Living the #BalancedLife
My life before balance
Living a #blancedlife seems to be very on trend lately and I definitely don’t hate it.
I’ve struggled for most of my teen years and early adolescence with disordered eating patterns. I would start a new diet every week and they would completely control my life. My friends and family could never keep up with which diet I was on since I would switch them up any time I would see no physical progress. I would always convince myself and others that my dietary choices were based on scientific research and were proven to be the “healthiest diet” but I was in denial about how deranged my mindset really was around food and health.
I got anxiety any time my friends would plan to go out to eat and I would often cancel last minute. I always needed to control what I was eating for fear that it wouldn't meet my standards. I was also terrified that given the opportunity I would go over the top and binge on "bad" foods. I ended up missing out on a lot of enjoyable moments just because I was scared of gaining weight.
My life consisted of extremes; when I chose a diet I really went all in and spent all day researching it to find validation that it was the perfect diet. I can honestly say I’ve tried pretty much every mainstream diet and it only ended up putting my body into a state of chronic stress. Each time I went on a new diet my body would go into survival mode and start storing my fuel (calories) into fat. I wasn’t feeding my body the fuel it wanted and in turn I was never satisfied. Even if I was physically full, my mind would shut down my rational thinking and I would binge on whatever I could find without being able to stop.
When the body lacks nutrients it will give us warnings such as strong cravings for foods that are high in the particular nutrients that it needs. For example: women tend to crave chocolate when they are PMSing due to the need for magnesium to help relax the uterine muscles from cramping.
When we are focused on superficial goals like weight loss, it is difficult to listen to what our bodies are asking for. Especially when we suppress certain cravings because they don’t fall into the category of “allowed foods”for whatever diet we are following. This is when the uncontrollable binge comes into play and weight loss goals become extremely unattainable.
The 80/20 rule and living a balanced life
So what is the 80/20 rule?
It’s basically a commitment to eat and live consciously 80% of the time, leaving 20% wiggle room for treats, activities and social events that don’t necessarily fit into any extreme version of a healthy lifestyle. For me personally, I love to drink some gin & soda and dance my ass off at a bar once in a while. I like to explore new cafés and restaurants with my friends and eat foods filled with gluten and sugar. I also love to eat pretty much any vegetable and go on long walks in nature. I read self improvement books in my spare time and do yoga while listening to indie music.This is MY version of a balanced life.
If you aren't enjoying your life because your diet and lifestyle is too strict, I want to challenge you to be more lenient with your choices and fit in more time for foods and activities that you love. You might even find that you reach your goals quicker because a balanced life is more sustainable for the long run. You may be surprised as to how much fun you are able to have while still making healthful, conscious choices MOST of the time and still allowing yourself to enjoy life without guilt.
There are no rules as to how you should spend the 80% or the 20%. It’s your life, your hobbies, your cravings. You do not need to justify your actions or dietary choices to anyone. Enjoy your food, enjoy your life, do things that make your body and your soul feel fulfilled.