A New Sense of Balance

The following is a ramble interlaced with various photos of food I’ve been enjoying recently. Finished off with none other than a beat-yourself-up chest/triceps workout. I do believe I break several of my writing rules in this post. But please, do indulge me ;)

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When I started this blog over one year ago, I was at a loss for a name. I’d been blogging over at Trying For A Tri and didn’t know what I wanted my new blog to encapsulate.

I have Ellie to thank for The Great Balancing Act. She must have seen something in me that I didn’t at the time. Her suggestion of “Balancing Act” struck a chord with me. I’ve always seen my life as this pendulum that swings back and forth. I’m always pushing it one way or another, trying to get it to stick in the center.

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I in no way could have predicted how much my life would eventually reflect the blog name that chronicles it. Exactly seven months ago I wrote a post also named The Great Balancing Act. It was after Christmas, after my birthday. I was on my third job in just two months. I gained weight, was unhappy with my body, struggling and grasping at some sense of normalcy and balance.

Sound familiar?

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Let it be known that I am a million times happier and more content where I am today than when I wrote that post seven months ago. Unfortunately, my current circumstances are eerily familiar. This time, I am in a new city, but still adjusting to a new work and life schedule.

Adjusting. Always. Adapting.

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Trying to find a sense of balance between indulgence and having fun with doing what’s best for my mind and body.

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I am not sure if perfect balance is something that can be achieved. In a balancing act, you are always teetering, ready to stumble to either side. The “balancing act” is more the action of trying to get back to the center again. Even when you realize staying there for long is impossible.

So what does this all mean?

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Let’s face it, I’ve partied hardy since stepping off my mother’s doorstep at the beginning of June. I’ve travelled, hiked, laughed, ATE, drank, disregarded sleep, and have had some of the most memorable months I’ve had in years.

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But at the end of the day, I still feel out of whack. Off balance. I think it’s time to step away from my little pendulum and find a new sense of balance. What worked in the past won’t work anymore. Again, it’s all about adapting, finding new routines. Of course, routines where laughter is still welcome ;)

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In terms of real life, this is what’s going through my head in a handy-dandy bullet-point list:

  • I am hungry all the time. Some of it is real hunger, some of it is emotional.
  • I’m bored with my workouts and don’t look forward to them like I used to.
  • I either sleep way too much or way too little.
  • I have a lot of responsibilities I am ignoring.
  • I’m still 5lbs over my happy weight and am less than happy about it. I wish I could pretend like this isn’t a big deal, but not fitting into jeans from last summer sucksbigtime.

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What am I going to do about it?

  • Take some time away from exercise while coming up with a new workout plan. I hate plans, but maybe it’s what I need right now?
  • Cook more and try out meal planning. I’m not into planning my meals either, but it may be the food structure I need.
  • Get better at keeping a sleeping schedule. Some nights I’m in bed by 10pm, others I’m up till 4am. I need a little more consistency to feel well-rested!
  • Get the to-do lists out of my head and on to paper.

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Anyone else feel like the summer is catching up with them? For the first time in my life, I am looking forward to autumn. I’m ready for the seasons to change.

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As a side note, you can’t get this flavour Luna in Canada. I hear it’s a lot of people’s favourites. It’s good, but no Chocolate Raspberry ;)

 

Now that the food and rambles are in, here is that killer workout I promised. This is chest/triceps workout I designed for an advanced exerciser looking to put on some muscle. I’m contemplating starting a split routine myself…

Warm-up:        
Treadmill 1 mile 10 min 6.0 mph 1.0 incline
Set Type Set # Exercise Weight Reps
Straight 1 Barbell bench press  45 lbs 15
  2   55 lbs 10
  3   65 lbs 6
  4   45 lbs 15
Straight 1 Incline chest fly  10 lbs 15
  2   15 lbs 10
  3   20 lbs 6
  4   10 lbs 15

 

Treadmill: Time Speed (mph)
1.0 incline :00-:30 6.0
  :30-1:00 7.0
  1:00-1:30 8.0
  1:30-2:00 6.0
  2:00-2:30 7.0
  2:30-3:00 8.0
  3:00-3:30 6.0
  3:30-4:00 7.0
  4:00-4:30 8.0
  4:30-5:00 6.0

 

Set Type Sets Exercise Reps
Alternating 2 Push-up  20
  2 Narrow-grip push-up 10

**Followed by 5 minutes on the treadmill – same interval routine as shown above.

Set Type Sets Exercise Weight Reps
Alternating 2 Bench dip n/a 12
  2 Skull crusher  20-30 lbs 12

 

Total time = 60 minutes on the nose. Hey, I never said my programs were easy!

 

Thank you for indulging me this evening. I had to get that off my chest (pun only slightly intended).

