Probably the key to achieving balance in life is Guideline #2: Make Healthier Choices. Notice I said healthier. It’s all about making an effort, making conscious decisions, and making those decisions yourself rather than decisions being forced upon you.
On the roller coaster of my life, I always put too much pressure on myself, and I let others put too much pressure on me, too. I used SparkPeople.com on several occasions to try to increase my fitness and manage my weight. SparkPeople was great–for a while. Their program is designed to help you develop healthy habits over the course of a few months, which is great. The downside (for me, anyway) was the intense focus on counting every calorie eaten and every calorie burned, down to estimating how many calories you burn each day just by breathing. I was always gung ho about it for about a month, but then the calorie-counting became a chore that I avoided at all costs. Pretty soon, I relapsed to couch-surfing and milk chocolate bars. I simply could not live my life by counting every calorie consumed or spent during every minute of every day.
So, now I’m on the path to physical and emotional balance again, but this time I’m going a little easier on myself. I’ve vowed to make healthier choices, but not get anal-retentive about it. I’m trying to eat more fruits and vegetables for every meal and snack, but I’m not going to beat myself up if one snack is a granola bar instead of an apple. I’m more physically active with yoga and jogging, but I don’t get depressed if my workout only lasts 20 minutes instead of an hour. I’ll still eat dessert, just not every day and not a whole lot of it. (Strong words coming from a girl who used to finish off a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in a day–or less.) I’ll still go out to eat at restaurants, but I’ll order fish instead of giant cheeseburgers with bacon.
For me, I’ve still gotta enjoy life, and that means eating dessert, going out for dinner, having bread or pasta once in a while, and having time to relax. The hardcore “no carb,” “no gluten,” “no whatever” diets are too much, and they can’t be good for you over time. Neither is worshipping at the gym every day, all day. After all, the human body is an incredible organism when it’s balanced and when it has a little bit of everything but not too much of any one thing.
Strive to make healthier choices, and remember: Nobody’s perfect. What kind of healthier choices are you making?