what I eat, how I move, and how I find happiness.
3. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
What works for you and where you are in your health journey is extremely personal. No two people are the same. What works for me, may not work for you. Comparing yourself to others can be dangerous. It’s easy to get discouraged thinking that you aren’t eating as well as someone else, aren’t as physically fit as them, or are not emotionally as strong . But you never know what that person you are comparing yourself is truly feeling or where they have come from.
More often than not, people post their best days, most fun activities, and greatest accomplishments on social media. So, what you are seeing on social media is often not a clear or accurate representation of people’s day-to-day lives. The amazing yoga pose that you scroll past within a few seconds, could have taken months or even years to accomplish. I love the quote from Dr. Jade Teta that says, “There’s one actual rule – the only rule in nutrition- and that is: Do what works for you!” If you stick to this, it really doesn’t matter what everyone else is eating, what their workout routine is, or how they find their happiness. All of those answers can be found by listening to your mind and body.