I may actually workout tomorrow. But if I do, it will be so I can watch the Food Network on the treadmill ;)

 

Question of the Day: How would you rate your current state of balance? How do you get centred when you feel out of whack? I thrive on down-time. I get so worked up about experiencing everything I can, that I sometimes forget I need to experience peace and quiet too :)

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Posted on August 25, 2010, in Lessons Learned and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. I adore how honest you are. balance is seriously SO hard to grasp- altho it seems so easy. I think you are beautiful and you look amazing!

  2. Like you said, I dont think perfect balance is ever achieved. I think balance is always striving to give priority to everything that needs it while staying sane.

    Right now, my balance is an 8 out of 10–very high. Ask me in 2 months when Im stressed to the core from school :)

  3. I LOVE this post. Loved the ongoing thought interrupted with the pictures. Beautiful. I am currently pretty off balance… I’m going really hard on my plan and there’s not much else going on in my life. As long as that isn’t a permanent thing, I love it. Sometimes I really love the feeling of being completely immersed in something and having that be my raison d’etre…. I do need to work on balance, however. My stress levels would benefit, I think.

  4. I’m out of whack right now, but I’m getting there. I’m about 20 pounds over my lowest weight, which I am calling my marital bliss weight. Why do us women gain weight after marriage? Gah! I’m working on it, but work is crazy. Yes, it’s a balancing act. You just have to keep on going and not get too down on yourself. It comes off in time.

  5. I’m all sorts of out of whack lately. And I think back… I don’t remember the last time I really felt a balance. But that’s the whole thing, right? The “act” part. You have to swing hard right to swing hard left. I’m trying to get back to exercising and being good but I still have some party in me. ;)

  6. I generally don’t do well on plans or schedules when it comes to workouts and food because I get to focused on perfection. But when I get completely off track or out of balance, I set up a plan or schedule and follow it for a while and it usually gets me back on track. Sometimes a little structure for a few days is all you need. Good luck getting back to balanced.

  7. That’s my favorite Luna flavor. I just tried it last week, but it’s SO good!

    I understand what you mean about finding that center.

  8. Love this post, it seems a few bloggers are slowing down, taking a look at what they are doing & adjusting.

    It’s so great that you havent let things get completely out of control.

    You can do it, yay!

  9. Me gusta. I like your honesty and your ability to see yourself with such clear vision. I normally only have a clear sense of things like this in hindsight. A wise lady you are.

    I think the one thing I would urge you to remember or at least to keep at the forefront of your mind is that you still JUST got to Toronto (in the grand scheme of things). I know it’s hard to feel out of whack and I think it’s a great idea to take steps to get on track/balanced. I do also think that it’s important to recognize that these things take time and while that is frustrating, it’s also comforting in a weird way (i.e. you are not taking longer to sette than anyone else would in this situation).

    Ramble over :)

    Writing things down and getting them out of my head helps me IMMENSELY. xx

  10. greensandjeans

    I am definitely out of whack right now. My food and exercise is on par, but everything else in my life is kind of… not so much.

  11. Ah, Susan, you are so down-to-earth and you seem to hit the nail on the head so often in terms of writing about things that we can all relate to. I think you’re right when you say we’re always somewhat off-centre/off-balance. There are only a few moments in my life when i truly feel “centred”/”balanced”/”grounded”/perfectly right, etc., but in a way I think that’s a good thing. Those “swings” are the things that make life interesting: the highs, the lows, the back-and-forths… they are the things that drive us to *do more* and *be better*.

    As someone else pointed out, you have only recently gotten to Toronto. Even though you know some people there, a big transition like that can feel really, really lonely. I was there myself when I went to Ottawa. But, rest assured, with time you’ll find your “groove” and things that make you excited to wake up in the morning. In time you’ll find a new “routine” or way of existing that brings that pendulum somewhere closer to the middle.

    In the meantime, maybe its time to set a new fitness goal and/or start a new activity? Rock climbing, half-marathon training, violin lessons, language lessons, and book clubs are all things I’ve lined up in my head to do when I need to mix things up in the future.

    Big hugs girl. Your honesty is humbling.
    xox

  12. I’ve only started reading your blog since you moved to Toronto, so don’t know much about your previous balancing act. Seems to me if you’re having more fun in life then you were 7 months a go, so what if you don’t have the excercise side of life in balance (your gym workplaces bosses aren’t reading this are they?). Life is here to be enjoyed and you’re succeeding brilliantly at that :)

    Adjusting to a new place takes time and adventures will be had and new fun places will be found. I think it’s important to not force something you aren’t enjoying and taking a step back from exercise is a good start.

    It’s funny that the things you listed are the things I have problems with, sleeping, eating and exercising. I’m trying to de better at them all, but at the same time I’m having a blast in the real world. I say try to enjoy your new surroundings, remember how much more fun you’re having and the rest will come the more you settle. I do love that you can see all of this and I’m sure you have the skills to make the change.

