Practicing Balance

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Apologies for this post being a day late, I’ve been camping with my mum, sister, boyfriend and my family’s two gorgeous little springers and I was far too tired to write anything last night.

We had a wonderful couple of days walking, sitting on the beach, and BBQing with beers.

When you’re trying to be healthy and make good food choices, it can be difficult to know when to say yes and when to say no. When I’m given the opportunity to indulge, there is a part of me that doesn’t want to ruin my progress but there is always the other part which is saying don’t be ‘that’ person who forfeits enjoying their life. You can’t give in to every impulse but it is totally okay to let loose sometimes. This is something I still struggle with; if I’m feeling anxious about how I look/feel I will sometimes practice restriction and I’ll say no to treats. It is a bit dumb because let’s be honest, one meal will not derail everything I’ve done in the last few months, but mentally I still struggle to understand balance. We spend our whole lives being told that the quickest and surest ways to lose that extra weight are really restrictive diets, juicing cleanses and fasting. We start to see our bodies as drastically convertible, and we believe that our weight and fitness can yo-yo practically overnight. This is so far from the truth.

You will not lost a stone in a week if you starve yourself.

You will also not gain a stone because you overindulged at dinner.

Last Week

After last week’s fiasco with my swollen mosquito bites that escalated into a blister on my ankle, I barely trained all week. I couldn’t wear trainers because my ankle was refusing to heal, I was finding it painful to move my ankle anyway, and I was trying to keep carpet fluff out of the wound (anyone who exercises from home will understand the struggle of being a human lint roller when you sweat and lay on the floor. Ew.) It was also starting to affect my mood and I was feeling pretty deflated. As soon as my ankle started to heal, we were off camping. I knew I probably wouldn’t get a chance to train, but there would be lots of walking so that would be fine. However, I knew I wouldn’t be eating like a normally would at home. Not only had I completely fallen off the wagon with my training, my nutrition has been bad too.

This Week

Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, but these weeks are starting to snowball and I’m off to Bestival this week. While I’m super excited for the weekend, I’m aware of the fact that I’ll be drinking a lot and for the ‘fancy dress’ day I’m wearing lycra. Old Charlee would have been obsessing about her weight by now and thinking about how to get lean in about 5 minutes. She would have been very restrictive with her diet leading up to the festival, and stressing about it for absolutely no reason. While I can’t say I’m completely free of those anxieties, I understand that worrying about it does nothing and I’m the only one that gives a shit about my body. If I’ve gained a couple of pounds from this week, so what? Even if people physically had the capability to recognise such tiny fluctuations in weight, I don’t think I’ve ever cared what friends looked like and vice versa. Of course it feels amazing to look and feel better in your own skin, but there are more important things in life. 90% of the time I am healthy and active, and if I spend a few days eating crisps, biscuits and veggie burgers I will not die. Today is a brand new day and I can get back to normal with some veggies and a workout. Simple.

Understanding ‘Vices’

We probably all worry about ‘treats’ escalating into binges or complete abandonment of healthy eating. If you let yourself indulge, you have to do it guilt-free otherwise it can trigger some awful behaviour. One thing I’ve learnt about keeping on track is understanding my vices. There are some foods that even now can trigger binge eating, and I’ve learnt to just never have them in the house. I binge on the most bizarre food; I am awful around plain cereal, particularly corn flakes and rice krispies. I can’t just eat one bowl, if a full box is sat there, I’ll eat about five bowls until I feel sick. Probably not the worst food to binge on, but it’s certainly not healthy and it makes me feel like crap. As I’m unable to eat rice krispies in moderation, I just don’t buy them. I have no problem eating some chips or chocolate because I know that I will eat a normal amount. Learning what foods you eat for enjoyment and which you eat for binging is really important when practicing balance.

Alcohol

I also don’t drink alcohol much anymore. Not only is the alcohol itself full of sugar, I’d always get takeout on the way home. The next day would almost be just as bad because I’d feel awful and feed the hangover with excessive amounts of greasy carbs. It seemed counterintuitive to spend all week eating healthy and working out, and then at the weekend lay around feeling sorry for myself and treating my body like a rubbish bin. I wasn’t making any progress because I was in a constant state of restriction and binging. There have been times where I’ve taken it too far; I’ve refused to drink at social events because I would feel anxious about the repercussions of a hangover. One evening was not going to make me gain half a stone, but I didn’t understand that. I have started to learn ‘balance’ and I’ll drink when I want to, rather than depending on whether I’m feeling bloated that day. I don’t drink much because it just doesn’t give me the same enjoyment, I may be accused of being ‘boring’ but I’m far happier now compared to when I’d spend multiple times a week in pubs and clubs. I’ve been drinking while camping because it’s fun to have a beer down the pub and with a BBQ, and I know that I’ll drink loads when I’m at Bestival. I now do these things guilt-free because I’m doing it out of genuine enjoyment, and I know these events aren’t part of my normal weekly routine. Some people can fit alcohol into their fitness goals, but personally I’m not able to do so. I’ll have my fun, and then return to smashing goals when I get back!

All of this information is completely anecdotal, and everyone’s vices will be different. I very much doubt any of you excessively eat corn flakes! Just take the time to understand your habits, and if you know things are damaging your goals just cut them out. Don’t restrict yourself on everything, there is a place for treats in every diet. You will not lose weight in an instant if you starve yourself, and your diet isn’t ruined because you ate that garlic bread. Being healthy is a gradual journey, and your body isn’t that volatile to react to every little change.

This post has been less about tips and tricks, but more about appreciating your life. So if you have holidays or events, don’t beat yourself up because you went a bit off track. Life is to be enjoyed, and none of this will be worth it if you are not happy. Just appreciate the moment, try and avoid things that trigger damaging behaviour, and keep your goals in the forefront of your mind. Tomorrow is always a brand new day.

Charlee x

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