It's your fourth session this week at the gym. You’ve stayed on track with your low carb diet and you are three exercises into your weekly training session with your trainer. You are going through the motions but all you can think about is the donut shop across the street. It occurs to you that you’d rather be literally anywhere else than the gym on this Thursday night listening to your trainer go on and on about their newest juice cleanse.
Wherever you may be on your fitness journey there may have been or will be a point that you stop and ask yourself what you are doing. And more importantly who you are doing this for. Much like to seemingly pointless exercises on a bosu ball, life is all about balance.
I often struggle with the process of a balanced healthy lifestyle. There have been times that I have chosen a session at the gym over seeing friends. I’ve eaten before meeting friends so that I can avoid the high calorie content in most restaurant foods. And my internet search history is flooded with phrases like: “how to tell if I’m retaining water” or “why am I not seeing results?”
You name it, we’ve all struggled with it. But even though figuring out the world of health and fitness is such a common thing, we tend to isolate ourselves. For fear of embarrassment, or worse..failure.
How many times have we slaved away at a diet only to regain the weight or still feel exactly the same about our body image. Not only is it confusing but we contemplate if it’s time to throw in the towel? Diets, meal plans and strict fitness regimens all assume that we are in a clear mind set and in complete control of our actions at all times. When in reality more often than not our emotions get the better of us. We stop at the donut shop on the way home from the gym or eat the pizza a friend orders for Sunday game day. We promised ourself that this time would be successful so It feels like a bitter failure when we mess up.
It’s important to take a step back and pause. Ask yourself what is motivating this change, you are more likely to follow through on a goal if there is a substantial motivation behind it, not just superficial. What would happen if we took the focus off of the food for a second and instead of constantly questioning what we are eating take time to ask why we are eating it. Are you eating that food because it tastes good and you want to enjoy it or are you bored in front of the TV and just want something to munch on. Are you anxious waiting for an important phone call so you absentmindedly eat an entire sleeve of oreos. These absent minded choices lead to guilt and nothing triggers emotional eating like guilt, so the cycle continues.
The next time you feel like eating something you wouldn’t normally eat, try to pause. Even if you can pause for one minute before grabbing that tub of icecream to ask yourself why, even if you still decide to reach for the spoon you might have a better understanding of why. And this could potentially prevent an action in the future.
In order to achieve balance we must first recognize our actions and the reasons behind them. Pause. Listen to your body. Then act. Making the conscious choice to go out with friends after work and maybe eating something that you wouldn't normally eat is perfectly healthy. But be aware of it, and enjoy it.
Sitting there the entire time beating yourself up about calorie content is not only bad for your emotional health but will further strain your relationship with food as well as how you feel about yourself.
Allow yourself times of adjustment. Life gets busy and our diet or exercise routine isn’t always going to be on point, remind yourself that this is temporary and part of the process. If we can not take time off and maintain a positive relationship with our body and health then what is the point? Your hard work will pay off, but the key to balance is trusting the process and enjoying every little part of life you can along the way.
Written By: Maria Ostafew
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