    Also, am I the only guy that comments around here?

  13. Hi Susan, I think its great that you’ve been able to share how your feeling. I love that your so genuine! I can relate to quite a bit of that too. I think life is always going to be a balancing act, and just like you say, its that art of juggling things to try and keep coming back to centre. Sounds like your ‘action’ list is a really good way to go to try and feel like your back on track. I’m lucky at the moment as things are reasonably settled apart from my crazy appetite! I often feel like a hamster on a wheel or like I’m a juggler trying to keep all the balls in the air. When I feel out of whack I tend to crave a simple straight forward routine until things I feel better then I start to change it up again. Like the others have said you’ve obviously had a lot of change in your life but i’m sure once you reach a point of normality you’ll click back into your groove x

  14. As crazy as it sounds I love my balance in life right now. I always say i’ll never prep for another show but when I do I feel my best. Plus I have a job so my routine life is great!

  15. Girl, this post hit home to me like you would not believe. My post today actually touches on a bunch of those things!

    Right now, although I have been happy living & loving life, I still feel quite out of balance, and I really want to work to restore the balance that I worked so hard to attain. Like you said, it’s all a balancing act- perfect balance can’t be achieved, but I think but we can try our damdest :D

    In order to keep a balance, I need a tight schedule or I am ALL outta whack [umm, like now!] so I need to work on being more organized!!

    Sooo random- what time are you guys going to Michael Smith on Sat? I think I may be able to go :D

    xo
    Kris

  16. Great post! I can totally relate, my life is a constant struggle at achieving balance. Right now I’m pretty out of wack too, but I just try to keep pressing on and getting closer to where I need to be in small ways.

  17. I strive for balance every day! Balance to eat healthy but still enjoy things I love. Balance to take care of my daughter but also do things for myself. It’s never perfect. I think you do a fine job of it though and love your reflections on the matter.

  18. Anne @ a daily slice

    I definitely feel out of wack. I agreed with all of your bullet points up there. About real life and how you’re going to change them. I’m with you sistah!

  19. There is definitely no such thing as being ‘perfectly in balance.’ I think changing & adapting is what its all about. I’m a big planner so I think that helps- but it’s also good to just go with the flow sometimes :)

    Right now I feel balanced but it’s only the begining of the semester…and I know things will get crazy eventually!

  20. Hey Susan, totally agree with you 100% this summer has been a strange one and there are several factors for me:
    1) I’ve got a new job, one that I love, but is very challenging and so I’m at a new stress level professionally
    2) I sprained my ankle in July and haven’t been able to run since- this was my favorite “destresser” and not having it has had me stressed out for a number of reasons
    I’ve tried to regain my balance by:
    -blogging more- it’s been nice to have a creative outlet outside work
    -Bikram- taking up a new activity that challenges my mind and body has been great
    I’m still not there 100% but I’m a huge believer in taking things day by day and I don’t “take my work home” with me, I’m so happy I don’t have a crackberry to haunt me in my downtime haha
    Oh and I’m coming home to TO this weekend- seeing family always helps balance me out :)
    I hope this fall brings you more balance and tranquility :)

  21. You are always oiling the machine, so to speak. I love how you are able to identify what is going on and what actions you need to take to get where you want to be. You are so proactive, give yourself a break. I started doing the monthy goals because of you, what a perfect tool. I find when I put it out there, my action is just that much better. Yet I feel a bit “exposed” sharing them sometimes, so I just write them down in my journal. Simply said, you don’t get the full effect

  22. You truly are wonderful example of Balance =) Such a role model. I love how you don’t regret any of the fun of the past few months because you feel off-balance now. That is true balance and health. Being able to truly enjoy yourself but still crave that balance. So often I worry about “losing control” and just living life because I feel like its an all-or-nothing thing. That I can’t get back to that balance later. But you show that it is possible and really give me hope and inspiration. Thanks so much for sharing this! You are the best !!

    Nicole G

  23. ahh balance! love it and live it! thats what I am all about. too much of anything is not good for the mind body and soul! I ove that workout by the way! ahh skull crushers are one of my fav tri moves!

  24. Aw girl, sorry your feeling out of your balance! Sounds like you’re striving back toward it though :) So you had a little fun, I’m sure you don’t regret it, right? With all these changes going on in your life, I think it’s best you let loose a little – might have gone crazy if not!

    My center of balance is actually OK right now. I always seem to have a billion things going, but that’s OK for me. As long as I have at least 30 minutes to chill on the couch before bed, I’m good.

