I saw a post by a friend on Instagram dedicated to the struggle of balancing personal goals with all the demands life has to offer us and reality versus our own expectations. It made me think about my own expectations for myself and how they can negatively affect my quality of life. For example, my daily counting of calories, obsessive desire to log hours of exercise, and avoiding my favorite foods can really be a burden. I'm seemingly not satisfied until I've exhausted myself and then fall into bed only to wake up and repeat. I've been on this hunt for perfection with my body for awhile and I've recently begun to ask myself why? What will the "perfect" body achieve for me? Why do I allow food and exercise to control me? I had a very elderly malnourished patient last week. She is very sick, not eating well, and possibly close to the end of her life if things don't improve. During our discussion, I suggested a nutritional supplement but she declined, stating, "I don't want to drink that stuff and get fat." I thought to myself, is that going to be me? Will I still be afraid of being overweight at the end of my life? Afraid to drink a beverage because of the number of calories it may contain?
I've been trying to change my thought process from being laser-focused on physical appearance to one where I focus on just being strong, healthy, and happy with myself. I love to lift weights, and I love HIIT training and kickboxing. I never want those things to become things I "have" to do just so I can maintain a physical appearance. I want to do those things because they make my body strong and make me feel good. I want to be able to eat my favorite foods without feeling a huge amount of guilt. Basically, I want to be able to live in reality. But, how do I do that?
The key seems to be finding balance. Balance, to me, is nourishing my body with healthy foods, so I can do the kinds of physical activities I want to do. It's knowing when to rest my body and when to push myself. Balance is eating a cookie if I want to eat a cookie, just not eating the whole bag of cookies.
I'm sure I'm not alone in this struggle, and I'm sure it will be a lifelong process. Finding balance can be a terribly difficult challenge. If you would like a better quality of life or if there are things in your life that bother you, ask yourself a few questions and write down your answers. Is your life the way you want it to be? If it's not, what would you change? What would make your life more fun/enjoyable on a daily basis? Do you physically feel good from day to day? If not, what's making you feel bad or what would make you feel better? Are you doing what you need to do to reach your goals? If not, why? What would your motivation to change be? And finally, is the reward of what you're doing worth the sacrifice?
Let's stop thinking so much about numbers on the scale, calories in a food, or how much fat we burn on the elliptical. Let's instead, live in reality and choose to have realistic expectations for ourselves. Let's focus on things that will improve our quality of life from day to day, as well as make our bodies strong, which will allow us to do all the things we want to do. Our bodies are amazing gifts from God and they serve us well.
"...do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20