Balance, Learning to Bring it to Life

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Balance. Such a simple word, yet a word with so much meaning behind it. What is it to have balance? To live life not in extremes, but in steadiness. Why do some of us struggle to live a balanced life? We all have areas in our life where we find maintaining an equilibrium is hard. For some of us it is with work, where we find ourselves always connected. It is Saturday morning, the first day off from a long work week. You tell yourself you are going to log into work just for a minute to check e-mail really quick, 2 hours later you are still at it. For other’s it may be spending money. The newest tech gadget has launched. You did just buy something similar 6 months ago, but you want the latest and greatest.  Even though you may not have the  money to buy it, you somehow find a way to justify the purchase. For some it is balancing a healthy life with exercise and eating. You find when you are committed to a diet you are on track. You workout everyday, eat right, you have control. Then you miss a day, then another, next thing you know it has been weeks and you are eating everything you want, regardless of your original goal.

Why is balance so hard to not only have but to maintain? Over the last year I have been trying to learn how to balance my healthy lifestyle more. For those of you who know me well it is no surprise to know I have been extreme over the last few years with health and fitness. Actually let’s be more accurate with that statement, obsessed. It was all encompassing in my mind, body, and soul.

From the moment I woke up in the morning it was all about my workout, which was always pre-scheduled the night/week before. There was no deviation from the plan. If this meant getting up at 5:00am on a Saturday morning in order to fit it in, then that is what would happen. I could not miss a day of working out. If I could not workout first thing in the morning then it would be all I would think about during the day. When was I going to get it in? I would not be able to enjoy time with friends or loved ones. I was only thinking about my workout. I needed it, had to get it over with. In  my mind a missed day meant my body would drastically change, fall apart.

After my workout, came food. I fixated on calories, a tool I could not have done my weight loss without, but was it really needed with maintenance? Time spent with friends at restaurants lead me down a dark path of stress. What would I eat? I would not know how foods were prepared and thus the calorie intake. This then lead to me over exercising during the day to be able to preemptively  counteract any food sabotage. A 5 mile run followed by an hour spinning class might just be enough to allow me to enjoy a night out.

Next all of my freetime was spent reading books on food, diet, and nutrition. What were the new diets out there I could try? Maybe I needed to be gluten free or paleo. If I ate a certain way would I feel even better? What knowledge could I gain from others? Learning every last detail I could made me feel empowered, in control.

Now is the part in the story where I am suppossed to come and say through lot’s of hard work I have now found the balance. I no longer obsess about food, working out, and health. I go out to eat with friends and never once worry about the calories because I am listening to my body. I wake up on Saturday morning and decide to skip the gym to spend time with my boyfriend instead. I have found the secret to live a life perfectly balanced.

Well sorry folks, I am still working on it. Like most, finding balance is hard. For me I honestly did not attempt to find balance until I got a wake up call over a year ago on how my intensity was hurting my relationships with the ones I loved. I have also hit a point where my body is tired and it just can’t do what I forced it to do for so many years. Through this I can say I have become way more balanced. I still workout everyday, a schedule pre-planned the week before. I have learned to except there will be days where a long hike or just a barre class is good enough. Although I do have to fight the demons in my head pushing me to work my body more. I still constantly think about the food I eat, but again try to remind myself a glass of wine and a cheese plate with a friend will bring me more pleasure then roasted vegetables at home in my sweat pants. Why work so hard on a body if you are not able to enjoy it? Some days I listen to my own advice, other days I dont.

I love working out and eating healthy. It is now part of my DNA. It brings me joy, self esteem, self love, energy, and overall happiness. However so does being social, resting, relaxation, food, and alcohol. In order to truly be the person I want to be it is continuing to learn how to balance between the two. So for anyone else out there who is struggling with balance, you are not alone. All I can say is keep working on finding that perfect point right in between. Changing behavior and routine is hard, even scary. But just getting a glimpse on how a balanced life can be is all the encouragement I need to keep going.

