B is for Balance.
Being successful in weight loss and maintenance means being balanced in all ways.
Sometimes I feel like I’m walking a tightrope in terms of maintenance. While going Scale-free this past summer taught me that what I was doing worked, I still sometimes feel like if I slip up I will start to gain the weight back. It feels like I’m balancing on a tightrope; if I make one small misstep (like skipping workouts or eating bad foods) it will be a big fall.
“Food is an important part of a balanced diet.” – Fran Lebowitz
What I’ve learned about balance falls into my 90/10 Rule for maintenance. To me it means that making the right choices 90% of the time makes it possible for me to enjoy splurges 10% of the time. That can be broken down in anyway I want. I could work hard making good food choices and then splurge on a fancy meal at a nice restaurant, or it means I can have a treat a few times a week (chocolate is a good choice).
Balance also means living an active life that is balanced. This means REST DAYS. Working out every single day for hours is not healthy for anyone. The body needs rest days to heal, repair, recover from the activities we do. I take 2 rest days a week. Once in awhile I’ll skip one rest day but it’s not very often.
Balance in fitness also means doing a variety of activities. When I first got the Running Bug I wanted to run all the time. The more I ran, the more I loved the runner’s high. I chased it, I craved it. I ran for fitness, I ran to challenge myself, I ran to train for races. I neglected most other activities except for swimming. I hated weight lifting, I grew impatient with yoga. I swam and I ran. It took a running injury to remind me that being an athletic, fit person means living a life in balance. That means not overusing my body with one activity. That means doing a variety of activities. That means lifting weights to balance out my body.
Speaking of weight lifting…when I first started I didn’t really have a plan or goal in mind. I just needed an activity to keep me active while I couldn’t run. I started to see changes in my body immediately and grew to love it. During one weight lifting session with my dad over the holidays he gave me a valuable piece of advice: Balance whatever you lift. He explained that if I work my chest, I should work my back. If I work on my biceps, I need to do my triceps. Neglecting any part of the body can cause imbalance and that leads to INJURY.
Imbalance is easy for me to spot in myself…
Imbalance in my fitness activities usually lead to injuries, soreness, pain I can’t explain. Sometimes all it takes is a few extra Rest Days or I hit a yoga class.
Imbalance in my eating is obvious too. My pants feel tighter. My skin breaks out. I feel gross (a good example is when I fall back into the habit of drinking diet sodas…this makes me feel gross).
Imbalance in my mind shows me that I need to rest because I get irritable, or I dread going to the gym. That means I haven’t taken a much needed break lately, or I’ve been going-going-going with no down time. An easy fix? Movie night. Girl’s night. Sleeping in and being lazy!
How I Stay Balanced
I count my calories. I drink water. I drink wine on occasion. I eat my veggies every single day. I eat treats when I want them. I workout. I rest. I prioritize things in my life–health, relationships, family, sleep, pets. All the rest of the “crap” out there doesn’t really matter. Prioritize.
QUESTION: Are you living a balanced life? Or do you feel like some parts of it are imbalanced?
A-Abstinence * B-Balance *
About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.