Monday, April 02, 2007

Balancing Act

I'm so glad the weekend's over. While I enjoy the Maple Festival, it can be an exhausting experience when you're there all day in a volunteer capacity. While I wasn't an official volunteer this year, I helped my husband, who was demonstrating open hearth/Dutch oven cooking. The biggest part of my unofficial duties was walking to the grocery store to pick up the supplies he forgot. And I'd give his speech when he had to leave the area. At least the walking gave me some extra exercise.

And Lord knows I needed all I could get. I pretty much went off the deep end yesterday as far as food is concerned. Excuses? I don't really have any other than I wanted to. If I wanted to analyze and get to the causes, it was a fairly stressful week adjusting to the new puppies. Not really a good excuse, I know, but it's all I could really think of.

Although I think I jinxed myself with all my boastful rants earlier in the week saying how good I'm doing, how my eating is getting so much better, and most of all, making a goal of losing 8 pounds by May 19. The minute I get too cocky about myself, I swear some dysfunctional part of my inner brain does everything it can to sabotage myself.

But like Pavlov's dog, Monday morning comes around and I'm back to routine: this morning I did alter it a little by doing the 2-mile walk I did on Saturday, then I came home and did toning/weight resistance for 20 minutes. So, no matter how bad I am on the weekends, my brain seems to automatically revert to the habits I've ingrained there. Of course, I better not get too cocky about that, either!

This morning I was reading Ann's blog and these paragraphs really spoke to me:

"I actually get some comfort in reading blogs of people who aren’t shedding pounds with abandon because it makes me feel less alone. I see how hard everyone is working on their lives to balance food, family, exercise, work, health and fun, and that inspires me more than just concentrating on the food stuff all the time. I’ve done that before and ended up distorted and unbalanced.
I’m in the right place for me now. Treading water to stay the same is the best I can hope for right now; if I lose, great, but if not, I need to be content and make sure I’m working as hard as I can on the things that matter right now. "

You notice she uses the word "balance" twice here. I don't know how many of us stop and think about finding the right balance in our lives, whether it's work and family, spirituality and the secular world, etc. I often think about how easy it was for me to lose weight in the beginning because I devoted an enormous amount of thought and time to it. I was incredibly self-absorbed with it and didn't have many distractions to lead me astray. Life has changed so much now: getting married, returning to the work force, mothering an active second grader and now two baby dogs.

I don't have the open schedule I used to, and I have a lot more demands on my time and my mind. While I still want to lose more weight, that "want" has to get in line with the other "have tos" that dominate my day. I have to get to work, I have to take care of my daughter and husband, I have to create and keep routines to raise well-behaved pets. Add to that paying the bills, cleaning the house, you name it, and my day is packed.

Having said this, eating healthy and exercising is still in the top five of my priorities. But like the other priorities in my life, I don't always do them perfectly. I don't get home in time and the puppies have an accident; a typo gets into the church bulletin; I forget to give Mabel lunch money; the floor doesn't get vacuumed; I get snarly and say something hurtful to my husband. Likewise, once in a while I don't intentionally exercise, and there are days I throw my mindful eating to the wind.

None of these goofs makes me a bad mother, wife, housekeeper, or church secretary. It makes me human. So I need to be equally forgiving of myself when I slip up with food and exercise.

And like Ann pointed out, the important thing is to make myself a healthier person over all. That means balancing out all my priorities and at the end of the day knowing I did the best I could. I may not win Mother or Wife of the Year or lose 2 pounds every week. But that's okay. Tomorrow brings yet another day to do my best, and in the long term I know I'm slowly getting smarter, stronger and happier.


Helen said...

Great post, Andrea! I so relate. Thanks.

Jen said...

There is some serious wisdom here. Balance is definitely a difficult thing.