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.
High-five! You kicked ass this weekend, and should be proud!
I completely agree on picking your battles. I’m a dessert gal, so instead of having an actual dessert I’ve been opting for a class of “dessert” wine (Riesling, Cupcake “Red Velvet” etc.) – something that gives me the sweetness I want, but doesn’t have 500 calories! 🙂
I’m excited for you gals to go to wine country – besides New England it’s the only place I would ever move. Amazing weather, people, scenery, gah! Totally jealous! 🙂
Thank you!! It was “work” for sure, but totally worth it. Was saying to my sis that it felt SO GOOD not to be one of the ones tweeting on Tuesday that I needed a weekend detox from all the bad food consumed. It felt awesome to wake up for the day and to feel energized and not like I ate my weight in food over the weekend. I’d much rather enjoy one indulgence vs. five indulgences and still maintain that balance, ya know??
YES – wine country is amazing. This is our third time going and I love it more each time we’re there. Gorgeous.
SO TRUE!!! I can’t tell you how many folks on my FB said “sooo hungover” and I thought “Really?? Not me!”. LOL! I know how awful I feel after a food (or drink) hangover, and I never aim for that feeling!
I like this one. I definitely like the idea of choosing food as fuel rather than an activity. I really try to use food as fuel, but I do want it to be enjoyable still. Healthy can be tasty surprisingly enough 😉 I think that when you are in a habit of making healthier choices, it becomes so much easier to say no to the extra bread or french fries. You know that it typically makes you feel rather crappy actually. I’ll take a glass of wine over extra bread any day!
Exactly – and I probably should have played this part up more in my post – that healthy eats CAN and SHOULD taste good. It’s not like we’re sitting around eating dull bland foods all day long. We’re actually eating really yummy food, just food that’s not laden with extra crap that nobody needs (fillers and such). And yes, the more this becomes habit, the harder it is to break for the sake of that extra piece of bread from the bread basket next time you’re out at dinner. I’d rather have my bread toasted with almond butter on top anyway. 😉 And I’m with you – wine before dessert, or bread, for that matter!!
As Heather says, healthy can be tasty and fun to eat, absolutely! The other day, after drinking a ton of water, I got this weird super full feeling. It struck me – I was kind of uncomfortable (not because I overate, just using this as an example) and haven’t had that feeling in ages and I LOVE that. I hate waking up the next day after eating too much and feeling well, gross. I think this is totally a lifestyle change for both of us and we can balance where we need and want – wine on weekends sure, but still eating real food and not starving ourselves in the process. Who knew?!
yes, yes, YES – the not feeling like you stuffed yourself unnecessarily? Feels amazing. I always hated how poorly I felt after overeating at a party or social event or whatever. Sure, we’re not perfect and bound to eat more than our bodies need now and then, but to do that habitually? Not a healthy balance, in my mind. I’m all about choosing battles these days – especially when, as it turns out, choosing battles doesn’t mean agony and despair, it still means good eats, healthy eats, fun eats, just in the right portions for our own bodies’ needs. Brilliant! 🙂
Could not agree more. If you treat something as a “diet” you are going to get no where! I was thinking of doing a similar post a some point. Are you still planning on going to FitBloggin on Saturday afternoon. I am pretty excited but I don’t recognize any of the other peoples, it is pretty intimate it seems 🙂
Yes – and like my friend Tanya says, diet has the word “Die” in it, why would you want to do that to yourself??? Just a few changes in eating habits can make all the difference in the world – and with very little pain and torture involved, I might add! Totally worth it.
Good for you for attaining that balance this weekend. Holiday weekends can often derail us so I do commend you. Eating when you are hungry is key and for whatever reason I think that’s a hard concept to grasp for most people.
You’re right – it is very hard to grasp the whole eat when you’re hungry, don’t eat just to eat or for entertainment. I won’t say I’m “cured” of that aspect of eating, but I am a LOT farther along than I was even just two months ago. I feel much more balanced in my eating approach and it makes me happy that I’m in this place of balance again.
First, great job on keeping your focus over the holiday. It really is hard…luckily, for me, I was in charge of the food prep, so what I made is what goes. 😉 For you, I know that wasn’t the case, which means you had a major success. 🙂
By the way, why oh why can’t I enjoy wine? I hate it!!! I hear it’s an acquired taste, but geesh…the aftertaste drives me nuts!
Healthy eating is a lifestyle for sure, and I can’t wait to say I have a solid healthy lifestyle. I’m working on it…
It ALWAYS helps to be in charge of the food on holidays and at parties. That’s partly why I try to host lots of those things myself so I can have that sense of control. But I will say it’s really good practice to be forced to choose your battles when you aren’t in control of the food – like for me at dinner last Friday and at the cookouts over the weekend. It’s HARD to find that control in those settings but it can be done, who knew??
PS. You don’t like wine?? We must change that asap! You’re clearly drinking the wrong kind 😉
Love the balance you’ve found!! It’s so hard to see food as fuel when “society” puts food on display as an activity, like you said.
You’re beating society…I love it!
Yeah!! Watch your back, “society!!” 😉
This is a great post! Finding balance can be a huge challenge somedays – for me, it depends on the company I’m in (or it used to, anyway). I really appreciate you chronicling how you achieve it.
The quote “choose your battles” … I read it as “choose your bottles”. Haha I think this means I need a glass of wine 😉
Hey thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you liked this post and how I chronicled it here. It’s been an interesting journey to here, I’ll say that. LOVE that you read this as “choosing bottles” – I’ll take a bottle of prosecco if you’re offering 😉
Just found your blog from the Healthy Living Blogs site. Its neat to follow other blogs in the massachusetts area. I love this post, because its so true. Eating healthy really is a lifestyle. I went to the beach last weekend, and packed healthy sandwiches, grapes & watermelon (I love popchips, I may add that to next time’s list). That extra wine always wins for me too!
cool! I love meeting local friends in bloggy land, thanks for finding me. I’m off to check out your blog next 🙂
I have this conversation with my husband all the time. He wants to eat healthy and lose weight but then go back to eating crap. I’ve explained to him that it really is a lifestyle change but once you learn to embrace it, he won’t want to eat the crap.
I was cracking up reading your comment on my phone last night, you are a riot. But so true – you can’t start eating healthy just to lose weight and then go back to the crappyy eating and expect everything to stay the same. And besides, once you taste delicious whole real foods again, you realize that they really DO taste better than all that processed crap.
Love your advice in the post, and so proud of you for making healthy eating decisions! I agree about choosing your battles – eat/drink the things you really love and turn down the ones you don’t care about. I also really agree that it’s a lifestyle. There’s someone in my life who always talks about how she’s “going on a diet” or how this or that “isn’t on her diet”, and I have to admit that it drives me crazy!
Thank you friend, for being proud, that means a lot to me! 🙂
I’m with you on the friend who is always talking about going on/off a diet, what’s “allowed” on the diet or not. Life is too short to constantly be “dieting” – focusing on a healthy lifestyle feels so much less restrictive (oddly enough) and more achievable, especially in the good ‘ol balance department. I wish more friends and family would get past the dieting concept and focus more on lifestyle changes, honestly.
what a great post! i can honestly say that i thought of you over the holiday weekend as i was making choices on what to eat and what to say no to. i think “choosing your battles” is a great mindset to have, and i think once you feel like you’ve won a few of them, it eventually gets easier (at least i hope so!).
Aww did you?? That’s awesome! I’m so glad you’re finding your way back into balance, eating-wise. It is NOT easy, right? But it gets easier and easier over time – just like the workout habit is now ingrained, healthy / balanced eating will be too. Yay you!
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