  25. Oh friend. I think I don’t even have to tell you how much this resonates with me. I’ve been feeling very “unbalanced” lately and I’m trying to work on it but holy moly, is it a process! And I know this next year is going to be eight kinds of crazy and different for me, and if I don’t have a plan in place (or several plans, that change as needed) I might not make it out alive. I think writing it all out and talking about it is a great outlet, it’s something I plan on doing on my blog in the coming weeks/months. I think it really helps to know you’re not alone and others are here to support you and to validate your feelings because they are having them too.

  26. Girl, you are totally not alone! I’ll NEVER say that I’m ready for summer to end, but I’m also very guilty of feeling the need to “do” everything during the summer. I can’t remember the last time I got a solid 8 hours of sleep, and this is no good at all. Proof: I woke up with a sore throat today. I really only get sick when I’m overtired. Grrr. I’m definitely ready to spend some nights in rather than on the town once the weather turns crappy again. :)

  27. You have been writing some GREAT posts recently my dear!! I hear ya on some of these, especially the latter point of bullet numero uno! Having just finished school, I’m enjoying my “between opportunities” time, and am doing things that I enjoy. Having said that, I know there’s a lot of areas in my life that still require a lot of work, so I’m thinking about how to tackle them most effectively. Like you, I have a lot of constantly-growing to-do lists in my head, and I think part of the challenge is just prioritizing what needs to be done first. Feel free to give me a shout for some idea sharing if you want!

  28. i really enjoyed this ramble, susan! although you may not be right where you would like to be, you are aware of this and you are motivated to take the steps you know you need to take to get the balance you strive for. not many people can say that and not many people have a head on their shoulders than is quite as wise as yours. i look forward to seeing how executing your plans work out~ i am sure it will all play out perfectly. i remember that post back in december and i can tell you have come so far since then. you are constantly learning and growing and i appreciate you sharing all your wisdom and adventures :) p.s. great workout!

    xoxo

  29. The way I look at it for losing weight is I don’t think of it so much. I used to count calories and that was taking alot of time out of my day. Now I know what I have to eat and I stick with it. For the exercise part I just run, cycle and lift weights, I don’t try to kill myself. I budget myself to losing two pounds a week. I was trying to lose 5 to 7 pounds a week, but when I got on the scale every Friday morning, I got dissappointed because I didn’t lose what I wanted to lose. Five pounds is nothing, one pound a week five weeks, easy. I am 50 pounds over, so my goal is Christmas to have all my weight off.
    Just keep a it and and don’t think about it. It work’s.

    Good Luck
    PS – I love your blogs

  30. Isn’t balance what we don’t notice when we *do* have it?

    I am way out of whack right now as far as me time goes. But, I know it is a temporary necessary evil until I get my bike paid off. I am working too many hours, but I am eating good and not resorting to stress eating.

    You’ll swing back to the normal again soon (whatever that may be). :D

    A package is on its way to you!

  31. i feel like if i tried to find balance or think about balance in my life i would just go insane haha so for me balance is just preventing myself from crashing and burning! if that makes sense at all!

    i think you’re beautiful girl! i think we all go through those periods where we just want some sort of change up! can’t wait to hear how it goes :)

  32. Ahh. Yes, I do recognize the ramble. From you? From me? From me six months ago? Um, yes, all of the above. Once a hundred years ago I wrote the title of a post that I never wrote called “Balance is Hard” – I thought of it as I was teetering in Warrior III in yoga. The title sucked so I scrapped it, and never wrote the post. But it’s true- balance take a hell of a lot of work for those who are not inclined naturally to be balanced. That would be us.

    I have so been there with the workout burnout, the too-tight jeans, the too-little sleep, being hungry more than I think I should be. The story of my life. I empathize.

    Now you are the mind-reader b/c I have a post in the can (publishing perhaps tomorrow) that deals with something just like this, though the title won’t reflect it.

    As you’ll see from the post- I’m trying to achieve balance right now. My vacation literally threw me off my azz (while making it much bigger) and now I’ve picked myself up and dusted myself off and am headed in the right direction. Baby steps, always.

    I am sorry to hear that it’s a struggle for you right now- but things WILL get better. You will see to it that they do!

    Hugs (and remember to email me your new address)

    D

  33. I’m right there with ya about summer/autumn. My blogs (BOTH of them) have suffered this summer, but since it’s in favor of experiences and things that make me happy (vegetable gardening, walking the pup in the evenings all over town, etc) I feel very little guilt. :)
    I am, however, starting to feel a bit frayed at both ends. I desperately need a week off from the gym. I need the rest. And more than anything, I need the mental break from it. It happens. It’s like being in a relationship and needing some “me” time. And it’s okay. Hell, it’s HEALTHY. ;)
    I’m headed out on vacay in a week….just one more week of pushing through workouts for me, and then hopefully it’s just me, a beach chair, and a good book. Ahhhh…..

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