I’m sure you’ve heard that word being thrown around a lot lately. But what does it really MEAN?
If we get all technical, balance means “an even distribution of weight to keep someone or something upright and steady”.
Sounds simple enough, right? Sure. But what in the world does that have to do with our fitness journeys?
Many times when people are trying to get “fit”, they put restrictions on their lifestyles---both with diet and physical activity.
Come on, you know you’ve uttered these words (or something like them):
"I can’t eat that. I’m on a diet.”
“I have to hop on the treadmill for two hours today. I am trying to fit into that bikini again.”
What people don’t realize is that when we RESTRICT (or overextend, as with workouts) ourselves, we tend to binge or just quit altogether. When we find balance in our fitness journey, that’s when we stick with it and start to see true RESULTS.
I’m sure if you have been following me for some time, you know that I track my macronutrients through an app (My Fitness Pal). This is to 1) hold me accountable, and 2) ensure that I meet my nutrient intake in order to meet my fitness goals (as well as breastfeeding requirements). It can be a little tedious sometimes—especially with two small kids and a super busy schedule. BUT I do it because I have goals, and goals take dedication to reach!
[Side note: Just because I track what I eat does NOT mean I deprive myself. I eat treats, too—just in moderation. I personally like to follow the 90/10 rule of thumb: 90% “clean” foods and 10% “treats”. If you allow yourself these little cheat snacks/meals, you’ll find that you are less likely to binge or feel deprived.
I also try to stick to my gluten/dairy-free/unprocessed diet, even when treating myself. This isn’t because I’m anal (ok, ok, I am totally Type-A, but still…that’s not what this is about. Haha.), but rather because I just don’t like the way I feel when I indulge in those types of foods. #hellodairybloat]
Alright, now back to what I was saying.
Even though I track my food intake, from time to time, I like to take a little break and just let myself “intuitively eat”. I know, that sounds silly.
Let me explain.
This basically just means that I eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m satisfied (but not “full”), and make sure to keep my meals/snacks balanced (in the way of protein/carbs/healthy fats).
I like to do this when I have a lot going on, am going out of town (where tracking is extra difficult), and/or reached a goal. These breaks don’t last long (think a few days to a week), but they’re sort of refreshing. And they also help us maintain that balance that we need to succeed.
So, how do you know when it’s time to take a break and/or regroup and find your balance?
- If you have hit a plateau in your fitness journey.
- If you feel like your nutrition and workout routine is a “chore” instead of something you do to feel good.
- If you feel mentally stressed/overwhelmed about your food intake (it shouldn’t be hard or stressful to eat…this is when negative relationships with food can arise).
- If you feel physically ill (are more fatigued than usual, have a cold, don’t have the energy to make it through your workouts, etc…this is when overtraining can occur).
- If you’ve recently finished up a program/workout routine and feel as though you deserve it (because if you’ve stuck with it, you sure as heck do deserve it!).
- If you’ve been tracking your macros/calories for a while now and aren’t seeing any results. That may mean that tracking isn’t for you—and that’s ok! It’s all about finding what works for YOU.
Now that I’ve taken a brief hiatus from my tracking, I am back in the game—both mentally and physically. I’ve set new goals for myself, and I have a plan to meet those goals!
I hope this helps some of you who might be struggling lately with finding that “balance” lately. If you have ANY questions, please feel free to email me through the contact tab up at the top.