Healthy living bloggers love to talk about “balance.” How many times have you heard that “healthy living is about moderation and balance” or “a blog about balanced living” (wasn’t that my tagline at one point?) or “balance is the key to health”?
Balance is important. But what does it actually mean?
Generally we think:
- A lot of kale, a little cake
- A lot of running, a rest day
- A lot of X healthy thing, a little of Y splurge thing
My definition of balance is this:
That goes for body and soul. All the feels.
Jess Lively talks a lot about flow a.k.a. “going with the flow and what feels right” in her podcasts. I think flow and feel go hand-in-hand. Perhaps feel is the physical version of flow. If you focus on how you feel, you won’t be pulled into one extreme or the other.
Exercise when you feel like it and because it feels good
If you are exercising for the wrong reasons and not focusing on how it makes your body feel, you will start to resent it and that can lead to burn out. This year I have been focusing on exercising because it feels good and my body craves it. If I’m not craving it, I find other ways to spend my time and the next day I have a great workout. Overall I am exercising for fewer hours then I used to, but when I am exercising my head is 100% there, and my body works hard.
Eat food that leaves you feeling energized
I might have ice cream for dinner once a year, but having it every night isn’t that appealing. Neither is eating fast food or way too much food. I know because I eat both healthy and unhealthy meals in my diet and the one makes me feel a lot better than the other. Sure, I could drink a bottle of wine every night but I wouldn’t feel good, so that temptation is tempered naturally by how I want to feel when I wake up in the morning. I “allow” myself to have a drink on most nights, yet I rarely drink too much anymore.
I think one of the best examples is to focus on how you feel at a holiday meal like Thanksgiving or when you are on vacation. I never, ever, ever want to wake up the next day feeling awful from too much food or drink. Sure it happens to the best of us, but when it comes to indulging, I have learned to stop before I am so full (or tipsy) that I feel sick.
Happiness is more important than vanity
The older I get the less I care about how good I look in a bikini and the more I care about the quality of my everyday life. Who is judging my body anyways? Most people don’t care. So long as my doctor thinks I am healthy and I feel good in my clothes, I’d rather enjoy a little butter on my toast and a big glass of wine on a Friday night. That’s not to say that health and nutrition aren’t super important – they are. But balance to me in the intersection between respecting your body and embracing the social, cultural, and culinary joys of life.
When you focus on feeling good, your body and soul balance.