January was a big month for me. It was the month that I
learned how to … no, that I realized I needed to … that’s not quite right either… In January, I learned a lot about myself. And realized that I still have a lot to learn. I wrote a bit about those struggles here. Then, I took two weeks and gave myself a break–first from workouts, then from other obligations. In that timeframe, I also read Carla’s book (a conglomeration of her blog posts), entitled: How to Build Muscle and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind. I took the time to consider what changes I really needed to make, what changed I really wanted to make, what would be healthy, what would be un-healthy, what would make me happy, what was reasonable, and what was sustainable. Here are some of the things I found out about myself:
- I decided that cutting out all processed foods was not reasonable for my lifestyle. It would not make me happy, it was probably not necessary, and it was definitely not sustainable. Instead, I made a few key swaps. For example, I switched from Sara Lee 45 calorie (super-processed) bread to Trader Joe’s California Style Complete Protein Bread. (It’s made with sprouted wheatberries, corn, oats, and whole grains that keep me full way longer than diet bread ever did.) I bought some Raw Unsalted Almond Butter (Ingredients? Raw almonds. That’s it.), and fell in love with it–as a topping for Greek yogurt, on a pita with fruit, with an apple… or sometimes just with a spoon out of the jar.
- I began eating smaller meals more frequently. Instead of an egg white scramble with an apple and an English muffin for breakfast, then having a snack before lunch, I began eating just the egg white scramble. Then, as a mid-morning snack, I might have some Greek yogurt and fruit. Splitting up these calories throughout the morning keeps me full for longer, and gives me the option to have more protein throughout the day.
- I began workout out less frequently. What?! Yes, it’s true. Two-a-days five times a week are not actually as effective as one may think. There’s no reason to create a 1,500 calorie deficit on a daily basis. Now, this doesn’t mean I won’t hit up the elliptical on the same day I teach a Kosama class, or take a Yoga class the same day I do a run. But I refuse to let myself feel guilty anymore when I decide to watch TV one evening instead of fitting in a second workout.
- I embraced the at-home workout. Since I wake up at 4:10am on the mornings I teach at Kosama, going to the gym for personal workouts on other mornings has been sounding much less appealing. I’ve started exploring the idea of at-home workouts. So far, I’ve invested in a pair of 10-lb. dumbbells and have been enjoying some Jillian Michaels’ DVDs for some post-run strength training.
All of these changes symbolize my quest for balance. Somebody once said that a healthy lifestyle is a journey, not a destination. Someone else said healthy people commit to health not once, not twice, but with every decision they make. So, while I won’t claim to have achieved perfect balance in my life, I feel as though I’ve progressed miles down the road this month. Or, at least found the right highway.
How do you find balance in your life?