how do you balance your life?  is it even something you think about?

it's something i think about.  actually, it's something i obsess about and lately it has consumed me.  mostly in regard to healthy living and that's only because i feel well balanced otherwise, honestly.  

what first sparked this was when i realized recently that, despite all of my intentions, efforts and focus, i have lost ground when it comes to sticking to the very principals that i preach.  i've gained weight.  not a lot, just enough to make me feel lousy.  enough to make me wonder if this could be the reason my back keeps giving me trouble.  enough that my clothes are tight and, i'm uncomfortable.  enough that i'm really grumpy about it.

this is tough to admit but necessary because i think my struggle to obtain and maintain my ideal body weight is something that other people can relate to.  when other people relate, they'll be more open for discussion and more apt to offer support.  i need your support.

last week there was a bloggers conference held in philadelphia called the healthy living summit.  many of the bloggers that i follow (read) attended this conference and so there has been a lot of re-cap type posting from these individuals.  truthfully, i find it all to to be rather boring and drab but one blogger over at the delicate place wrote yesterday about her opinions of the conference and what she said really struck me:

"you cannot magically un-do your healthy lifestyle in a span of three days."

she was referring to the obvious OCD she witnessed from fellow bloggers over food and exercise while they were there. 

obviously i wasn't there and i don't know any of these bloggers on a personal level but i'm not surprised that these kinds of behaviors/conversations transpired.  the kind of people who attend a "healthy living summit" are typically the kind of people who are interested in (obsessive over) health/wellness/fitness/etc.   it's what they do.  it's who they are.  but one commenter said something that stood out to me which was, "... life is much richer than just that topic [diet/exercise/health/fitness]."  

and i agree.  even with my tenancy to be obsessive and my obviously impressionable personality, i do believe that balance is imperative.  there is so much more than just diet and exercise but, i really struggle to find it (the balance) and maintain it.  

what is really important? i think "happiness" is the answer to that question and what makes one person happy is not the same as what makes another person happy.  knowing this is the only reason i bite my lip every time i want to spout off health advice/statistics/information to folks around me who may or may not want to hear it.  . someone said to me fairly recently, "not everyone cares like you do" which made me question if i care too much?  am i unbalanced?  

yes.  based on one fact alone and that is how my entire demeanor/mood/outlook changed horribly when i stepped on the scale the other day and then took the time to look back at my previous numbers from last year.  like that number is the only thing in the world that can make me happy.  like it's the one thing that determines my worth.  it's not healthy and i am, therefore, unbalanced by even allowing the thoughts into my mind.  

what i know to be true is that i originally lost weight for pure vanity.  i am vain.  however, at some point i realized that maintenance would not be possible if i wasn't in it for the long haul and for the right reasons.  i began to devour information about the food industry and subscribed to many fitness magazines. then i got confident and really felt like i had a handle on it.  this was our life and i could balance this way of living.  it's what i want, to raise a healthy family.  i thought that my desire to make our health a top priority would be enough to keep my weight in check.  the fact that i exercise and enjoy it.  that by eating balanced, wholesome meals i wouldn't have to be as conscious about the numbers (calories, macronutrients, etc).  then i stopped weighing myself thinking i didn't need the scale.

i was wrong.

even with all that i do, all that i care about, "too much food" is still too much.  the proof is in the pudding. balance is important.  figuring out how to live a full life by accomplishing all that is important to me is tricky.  what i strive attain i need to be able to maintain.  i cannot be told that i'm put too much importance on these things because these things truly are important to me.  (along with a slew of other things -- i don't have complete tunnel vision).  

so my goal right now is to strive for balance while i work on incorporating certain activities that will help me to get back to my goal weight.  these activities include obvious things like eating even more mindfully and continuing to exercise my body ~ things i do already, sort of. but now, i will be doing so with even more diligence and taking care to make better choices by being mindful of the consequences.  i have no interest in being skin and bones and i have no interest in being overweight.  i'm interested in being healthy.

because it's important to me.  when i'm doing what is important to me, i'm happy and "if momma ain't happy ain't nobody happy." (thanks deb!).  when i'm happy, my family gets the best version of me.  i am less distracted and more present for them which is what they deserve.  


Candice said...

I needed this. I have been feeling the exact same way and like I was only person I knew obsessing over my weight and feeling good. It just gets harder and harder every year. I look back and think - "this used to be so easy" I just love food so much!

Thanks for the post.

Mrs. JM said...

well, you're welcome. though i didn't really come to any helpful conclusions. just a matter of "it is what it is." i can make it what i want it to be if i'm willing to do the work. it would be nice if it were easier but hey, it's not.

can we run again soon or are you still vacationing?

Scottkids said...

I obnoxiously want to say... Candice, hurry up and have kids before it gets even harder! That's all about that!;}

And to you Em, I feel frustrated for you, because I really feel how you are feeling when I read your words! I know what you want to be "able" to do, and it sucks that we can't eat whatever we want whenever we want!

One thing I love about pregnancy, is that I don't obsess over everything I eat, and count calories like crazy! Now that I'm not prego, everything I put into my mouth I am adding those calories up. It's fine, but its nice not to have to do that!

I am a little different than you though. I think life would be so dull if you can't enjoy things, but I totally agree that happiness is whats most important. AND DAMNIT, I want you to be happy!

I hope you come see me again soon! I love our talks.

I really have no idea what I just rambled on about..considering its 1am, but I did understand all you said!! Balance is key! Love ya!

Chris said...

Asking what is "too much food" is, in my opinion, the wrong question. You know me and what I think - that it's sugar [even fruit sugar] and starch that lead to storing body fat, and that how much fat you store depends a lot on your genetic make-up.

And anyway, I think you're beautiful just as you are.

Amanda said...

Put up some before and after photos and let us be the judge! "Before" would right after your marathon and "after" would be now. I'll bet none of us would see the difference. But I'll bet you feel a HUGE difference because you've settled into this fit healthy body of yours. You are no longer swimming upstream, getting it healthy and strong. You are there and there's not a whole lot more that can or needs to be done with it. You've arrived. You're maintaining it. Not having the "Body Overhaul Project" going on can make a person feel complacent. Especially an driven person. It doesn't mean you ARE complacent, but you FEEL complacent because you're coasting along maintaining that bod rather than overhauling it, I think physically you are in a very balanced place and you just need to get to a point where you are comfortable with the middle ground ... which is a person who has a body that is healthy, strong and the envy of every lady you meet. I'm sorry you don't feel optimal, but you look it :)

Mrs. JM said...

@ melissa: enjoying the pleasuring taste of certain foods is my problem! lol. i do enjoy it but then i DON'T enjoy the way my body reacts to these foods. balance is what i strive for. it's hard.

@chris: i fear that my body stores sugar as fat. but, i don't doubt it. again, how much fat am i willing to take on and how much sugar will that allow me? lol.

@amanda: i sent you my before and after so you can say, "yeah, you're right. fatty." (but don't say that, m'kay?). you're totally right, maintenance is a drag. i feel so much more alive when i'm working toward something more rewarding. maintenance is a huge accomplishment and should be rewarding enough. le sigh.

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