If we practice what we preach, why is it so hard to actually practice balance, free of guilt?
In a world of restaurant reservations, special events, client meetings, holidays, etc., it is impossible to stay strictly on your regimen all of the time. Truly, if you are able to do this, I salute you. On a separate note, however, if we opted out of all of these things, we would be constantly alone. As an extrovert, I crave the presence of others, and food is essential (they don’t call it breaking bread for nothing!).
With all of this said, I have always suffered from a guilty conscience. As a virgo and perfectionist, I am constantly striving to stick to what’s planned and get that uncomfortable pit in my stomach once I know i’ve made a “regretful” decision. Summertime provides many obstacles for everyone, and personally, I am a sucker for chips and guac. While I enjoy the present moment, afterwards, I often feel anxious that I could do better. But what does this mean exactly? I follow a healthy regimen all week long, with the Tone It Up nutrition plan, and I work out HARD. I know I deserve to enjoy my life, yet dysmorphia takes over the next morning when I look in the mirror, and I think I look different.
While I’ve struggled with this issue of guilt for YEARS, beyond the dietary version, I am finally reaching a place in my life where I feel content. I innately know what is good for me, know the foods I crave, and know how to satisfy those cravings without going overboard. If i do over-indulge, however, I alter my mindset from guilt to self-love, and tell myself that tomorrow is a clean slate, and I’ll kick tomorrow’s a**. We all need constant reminders that one drink, one meal, one night out won’t affect our pants size or our physique. Sometimes, we need to celebrate life with our favorite people by our side. The art of practicing balance means there are no such things as slip ups or cheating (looking at you, chubby Sundays), but rather LIVING. Tone It Up preaches this message, and eight months into my journey, I am finally starting to understand how to not only act upon it, but also believe it.
Here are my tips to avoid that knot-in-your-stomach feeling. I’m going to continue practicing these tools with you!
The idea of constantly eating perfectly healthy is all mental. We fuel our body with proper nutrition all week, and we know how great it feels. Any time we are in an environment where we are forced to stray from the norm, we immediately get nervous. Recently, I found myself in a pizza-only situation, and I can honestly say I wasn’t happy. We have to be flexible enough to adapt, and shift our negative mindset to a positive, present one. If we focus on being with friends instead of counting the macros of our food, we can acknowledge the fact that we deserve to enjoy the food. As you toast with your friends, take the time to praise yourself. You consistently work very hard, and the results are visible. Even you, especially you, deserve a treat-yo-self moment.
Additionally, moments like this will make you realize how much your body has changed. You may not even enjoy the pizza! Physically, you won’t see a change in the mirror, despite what the devil on your shoulder says. Your body has fully adapted to this lifestyle, and the slightest indulgence will make you realize how much your metabolism and whole body has changed. While you might feel a little bit of bloat, you will bounce right back.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE
Likely, you and your friends are very similar, as in, you probably share common interests. While you can enjoy nights out with various groups of friends, by making plans with inspiring, like-minded people, you automatically know you won’t have to sacrifice health. These people will not judge you for choosing a healthy restaurant or placing an order with several substitutions, they will probably thank you.
STAY ON TRACK WITH A SCHEDULE
The knowledge you can bounce back is a good nugget to have in the back of your mind when practicing self-talk, however, it won’t be truly effective until you set it into action. Book a class the night before, so that you have already committed to tackling your goals the next day. The class on your calendar, and your alarm or reminder, will hold you accountable. Say hello to sweat and goodbye to any alcohol and grease; your workout awaits!
KNOWING YOU MADE THE BEST CHOICES
If possible, take initiative in the plans and pick a healthier alternative than the dive bar on the corner that serves only fried bar food. If you did not initiate the plans, be confident in your order, no matter how many substitutions you may have made. Read up on more dining out tips here. Finally, if you had only one choice of food for the evening, because a friend, colleague, family member ordered on your behalf, be proud of your choice to enjoy these moments. Another pro-tip is to always have extra bars on hand. By fueling up with this low sugar, high protein option before a meal, you avoid extreme hunger, and consequently, over-indulgence. My favorites are Perfect Bars, Lara Bars, Tone It Up Nutrition Bars, RX bars, and last but not least, Square Bars (20% off with code bun_undone)!
Moments over food outside of the workplace, home, etc., can seriously deepen relationships. Take advantage of these moments and be proud of yourself for joining in the plans, and not letting dietary restrictions restrict YOU!
PUT YOURSELF FIRST
With all of this said, if you are uncomfortable with the situation, and it doesn’t fuel you with happiness, opt out. While it’s easy to feel the need to please others, it is important to always put yourself, your health, and happiness first.
It is critical to remain continuously proud of yourself, and take the time to celebrate your accomplishments with friends over a nice meal and/or glass. We’re all a little too familiar with that feeling of guilt. Thoughts that cross our mind may consist of, I need to work out again if I’m gonna have that for dinner, I can’t believe I just ate that, I should’ve just stayed home. Shake those feelings and switch up the self-talk to say things like, I deserve this meal, Moments with my friends are always worth it, My body won’t change from one meal, I know I made the best choices possible.
Following this meal, it’s also important to MOVE ON. Don’t live in the past, filled with empty, licked clean plates. Instead, move on, look forward to the next day, week, month, and all of those goals you set. The only road blocks are the ones you set for yourself with negative thoughts, but it’s time to push those walls down and recognize that there is no reason to feel guilty. You are proud, strong, and capable of hitting any goals you set your mind to, and one slice of pizza has NO power in taking that away from you. You deserve to be your happiest, most confident self, no guilt necessary.