I have to start this out by saying that I am nowhere near a perfect healthy eater or someone who works out every day of the week without fail. That is the furthest thing from the truth. But I would be lying if I said that making the right choices for my body wasn’t always on my mind and that I don’t feel guilty when I choose something that I know is bad for me. And is it bad to say that sometimes I wish I wasn’t this way? That I wish I could just go through a day as I pleased, not thinking about going to the gym after work or that I don’t feel like eating the quinoa/brussels sprouts/salmon I already meal prepped for dinner that night?
There are plenty of mornings (like one last week) where I was planning on getting up at 6am to go to the gym before work, but instead I slept in until 7, had a chocolate muffin from Costco and a ton of coffee for breakfast, and felt absolutely disgusting the entire day. There are other days where I do get up at 6am, get a great workout or yoga class in, have my apple cider vinegar drink and oatmeal for breakfast, and feel great all day. Now those are two extremes that are pretty dispersed from each other, but I think that anybody who is health-conscious has both of those kinds of days. They may be fewer and further between for some than for others, but everybody knows what I’m talking about.
Do I love the feeling I get when I take good care of my body? Do I love to see changes in my muscles and in the energy levels I have throughout the day? Am I proud of myself when I say no to that glass of wine on a Wednesday and have tea before bed instead? ABSOLUTELY. But do I also wonder what it is like to not have these thoughts go through my head? Every day. I have plenty of friends that look and feel amazing, eat whatever they want, and exercise maybe once a month. Some days I am beyond jealous that this works for them and that I have to work really hard to feel good. (This probably comes from years of beating myself down with eating next to nothing and doing hot yoga/running an obsessive amount every day, but that’s beside the point).
I wonder what it would be like to have a Sunday where I don’t have to grocery shop, meal prep, and get a good workout in to feel ready for my week. But you know what? I’ve had Sundays where I don’t do those things, and I am a hot mess all week. I have trouble concentrating, don’t get my work done, don’t want to see my friends, spend ridiculous amounts of money on going out to lunch, and am just in a general bad mood because I feel gross. Same thing on a weekday night when I know that I have dinner prepped at home for me, but all I want is to eat out and have a couple cocktails. Certainly fun and satisfying in the moment, but when this starts to happen on a regular basis, I do not feel good about myself.
Everything is about balance. Am I conscious about these things on a vacation? No, not really. I try to eat fruit and vegetables and do some kind of movement every day, but that’s about it. Are there weeks (like last year when I was working full-time and in school finishing up my MBA) where the extent of my meal prep was pasta and marinara sauce and my “workouts” were a 10 minute walk around my neighborhood when I just couldn’t stare at my computer any longer? Yes! Do I try to eat really well during the week so I can let go on the weekends? Yes yes yes.
I understand that there are seasons of life that we move in and out of, but right now I am in one where I have the time and longing to focus on taking care of myself. I want to feel good, be confident in my body, and detox the bad stuff I have put in over time. I know that summer brings happy hour on patios, barbecues, and eating out way more than in the winter, so I want to take extra good care of my body now in preparation for all those fun months ahead. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with this.
I don’t want to feel guilty for making choices that make me happy (like stopping at a brewery for a beer and wings after the gym last week like Chris and I did…), but I also want to remember that the choices I make that make me feel good are the ones that I am going to be happier with myself for long-term. I will never be the type of person that passes up on an opportunity that I know I really want to do because I “need” to workout or because I already had something in mind for dinner at home. I spent many years doing that when I was younger, and trust me – it was not fun. That is when we start to resent our healthy lifestyle and rebel against it even more.
So in conclusion, I strongly believe that health and fitness is not something that is static, but is dynamic and ever-changing. It probably looks different for you than it does for me. It also probably looks different to you this month than it will next month. Our habits and tendencies are always underlying, but they are portrayed and let out in varying ways as we evolve as people. My goal this upcoming summer (and really the rest of my life) is to remember what makes me feel good and always work towards having what makes me feel good and what makes me happy overlap as much as possible.
What do you think? Are you more or less health conscious than your friends and family? How does this affect your relationship with them (if at all)?