 

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Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 10/22/15

Crossing the Finish Line 25 Pounds Lighter– I love reading personal stories about health and fitness. The struggles people go through, how they overcome them. There is something so comforting about knowing you are not alone out there. To hear others face similar struggles as yourself just makes you feel connected. This story is just that, a personal struggle with re-finding the inner athlete.

Neurogastronomy 101: The Science of Taste Perception-I loved this article, very fascinating. “This new science, called neurogastronomy, merges the science and culinary worlds by studying the human brain and the behavior that influences how we experience eating and drinking. Essentially, neurogastronomy shakes up how we look at food and taste: Instead of investigating how researchers can alter the taste of food by re-engineering what we eat, this science concentrates on how we can re-wire the brain to perceive food differently.”

How Agriculture Controls Nutrition Guidelines– “For the first time ever, the expert panel had included in its recommendations some mention of sustainability, acknowledging that questions about human nutrition cannot be divorced from the logistics of how this nutrition is procured. It is impossible to keep politics out of nutrition, as long as nutrition is still received via food, and food is still a good that is produced and consumed.”

McDonald’s just committed to 100% cage-free eggs– I came across this article last month and thought it would be a great one to post. Alas life has been a bit busy and because of that I have not posted as many articles as I would like. However I thought this article was still relevant and worthwhile to read. I am a big advocate on big companies making changes.”The super-sized chain announced that it would fully transition its Canadian and American egg supply to cage-free eggs over the next 10 years. The chain attributed the change to consumer preferences.'”

 

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Dailey Fest- A Morning doing Barre in the Sun

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I first started incorporating barre into my fitness routine about 2 years ago after having a lower back stress fracture. Up until then running and body pump had been my two main workouts. Over the years as I started to continue to increase my intensity with these two workouts my body could no longer take all of the excessive pounding and forced a break on me, literally. At the time it was one of the scariest places I had ever been mentally. How would I survive 6 months without running? What if I gained weight? How could I tell people I was a runner if I was not actually running? Like anything in life you learn to survive with what you can control. For me that was finding new ways to keep active without pounding on my body. It was with this break I found my obsession, barre classes.

The first studio I went to in the city was the Dailey Method in the Mission-Castro district. For me it was love at first site. The class was hard, while also being fun. The music was current and up beat,  the teachers were helpful while still providing adjustments. It was a great workout, but one I always looked forward to. I found I never dreaded it like I would some days with running or spinning. I was always excited to go, the more classes in a week the better. For the last couple of years barre has become a huge part of my everyday life. So when I received an e-mail with a barre event in the city I knew I had to attend!

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Last Saturday in celebration of the Dailey Method’s 15 year anniversary Jill Dailey the founder had a barre celebration in the Presido Park. There were several fitness and health vendors there along with various teachers from all of the Dailey Method studios across the bay area. The morning started with Jill Dailey leading a 60 minute mixed class at 10:00 am. I was wondering how the class was going to be structured considering usually a good chunk of the class is done with the barre and several different props. I was impressed with how creative Jill was with the class. For instance when it came to barre work barre work everyone had to team up with their neighbor for stability and use them in place of a barre.

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After the first class was complete there was a 15 minute break before the 45 minute interval class started. The interval class was lead by 5 of the different studio owners taking turns on the microphone. What I liked about the interval class is it was fast paced and really got your heart rate going. This is something I find hard to achieve in barre classes. So when it does, I know it was a good one. I am not going to lie, but the end of the almost 2 hours of barre I was a sweaty mess! All in all it was an amazing morning. I loved being outside in the sun practicing something I love with others, feeling like part of a community.  I had hoped to bring a friend to join me in the festivities, but alas my fellow fitness pals were all busy. I deiced I wanted to go to bad to let going alone stop me. Sometimes it is good to push ourselves, to not let obstacles get in our way, and if you want to do something go do it. I had no regrets on my morning date with myself and the other 100+ barre fanatics in the city.