“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” ~Unknown
This is one of my favorite quotes. Perfection is a topic that I have been meaning to blog about for a while.
Most people associate fitness with nothing but positive meaning. What most do not realize is striving to live a healthy lifestyle can also carry some undesirable consequences if it’s not approached in a sensible way. Do not get me wrong, I am a huge advocate of eating right and exercising, but the moment your life begins to revolve around your next meal and workout, then you’ve already lost.
Back in early 2011 during my early attempts to start a healthy lifestyle, I really developed some unhealthy habits. My life as I knew it all of the sudden became very structured around my workouts and my meals were “perfectly” planned at exact times (every 2-3 hours). God forbid I missed a workout or my meals were not up to my “standards”, I would get incredibly upset. I spent endless hours in the kitchen meal prepping. Keep in mind; I was also getting ready for two figure contests. These habits continued on for quite some time even after I stopped competing. The meal prepping perfectionism continued for quite a few years.
My “perfectionist” approach to eating also began to draw some unwanted attention. I would be invited to family and work gatherings and bring my own food. People would question me, stare at me and wonder why I was being so phobic about food. My family and friends would get frustrated with me because I would only eat certain foods. In turn at times,I would become very defensive when approached and just figured they just did not understand or get it. The sad part is that I did not even recognize that I struggled with this.
My “so-called” dedication to fitness turned into more of an obsession that overtook my life. All that exercising and healthy eating was meant to compliment my life, not overcome it. Exercising and healthy eating are tools to help you live a happier and more fulfilling life. They are meant to make the things you enjoy doing even more enjoyable. We all want to be fit and healthy, but at what cost?
So, how do you know when you have taken it too far? Honestly, when you begin to weigh yourself every day, get upset when you miss a workout, refuse to eat dessert at a party, or punish yourself through exercise when you happen to overeat.
If you want your life and fitness to work hand in hand, it’s so important to find that middle ground. What does that middle ground look like? Well, it’s when you get to a point where you can miss a workout and not beat yourself up endlessly for it or enjoy that piece of cake at a birthday party. I never said it would be easy. It’s all about forging the right mindset. We all make mistakes and slip up. It’s part of life and we just learn and move on from it.
In the pursuit of the “perfect body”, we often fail to recognize and understand what truly is important. Life is meant to be enjoyed. If all you think about is when your next workout or meal will be, are you truly going to enjoy the things that make you happy? For me, I did not want to live my life any longer being controlled by something as menial as tracking my food and being obsessed with every morsel I was taking in. This meant experiencing foods without guilt and wondering how much protein or carbohydrates I took in that day. There is so much more to life than counting or tracking calories.
There is much more to life than having the perfect exercise and nutrition plan. When your life and fitness habits are working together in perfect harmony, you will find more joy in the journey. More importantly, an enormous load of stress and relief will be lifted off your shoulders. If you cannot take 2 days off from your gym workouts, catch up on much needed sleep and make time for fun and laughter, the chaos of this routine will burn you out very quickly.
Do I have days that I still struggle with some of this? Absolutely, we all have our moments. When these thoughts pop into my head, I have a serious conversation with myself to just get over it and move on. Easier said then done some days!