Monday, August 9, 2010

Balance. Not a four letter word?

1,2,3,4,5,6,7. Nope, it's not.

However it often feels like it. Both when you are trying to get it and then trying to maintain it. Oh and let's not forget when others are jealous of you having it.

I have not quite yet reached the last stage but I sense that it is fast approaching (or at least I hope so, more in terms of just me having balance than people hating me for it).

This topic is brought to you by the letter F which stands for Food. (Although considering what I've written so far could be used in many other ways. Such a versatile letter, especially when put in 4 letter words :)

It's interesting that I have just recently been successful (or at least closer than I've ever been) at trying to balance my work, family, and social lives. Of course I am at the infancy stage in learning this technique and perhaps could be considered only barely able to walk. I know that I will still fall down once in a while and bump my head and probably scrape my knees but at least I have finally pulled myself up onto my feet. It's one step past crawling, so I'll take it.

As most of you know I started the journey of balance in regards to my body several months ago. I suppose I could say I've been working on this for years but really I was doing the equivalent of crawling on a hamster wheel. Not going very fast, only in circles and I definitely hadn't yet pulled myself up yet.

I started really working on things nearly 6 months ago when I signed up at the gym with a personal trainer. Initially I had images that I'd lose a few pounds in the 12 weeks committed to see him and then I'd be on my merry way. I had no crazy ideas that I'd become a swim suit model or gain some super muscular physique or anything. I really just wanted to be at a healthy weight and learn how to use the gym.

After my first 12 weeks were up I still wasn't happy. I was beginning to see that there was so much more to my struggle than I ever knew before (or at least than I was willing to admit).

I really just wanted to show up, do the work with Dee and go home. I didn't have any desire to completely change my eating for life, or give up my binging. I just wanted to lose the weight from the past few years and then try and keep it off. Little did I know or want to accept the fact that part of keeping off my departed weight would require me in fact change my whole life.

Once I got into my final 3 months with Dee I got a little more serious about learning about food. I researched, read and learned more than I ever knew about putting good things in my body. Once I was empowered by knowledge making good choices seemed pretty easy. Well .... until I started experimenting.

In my studies I learned healthy ways to lose the last 5-10 pounds. I thought 'Hey! That's where I'm at, I should give it a try!' I'm not sure why I thought this was necessary as I was doing great making 'Clean Eating' my lifestyle. It honestly wasn't all that difficult and I had adjusted very well. However I'd stopped losing weight for, well, a week.

I guess what frustrated me was the fact that I was holding onto my last ten pounds like my life depended on it. This was very frustrating. Rather than take a look at my new 'clean' diet and deciding to tweak here or there I skipped that idea altogether and went straight for the extreme (yet still healthy) food plan. I knew it wasn't dangerous or anything it was just very unappetizing and really needed dedication. I was able to stick to 3 of the 7 days - my goal was to get through 5 days. I would have been overjoyed even with my 3 days if it weren't for the fact that by the end I was in 'give up mode'.

I had not experienced 'give up mode' at all during my 4 weeks of 'clean' eating, not once. Probably because during those four weeks my goal was simple: 6 meals a day, all clean, no extremes. It worked. I loved everything I was eating, there was tons of variety and I felt no guilt over anything I put into my body. It was great.

After 3 days of less than appealing food, monotony, and more water than one wants to put in or out of their body in a day I was done. I had forgotten that 'clean' eating wasn't an extreme and I was ready to leave it all behind for Doritos and cupcakes.

So during the next few days while at social engagements I enjoyed the coincidentally available treats as often as I could. (Hmmmmmm ... no coincidence that I took cheesy salsa chips and dip, along with cutely decorated cupcakes to our family picnic on the weekend).

Last night Wally and I decided to be responsible and make 'clean' cookies that did not end well when the cookies stuck to my baking stones. Our stove top appeared to be host to a serious cookie massacre by the end of the evening. We collected all of the crumbs together and I 'tested' them through the evening. By the end of it I knew I'd probably eaten at least half the batch and I felt horrible - in every way. It was the feeling I had after a binge in the olden days. I hadn't felt that way in months and it was heart crushing. As if the 'cheating' during our social times wasn't enough I had to abuse my alternative too.

I woke up still depressed with myself and had Wally saying to me over and over 'Turn your frustration into motivation!' I was really to turn my frustration into something. And it wasn't motivation.

As I puttered about this morning, trying hard to avoid going to the gym to practice working out on my own I began to think of the newly acquired balance in my work life. Then I thought of how I tried an extreme method to lose my last 10 last week. I realized I am still getting used to my new eating lifestyle and I had lost my general focus completely. I wanted the end result now (as usual). I don't want to have to work out for the rest of my life to get to where I want to be, I just want to do it for a little while in hopes that I can get there quicker and enjoy it faster.

But life's not like that, with anything. Both with work or with food, it's easy to think 'Oh if I work overtime for the next 6 months I can save up for that house faster' or 'If I try this strict diet I'll be where I want to be so much faster and then I can have what I want again'. Instead we forget about all of the other things in our lives that we need to give up to get there. Some of them are good sacrifices, things that we can do without, trimming the fat so to speak, but some of them are necessary 'fats', things we need to be and stay healthy.

I am beginning to see that fast anything isn't healthy, extreme anything isn't healthy. BALANCE is healthy.

Right now I need to step back once again and reassess my physical goals and see where balance is lacking. I need to refresh my mind and simplify things because I know all of the answers are indeed right in front of me. I've been struggling a lot lately knowing that I have only 6 more sessions with Dee and that after wards I'll be all alone. This scares me ... a lot.

However this time I must remind myself that I am equipped with knowledge. I know what to do, there are no secrets, I just need to do it.

Dee pulled me up initially, but in the mean time he taught me how to walk. Though I was very shaky at first, I fell a lot, I got bumped and bruised (figuratively and literally) this doesn't take away from the fact that I now can walk. I just need to remember to use my balance.

Hmmmmmm .... 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. Wow, it seems like a four letter word.

Maybe one of these days it will make sense.