Trying to eat healthier can be such a daunting task. For me, I used to find that at times when I successfully prepared and ate healthier meals at home, I craved sweets and junk when I was out more than ever. All my strategic planning and resourcefulness got tossed to the side as I internally justified my giving-in to these cravings. Cue life’s eternal struggle for achieving balance.
It’s when we think of things as extremities that we get so caught up in figuring out which end of the spectrum we’re supposed to land on. I try to justify my decisions by compromising: I can eat this plate of nachos if I skip breakfast. I can have this ice cream because I just had a big bowl of broccoli. That type of thought process causes nothing but self-induced stress, guilt, and, most likely, some unwanted added poundage. So instead of always thinking in polarities, I’m working to restructure the way I frame my thoughts. Rather than seeing things in life as two ends of a spectrum, and constantly being torn back and forth between the two polar ends of it, I’m trying to land somewhere in the middle and bask in the joyfulness that comes with such balance.
This mentality applies to many other aspects of life also. But is balance a good thing? Or is that simply settling for less? Is it unambitious of me to say that it’s okay to not strive for the absolute highest version of your goal because it’s more realistically achievable if you aim for middle ground?
Maybe so, but I’ve found, at least lately, that it makes more sense for me to meet myself in the middle. Rather than striving to be a 100% healthy eater, I let myself indulge occasionally. My rule as of late has been eating healthy all week long and preparing all that food at home, then on the weekends I can eat whatever/go wherever I want. At first, I was living it up with brunches and nachos and pizza (…I know), but by the time Monday rolled around, I found that I was actually craving a salad. My body just naturally wanted to eat healthier once it had been exposed to both types of food. Now, I still let myself eat whatever I want Friday-Sunday (okay, sometimes Thursday night-Sunday), but I find that I just don’t want to eat as much junk anymore. I’ve become more likely to choose a healthy option because it simply makes me feel better physically.
By allowing myself that room to breathe and shutting up those voices in my head that tell me to feel bad for eating a treat every once in a while, I was able to find balance, and with that balance comes the ability to naturally choose the better option. By letting myself live in that middle space, I was able to, almost unconsciously, gravitate toward the end of the spectrum that made more sense for me. And as with most problems in life, I think if we only quieted those voices telling us you can’t do this, you shouldn’t do that, you’ve got to exceed in this, and instead focused on finding balance in the chaos of whatever we’re going through, things would work out much better in the end.
Is there any truth in this? What things do you struggle to find balance in? I’d love to keep the conversation going, so let me know!
Either way, I can say for a fact that treating yourself to chocolate-covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day is always a good decision. Balanced or not. :)