I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but I admire those that can achieve their goals by simply “feeling their body”, doing and eating “what feels right”. No meal plans, no schedules, no planning, simply doing it the “feel good” way. Of course this is something we see advertised everywhere, and it seems so simple.
“Exercise but don’t over do it”
“Eat well but treat yourself”
This is the whole concept of “balance”. This is something I have always struggled with. Sticking to a meal plan? Following my workout plan to the dot? Not missing a single session? Yeah, I got all that ish in the pocket. That’s the easy part. It’s easy to get your mind in it, and let yourself do nothing else. What’s harder is once you’ve had that night out, where you’ve maybe had a few drinks, you came home late, probs had a little midnight (or 4am) snack, and then you have to wake up the next morning and get back on track. That’s where it’s hard.
The questions I often ask myself; is balance even possible? I’m talking true balance. Where you live healthy, fit, feel good, do your body well, yet do not opt out of social events, don’t say “no” to that celebratory glass of wine at another birthday (where they’re like “commooon it’s my birthday!” and you’re like “bro I don’t even know your last name, you’re not worth ruining gains on”).
Maybe I’m saying this because I haven’t found a way yet, but for most of us I’d say if you have serious health/fitness goals, balance doesn’t really fit into the picture; and here’s why.
Alright let’s take food. What’s the rule with diets most of the time? It’s that 80-20 thing; 80% clean, 20% indulgence. I’m sorry but I believe in Kanye West achieving successful presidency more than I believe in that.
First of all, when you live by the 80-20 rule you’re officially on a “diet” since clearly there’s the idea of being “allowed” and “not allowed” certain things. And I know it’s been said a million times but it should not be a diet. I often get asked how often I “cheat” off vegnism like homie vegans arn’t werewolves, we don’t make our way to McDonalds after the sun goes down for a triple-bacon-extra-cheese-four-steak-cream-coated burger. It’s a lifestyle choice.
A friend of mine once told me he lives for his cheat days. Like man, if the one joy you have is binging on a maxi Toblerone once a week, then the “clean eating” life isn’t for you. You shouldn’t want that stuff, and how to make your body not want it? Don’t give it some. The only way to get your body off the sugar-hook is to not give it any, and then it’ll stop craving it. It’s not by giving it sugar only 20% of the time. That doesn’t work. Second of all, let’s be real, treating yourself only 20% of the time doesn’t work. Okay yes a slice of pie isn’t going to ruin all your progress but it’s not about the pie; it’s what the pie REPRESENTS (F.R.I.E.N.D.S. reference to Ross and the sandwich, anyone get me??!) But in all seriousness, it’s about what comes after the pie. It’s the “k well I already ate a piece of pie, so guess the diet’s down the crapper, let’s just INHALE EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING”. Thirdly, the way our body reacts to food is not one size fits all. It is human nature to try find a rule to everything. We love statistics, numbers and rules. Think you hate math? Think again, people love that whole “x grams of y will make you look like Alessandra Ambrosio” stuff. Unfortunately we’re all different and nutrition is impossible to test since there are so many factors that come into play when testing the effects of food on people. Some are genetically blessed, and that’s extremely frustrating I know. Some can actually follow the 80-20 rule and come out with abs of steel, some can even follow the 100% pizza always diet and look like Candice Swanepoel but most of us have to be on our game, All. The. Time. Of course it’s a lot easier to sell the idea of being balanced, eating what feels right, saying “you can totally have that glass of wine followed by 4 pieces of chocolate cake and a newborn child as long as you have your green smoothie in the morning”. That sells a whole lot more than “No. You can’t. If you really want to achieve your goals you have to watch what you do 100% of the time.” Miranda Kerr once said that it’s all about balance, when in reality those models work F$#%ING hard. They train EVERYDAY and watch EVERY GRAM THEY EAT. You know why? Because it is literally their job. I’m not saying we should go out and do that, because most of us can’t really get paid millions to look hot, most of us have other things to do (like my Facebook feed isn’t gonna scroll through itself). I’m just saying we should stop comparing ourselves, because we’re all different. Exercise Alright now let’s look at the other side. What’s the rule regarding working out? That it’s 70% diet, and 30% exercise. Here’s another rule I think is complete bogus, firstly because I dunno if I made it clear but THIS TYPE OF STUFF CANNOT BE PUT INTO NUMBERS, and secondly; diet and exercise go together, hand-in-hand, they are peanut butter & jam, apples & cinnamon, Beyonce & Jay-Z, sweet potatoes & EVERYTHING. The only reason why I believe that in some ways diet does take the upper hand and should be focused on more when trying to achieve a health or fitness goal, is that there is more leniency or “balance” possible when it comes to working out. By that I mean that if you’re really tired, you’ve gotten no sleep, your muscles are sore and you’ve trained like a beast all week, you may actually benefit more from an active rest day of yoga and stretching than another intense workout. THAT BEING SAID you only get out what you put in. “No pain, no gain” has got to be as overused as that Hotline Bling clip, but it’s true. You have to put yourself in physical discomfort, that is the only way you’ll get anything out. You have to push yourself to that point where you not only say “I don’t wanna” but you actually think you can’t. And then you do it anyway, and that’s it. There’s no secret to it. There’s no number, and no statistic, and that’s what’s hard for people to realize. My mum once gave me the best advice ever. She said when you don’t want to, that’s when you need it the most. And that is so freaking true. It’s cold, you’re tired, you’re not in the mood, you’re not feeling well, THEN MOVE YOU’RE A$$ and trust me you’ll be SOO much better for it. Sitting around and doing “what you want” in the moment AKA Netflix & Netflix (“chill” is replaced by more Netflix for the most single of us) will just make you feel worse. So all in all, there you have it. There is my view on balance. It’s frustrating because sometimes people put it so lightly, saying eat some spinach and go to Pilates sometimes and BAM next year you’ll be on that runway beside Kendall but the truth is no; it takes sweat & tears, it takes CONSISTENT effort. And that effort should not only be put in 80% of the time, that effort should be put in ALL THE TIME. Of course it’s intimidating, and if you’re not ready that’s fine, but it frustrates me when magazines sell this idea that there’s an easy way because there’s not. It’s misleading and people get disappointed.
I woke up feeling lousy aaaas eff, was it eating way too much at Thanksgiving dinner, getting little sleep or the glass of wine (seriously there was only 1 like wtf am I 20yrs old or a pensioner or ???) ? In any case woke up with a terrible headache and seriously considered going right back to bed, but got up, had a bit of oatmeal for energy, grabbed a @fitntasty Fuel Me ginger juice and headed to the gym. Consistency is key, definitely wasn’t the workout of the year but I sure felt a hell of a lot better after ?Go out and kill the day #fitfam ? #quoteoftheday A photo posted by Victoria (@sailingthroughfitness) on
Now after all that, there’s one point that’s actually even more important and it goes against everything I just said (like k Vic what was the point of all that then, seriously, I have stuff to do, people to see) BUT what’s more important is mental health. And maybe living a balanced lifestyle is the best way to achieve that. We’re all different, and we have to remember that being happy, sane, living life, spending time with people, being surrounded, feeling supported, all of that is more important, and yeah okay maybe VS won’t hire you (I already gave up when I turned 20 and realized I’m still 5ft4 and that chances that I grow another 8 inches are preeeetty low), but there are other things, like you know, happiness. And perfection isn’t happiness. Happiness is happiness, so do what you know will make you happy in the long run, 100% of the time. There’s your rule.