On “owning” that thing called living healthfully

I’ve been meaning to blog about this topic for awhile as part of the barre n9ne challenge — balance in life, but more so, balance in healthy eating as a lifestyle. A permanent thing. Not a fly-by-night fad diet or something that has a definitive start and end date.

Healthy eating is a lifestyle. Bottom line.

This was something that was in full effect for me this past weekend. And I’m proud to say that I stuck to my lifestyle and it felt great. Sure there were lots of cookouts and beach parties and occasions surrounded by food and drink. And eat and drink I did – but I did it my way, healthfully and mindfully.

On Friday, at dinner with friends, I had no problem saying no to the bread basket and the goat cheese appetizer in favor of an extra glass of wine (pinot gris, amazing) and a delicious grilled swordfish over mixed greens and steamed veggies. I was content. I was surrounded by friends, all eagerly talking about our wine country “three-peat” (as my sis likes to say) this fall.

Or, over the weekend, at the beach – I brought with me tons of fresh fruit and popchips (super tasty, I must say) and enjoyed a bit of prosecco with friends. And it was perfect. No need to mindlessly munch. I ate when I was hungry and didn’t eat when I wasn’t. And at the cookouts with family, I chose my battles – and didn’t leave either event in an uncomfortable, stuffed place. I, again, ate when I was hungry, enjoyed the company when I was not.

This is what balance is about. Choosing your battles (I’ll always choose wine over a brownie!). Focusing on food as fuel (as my sister said in her post the other day, which is an awesome read, I must say). And not focusing on healthy living as a moment-in-time activity with a start/end date. Healthy living is a lifestyle. It is forever. And I am fully committed.

A couple of things I’ve learned that I thought was worth passing on to those of you who might be struggling to find that Balance with a capital “B” –

Like I said – focus on making healthy choices, and if that proves to be more difficult in a social setting (where healthy options may be limited), choose your battles as best as you can and then move on. Don’t stress about it. Stress does not equal balance.

Try to focus on food as fuel and less as an “activity” if that makes sense. I have gotten so caught up in this trap at parties and social gatherings where I focused on the food more than the friends and family around me. Which is sad if you think about it. Food should be your fuel, once fueled – walk away and enjoy the event or occasion.

Choose your battles – if the weekend for you means having a glass or two (or three!) of wine. Go for it. Just choose wisely the rest of the day. If you’re like me and sticking to a calorie “number” – planning for the rest of the day is pretty easy (as in, I know how many calories I can have in a day, so once I back out the wine I’d like to have, I know how many calories are left in my “number” to eat throughout the day). This has been huge for me – and not nearly as hard as I thought. I guess having the “number” in my head really helps me keep balance on the weekends, more so than I thought. And this from the girl who notoriously hates numbers!!

Wow, this has turned into quite the post. Apparently, I have lots to say on the topic. And I do – I may do a follow-up post on the types of foods I’ve been enjoying of late that have helped me maintain balance, particularly on the weekend (which was my downfall, previously). I haven’t decided yet…mostly because this isn’t a “food blog” so we’ll see.