Did You Just Eat A Burger?
Heck yeah I did.
We talk about balance a lot around here - and I want to dive into what it means to me. A lot of people consider me to be a "healthy" person, especially with food. You may relate with me on this. What I have found in the two years I've been "healthy," is that a lot of judgement comes with the title. Before I decided to work on my health, I did and ate a lot of terrible things that I WISH someone would have shamed me for! Since bettering myself, I've surprisingly experienced more negativity than ever.
But I am not about focusing on negativity. Let me tell you about what I was forced to learn through this process - BALANCE. Real-life, grace-giving, whole health-seeking BALANCE.
I've had to face questions of "if I eat this [insert "bad" food], am I fraud as someone who promotes healthy eating?" ... or "Am I not-legit because I am not a toned, fat-free babe!?" The answer to both of those things is: NO.
Girl, let me tell you something... if you work EVERY DAY at making yourself better, you are not a fraud. As women, we are going to come under fire whether you're a "healthy" gal enjoying a burger with friends or if you're the gal who declines and sits at the table with a water. Both are totally acceptable ways to be balanced and give your body the treat or break it needs in that moment. There is no wrong way to be healthy. You'll have cheerleaders and haters no matter how you operate - so do what is best for your body, and most importantly, your mind.
So, when you ask me "Did you just eat a burger!?" I say, heck yeah girlfriend. Because sometimes eating something processed, antibiotic-rich, and made of non grass-fed beef is for my mental health. When I'm out with my family, I dig in and eat WITH them. I don't make a special dish just for myself. It is important to me to not restrict myself 100% of the time, to share meals with people I love, and to be an imperfect person.
To me, being balanced is bettering myself everyday without becoming obsessive.
So, if you stop reading here... take this away: having a cheat here and there doesn't make you a fraud. It makes you a balanced human.
On a more personal note: 2017 brought me quite the doozy mental health wise. Without noticing my 80/20 rule (eat living foods 80% of the week, practice freedom 20%) slipped closer to a 60/40... maybe even 50/50. I was working a job with a lot of access to processed foods - so without any sudden, noticeable changes, I was shocked to realize I had gained a significant amount of weight. I was eating a Whole 30 diet at least half of time time. However, between large portions and more frequent "cheats," I packed on some pounds. (In hindsight: this is not abnormal - just a snafu in my journey).
Coming off the scale, it DIDN'T feel like a snafu. I felt like a failure and fraud for encouraging others to maintain a healthy weight and diet. I was running WildfireFit and I felt WildfireFat!! A nasty binge/restrict cycle ensued for the following three months. At my worst, I was only eating 250 calories a day. Luckily, my husband helped me with a wake up call. Between learning to work out and gaining perspective, I got back in my groove.
Real talk, I am still 10lbs heavier than my fabulous skinny self. And somedays I loathe it - most days I understand it is okay. I might get closer to that smaller number, but not at the cost of my mental health or my newfound balanced lifestyle. The "me" in both of these pictures is A-OKAY (skinnier me still had some balance lessons to learn, but hey! that's apart of the journey). Let me add, 145lb me in March was A-OKAY as well - sure, I needed to tweak my habits and refocus.
Every part of your journey is acceptable if it involves forward progress.
So, eat a damn burger. If you need a slice of pizza once a week to keep trekking your healthy eating throughout the week - DO IT. If you're feeding your body living, real foods 80% of the time, you're a rockstar who deserves a marg... if that's your style. And if you find yourself in a more "squishy" part of your journey, embrace your juicy butt before you recalibrate.