I saw a fun Facebook post this morning: a cartoon image of a woman following a balanced diet. On one arm of her armchair was a box of milk chocolates and one the other arm was a box of dark chocolates. Sure, it’s balance in one sense and if her top priority is boosting the share price of Cadbury’s, then, yep, maybe she’ll reach her goal. But what if her goal is weight loss? Hmmm..
It started me thinking about how we find balance while working with shifting priorities.
Think about a new mother. Not only is she learning how to be a parent, but the baby dictates her hours with demands that are impossible to interpret. Other important but less urgent things are ignored. As the baby grows, mum becomes better able to put up with the lack of sleep, understand the needs of the baby, and get the washing done. It’s a gradual process to re-find her balance.
Balance is not always the most desirable state. Balance is a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. Anyone with stable weight has balanced weight. Their habits and lifestyle choices are working perfectly to maintain this balance. If gaining or losing weight is a priority, you want your body to be out of balance.
So how do you work toward your weight priorities – that is, unbalancing your weight – without turning the rest of your life into a total mess? And how do you find balance once again after reaching your goal weight?
Decide on exactly what you want to work on, and stick to it.
Don’t be like Dory from Finding Nemo “I forget things almost instantly. It runs in my family… well, at least I think it does…”
- Decide on the eating plan you want to follow. Is it something you can do forever? If not, if you achieve your goals and then “go back to normal”, you’ll never find balance.
- Stick to the plan. Chopping and changing as soon as you see or hear of a new diet will mean you never find the balance you’re after.
- Enjoy it. Does it allow for foods that you enjoy? Of course, this doesn’t mean Cheezles and Fanta, but if you have to choke down foods you don’t like, it’s hard to continue.
Decide on your exercise regime and stick to it.
Set times – in your diary if necessary – as appointments that can’t be broken. Don’t question it, just turn up at your scheduled time and do it.
Decide on your support network and stick to it.
If you’re a mum, think back to when baby number 1 arrived. If you were lucky, there was a lot of support around you to help bear the burden, offer words of comfort or wisdom, and sometimes simply let you cry. If you didn’t have this support, it was no doubt harder to find your balance.
Making lifestyle change when everyone else in your life is continuing as normal makes sticking to the changes more difficult. Recruiting friends and family members is useful, as is engaging a coach to help implement the changes you’re making. Trust, support, and accountability can make all the difference.
Different times in your life mean shifting priorities, and with each shift comes a period of imbalance. This can be scary or exciting, depending on your mindset. Do you embrace change as a way to improve an area of your life, or do you shy away from it for fear of the unknown?
Finding the lifestyle choices that suit your priorities and your body enables you to establish and maintain balance now and into the future – a future without having to choose between milk or dark chocolate.