Following a Program Strictly vs. Finding Balance

Several people have asked me why I’m being “so intense” about this 80-day program I’ve been doing (by the way, I only have 5 days left!).  That’s kind of a loaded question because when someone asks me that, it’s probably a thinly-veiled way to say, “Hey, weirdo–you’re being super crazy.  Cut it out and be normal.”

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And that is totally fine to feel that way.  I felt that way about health and fitness for a long time–don’t be so intense!  Be more balanced.  But you know what else I felt during those times in my life, when my health view was much more “balanced”?  I felt uncomfortable.  I felt bloated.  I felt pain with acid reflux.  I felt guilty for everything I ate, even if it was healthy.  I felt shame that my clothes were tight.  I felt disappointed that I wasn’t more disciplined and wasn’t treating myself better.

It’s pretty important to me to NOT feel that way.  For me, I needed to have a period of time where I was strict about my food and my fitness because spending time being relaxed about it didn’t make me feel good.  And that’s the bottom line for me.  It’s not really about the fact that I was overweight and put on 20 lbs.  It’s not really about the fact that I was eating emotionally to deal with my anxiety and depression.  It’s not about some idea of “fit” that I wanted to fit into.  It all comes down to the fact that I just didn’t feel good, and I wanted to feel awesome.  Period.

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This 80-day program has made me feel AMAZING.  Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too.  I feel strong, confident, capable, energized, fit, lighter, motivated, inspired, and fueled.  I feel awesome, which is exactly what I wanted–and it’s because I’ve been following this fantastic meal plan and doing every single workout every single day.

Now, will I repeat this program and do it as strictly as I am right now?  Nope.  Here’s why:  right now, during this first round of the program for me, I’m in a test group, which means that I volunteered to do the program exactly as written to see what results I can get by actually following the program.  Yup, I volunteered.  Here’s why: I wanted to see what my results would be if I actually followed the program.  #duh  I have spent a lot of time in the past couple of years doing programs and rocking out the fitness, but not at all following the nutrition.  I wanted to challenge myself, build my discipline, and prove to myself and everyone else that I COULD DO IT.  And I’m just a few days away from accomplish that challenge, and I’m so proud I could cry.  Actually, I have cried a few times.  It’s a big deal for me!

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Does that mean that I think everyone should strictly follow a plan all of the time?  Nope.  I *do* think there is something very important for your confidence and mental strength in following a meal plan/program to see what that program can really do for you, and to show yourself that you are capable, but it’s really unrealistic to think that we can all be 100% on it with nutrition every day forever and ever amen.  That’s not life!  Sometimes we need to have those periods of time where we are more disciplined and we do need to strictly follow a plan–and there are other times where we are strong enough in our discipline to be more “balanced.”

And that’s what my next round of this 80-day program will be about!  Yup, I’m doing it again!  Once I get back from Mexico, I’m starting it all over again.  But this time, I won’t be in a test group and I won’t be following the meal plan as strictly as I have been; this round will be all about me finding what works for me–how often I can indulge without going off the rails.  What I can indulge in without giving myself crazy sugar cravings.  What I really *want* to indulge in and what I don’t miss as far as unhealthy foods.  What I need to stay away from because it gets me off track.  And I’m really excited to experiment with it! Keeping this feeling of awesome going is my goal.

Have you been stuck in a place of “balance” that really is just making you feel bad?  Maybe sticking to a plan will help you, too.  Comment or email me at wweaver0@gmail.com to chat about joining my next group!

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