I used to be a very all or nothing person, and not just because I loved O-Town as a pre-teen.
When it came to fitness and healthy eating I would have to be 100% on my game or I would feel like a failure. If I missed the gym for a week, or had a day of binge eating, I would let that derail my progress and months later I would find myself starting from scratch again.
I’ve finally learned how to maintain a balance and live a mostly healthy lifestyle while still doing/drinking/eating all the things I love.
Summer is a particularly hard season for me to stay on track. Most weekends are packed with travel, alcohol and food that isn’t exactly “good” for you. Of course, it’s also the season you’re supposed to be “beach ready.”
I’ve been out of the gym for nearly the whole month of July. At most I went once a week sporadically, but it wasn’t my number one priority. I walk home from work most days unless it’s raining so it’s an easy way to get my steps in. Yes, I may have lost some strength and definition without a proper lifting regimen, but I’m not training for anything in particular. I’m just trying to be my healthiest self while not losing my mind.
August came so quick that it felt like July didn’t even happen. My old self would still look at last month as a failure. In my head I would say “You ruined all the progress you’ve made, you might as well just give up.” And I would continue the cycle of all or nothing health or all or nothing treating my body like a garbage can.
The new me knows how hard it is to start from square one… so my method is to make healthy decisions at least 5 days out of the week. Luckily, I love vegetables and nutritious food, but I still have my vices, i.e. pizza, fries, bagels, doughnuts… the list goes on.
During the workweek, I track my macros in MyFitnessPal every day (I’ll do a more in-depth blog post about that soon). If I go on vacation, or I’m away from my apartment for a weekend and not prepping any food, I’m pretty lax on logging my meals, if at all.
It may seem counterintuitive to be living healthy while still eating greasy, fried food or something that’s processed. But to me, health is balance. If I allow myself a treat or “cheat” day occasionally, or eat whatever I want on vacation, it will help me stick to this 80/20 lifestyle. In the past, deprivation of food I was craving would lead to a downward spiral of binge eating and zero motivation for the gym.
I’m not promising this method will work for you, but it definitely works for me. If you’re an all or nothing person similar to how I used to be, try changing things up a bit and giving yourself some leeway so you don’t crash and burn.
I can promise a week or even a month out of the gym won’t derail your fitness goals, if you make a conscious effort to remain active. Go for a long walk or hike if a gym in inaccessible or play volleyball at the beach or swim for 30 minutes in the lake, pool or ocean. It’s possible to stay in shape without a gym.
I can also promise that a weekend of drinking beer and eating pizza, hot dogs and burgers will not result in you losing all progress. Yes, you will be bloated for a few days, but I use that gross heavy feeling as motivation to eat a lot of veggies and nutrient-dense meals the following week.
Stay balanced, my friends.