Taking care of our body is the best thing we can do for ourselves. While we should all strive to make healthier choices, it’s equally important to create balance in our health and fitness routine.
When we’re constantly being bombarded by messages of the cleanest diet, the ideal body, the fastest running time, it’s easy to be fooled into thinking that we have to operate at maximum productivity to achieve unrealistic perfection. We start to think that more everything is better and freak out when our human, flawed self can’t go all out, 100% of the time.
Throughout my wellness journey, I learned that it’s necessary to work towards progress and not perfection. I have days where I don’t feel like going to the gym and days where I don’t feel like eating my meal-prepped food. The beauty of it is that I’ve learned that this is completely OK and I give myself permission to feel this way without any guilt. To me, that’s what creating balance is: creating flexibility in your routine without feeling like you have to work 10 times harder because of it.Balance: creating flexibility in your routine without feeling like you have to work 10x harder because of it. Click To Tweet
If you’re struggling to create balance in your health and fitness routine, try following these steps:
Step 1: Listen to your body
Your body is constantly trying to communicate with you. Does listening to your body mean ditching your workout for a jar of ice cream and Netflix? Not quite. Listening to your body is being in tune with the signals that your body is sending you.
Be in tune with your nutrition
Whether it’s helping you recognize when you’re hungry or full, or helping you figure out what to eat, being in tune with your body will help remove the guilt from the eating equation and erase chronic stress about food. Instead of trying to follow strict rules and restrictions, it becomes more a question of “what does my body need to feel good and what puts my mind at ease?”
Most (keyword here) days I eat real, whole foods that contain little ingredients because that’s what makes me feel good. I don’t restrict processed foods completely, but I do often choose not to eat them simply because I know they don’t nourish my body the way I want my food to. On the weekends, I’m more comfortable being flexible with my food options because the weekends are usually dedicated to family and friends.
Be in tune with your fitness
As far as exercise goes, listening to your body involves recognizing how, when and how much to exercise. It’s about knowing when your body needs rest, when you need to slow down, and what kind of exercise your body truly enjoys.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself to check in with your body before working out:
- How are my energy levels?
- Do I have any aches?
- How’s my mood?
- Is my body up for a workout today?
- What kind of exercise does my body need today? A strength workout to get pumped for the day? A high-intensity workout to burn off stress? A soothing yoga session to recharge and stretch after a long day?
During your workout always keep checking in with yourself. If something hurts, stop. If you feel tired, do less.
Learning to listen to your body physically and mentally will take time, so be patient with yourself.Creating #balance in your health and fitness routine and finding flexibility is necessary. Click To Tweet
Step 2: Learn to let go and practice grace
Once you’re in tune with what your body needs, it’s time to let go of the things that you can’t control.
Ever have those days that you’re just not feeling a workout? Trust me, it’s not you – it happens to everyone. Take that as a sign that your body is sending you. Your body is craving flexibility and needs rest. Instead, do yoga at home, go for a walk, swim or heck, just simply take the day off. You deserve it.
Throw the “no excuses” and “no days off” mottos out the window – like ASAP. Habits are great, but when they lack flexibility and lead to mental stress, they’re more likely an unhealthy obsession. Your healthy habits are supposed to reduce your stress, so when they’re doing the opposite and start to feel like a chore, it’s maybe time to reevaluate the balance you’re creating in your life.
Just like your body may not feel like working out some days, it may not feel like eating as healthy as you usually do and that’s completely OK. You’re not perfect – give yourself grace.
Some days I’m straight up just craving some good ol’ Spanish food (where my Latinos at?!) and while it’s not nutrient-packed like a kale and beet salad, giving my body the flexibility to indulge without feeling guilty about it gives me the pleasure of feeling satisfied and removes any negative attitude towards food. It’s not a “cheat meal” – it’s creating a healthy relationship with food without restrictions. Letting go and having a positive mindset towards my eating habits helps me create balance in my routine and it’s truly liberating.
Life will get in the way
Even if you’re completely set on eating nourishing meals and getting in a good workout during the day, life can always get in the way:
- You’ve been out all day and the only food place open is McDonald’s? Give yourself grace.
- You’ve been traveling and your eating and exercise habits have been neglected? Give yourself grace.
- You had a rough night’s sleep and are too exhausted for your morning workout? Give yourself grace.
Without self-compassion, you will fall under the weight of the pressure and disappointments you place on yourself.
Letting go and practicing grace means forgetting about perfection and giving yourself permission to be flexible with the expectations that you have for what you think you should be doing. Instead of feeling stressed out from not carrying out what you had planned, learn to let the negative vibes go and let yourself feel liberated from the chains of expectations.Without self-compassion, you will fall under the weight of the pressure and disappointments you place on yourself. Click To Tweet
Step 3: Shake it off
Every day is a new day to start fresh and work towards your health and fitness goals. Just because you weren’t up for it or life got in the way (and it will often) doesn’t make you any less dedicated to living a healthy life.
At the end of the day, health isn’t just about eating healthy and exercising. It’s also about what you’re thinking. If you come from a place of regret and guilt, you’re harboring negative feelings towards yourself about being flexible with your routine and creating an endless cycle of negative emotion towards food and exercise.
Learning to let go and practice grace will help you come from a place of nourishment, and will allow you to shake off the negative feelings and pick your routine right back up where you left off.
Being healthy will always be a lifestyle, not an all or nothing thing. We need to learn to break free from the expectation that we have to give it 100% all the time. Remember, making small steps lead to big results over time.
Be in tune with your body. Honor it and practice grace. Then make a plan to get back to your goals. Stay balanced, always. Your mind and body will thank you.
Do you feel you have a good balance in your health and fitness routine? What other tips would you add?