I constantly struggle to find balance in my life. I also constantly find myself with imbalances that are quite inconsistent with both the lifestyle for which I aspire and embrace as well as the one I preach to my clients. However, it's actually very interesting to be on the "inside" of the fitness world and see how both fitness professionals as well as fitness enthusiasts constantly demonstrate these same kind of imbalances. Some are amazingly extreme. In fact, some of the biggest body builders I know turn out to be alcoholics. A much more common area for this imbalance in the fitness world is most definitely diet. They seem to fall into four categories.
The first, and most common, in my observation, are the younger and/or individuals with fast metabolism who, at best, just focus on making sure they get enough protein (from whatever source). Or, at worst, eat whatever they want and are able to attain their appearance goals with exercise alone. I literally know a guy who pigs out on Oreo cookies to try to get bigger.
The second kind are those who believe they are eating pretty decent but don't really know anything about nutrition. You see lots of conventional yogurt and crap protein bars being broken out around the gym. Fortunately, they do pretty well because, even though they may be doing quite a bit wrong, they do know to avoid lots of desserts and extremely bad foods.
The third kind, the category I fall into, are the extremists. We know what we are supposed to do but we constantly flip flop back and forth between our desire for perfection and our desire for indulgence and immediate gratification, whether it be alcohol, cheese covered everything or any other lovely that is so right only because it's so wrong. We can generally be identified by our passion for life combined with our constant struggle with our inner demons.
Then there is the fourth, and by far rarest type. The ones who know what they are supposed to do and actually do it. Pretty much always. I have lovingly nicknamed them..."freaks". I desperately want to be them but can't relate to them at all and are at times convinced they are aliens. I envy and loath them all at once. They make me so acutely aware of how unbalanced I can be.
So yeah, I'm the extremist. I go to extremes quite often. A perfect example of this is having spent the better part of my life as a morbidly obese person who binged on horrible foods and sat in front of a television as my primary source of leisure time. Then I did a total 180 and began chronically exercising anywhere from 7-11 times a week. Consuming crazy amounts of protein powders and other unnatural supplements such as fat burners and pre-workout drinks, in search of the most perfect looking body I could possibly get.
Somewhere along the way I came to appreciate my body for more than what it could potentially look like so now I'm at a bit of a crossroads. Along the way I developed better eating habits (but all the while have struggled with no so healthy cravings and indulgences). But these developments have resulted from some pretty extreme dietary experiments. My worst of which would probably have been my all fruit diet. I have to say, I felt unbelievably amazing in the beginning. The massive amounts of fruit kept my belly full and made my skin look insane. The honeymoon was great. Unfortunately, as we (my fruit and I) settled in together, I gained the 10-15 pounds that occurs in many romances.
After my fruit fail, I became a bit discouraged and gained about 3-5 more pounds. I felt pretty lost and unmotivated and HUNGRY! I've dealt with chronic hunger and fatigue most of my life.
However, I truly feel that as I progress through this journey, despite my many fails along the way, I am finally circling in on the perfect foods for my body (which would probably be just a slightly altered version of the types of foods fit for most any person who struggles with their weight).
The reason I am feeling so good about the way my nutritional decisions are headed is because of the way I finally feel....FULL! When I quit wheat I knew I was onto something because the constant hunger wasn't nearly as bad. But I also knew I hadn't quite arrived because I could still eat a full and "balanced" meal and feel hungry 30 minutes later. Likewise, my afternoon slumps had lessened but still definitely existed.
The diet (as in, food choices, not the dirty four letter word "diet") that I am now zeroing in on makes me energetic almost all of the time and barely ever hungry between meals. But I am not 100% free of the hunger monster or the afternoon slump which tells me there's more tweaking to do.
SO! I am going to start blogging about my journey with food as it unfolds. To get a peek now at examples of how I'm eating, you can check me out of instagram:
And anyone can go back and read my blog and see where I started with food. It was absolutely horrible. Then you can read on and see my little "food phases", all of which (except the fruititarian debacle) I strongly believe moved me one step closer to where I find myself today. I'm zeroing back in on a more natural weight (I am now convinced that, with my added muscle mass, 145 is too low for me and I should be more around 155...although I'm not going to attach an arbitrary number like weight to my goal) and I feel so SO much better and more balanced. I'm even happier!
Just keep in mind, my diet, just like myself, is an evolution and is nowhere near over. Don't just blindly follow what I or anyone else is doing. Use the knowledge that I have gathered and share with you as something to help you get started on your own journey of self-discovery. Only YOU can know what's best for YOU and only YOU are going to care enough to go out there and figure out what it is. I will say this, and I'm sure it will ruffle some feathers because it always does....
DO NOT trust someone just because they have letters behind their name.
DO NOT depend of the FDA or USDA to care one iota about your health.
DO NOT grab on to one notion and run with it.
I am so guilty of this! I become passionate about something and buy into and jump in head first. My raw food phase is a perfect example. I was convinced that raw food was the way to go. I ended up feeling like complete garbage and my stomach was so jacked up. However, what I did do is walk away from my raw food phase eating WAY more raw food which I think is absolutely vital to our health.
So, bottom line. Be your own scientist. Pull from many sources. Experiment then decided.
"Be open to everything but attached to nothing."