DIEt and eXercise …


I’ve been around the block a time or two. As I approach my … ahem … “F-ing” birthday a couple of years from now (thanks, friend Barb Stebbins!) I keep searching for the “magic” formula that will help me feel healthy and fit for the next half century (once I reach 100, I’ll re-evaluate).

I like to walk. And walking is something I can do. But consistency is my constant nemesis.I like the thought of walking 4 miles a day … but the actually pulling my sorry carcass out of bed in the morning early enough in the morning to make the routine work for my crazy life is my roadblock many mornings.

I like to eat healthy. I tend to be pulled toward vegetarian, although I’m not anti-meat. I like whole grains, whole vegetables and fruit, and am really not a sweet freak. I love to cook! Most days I’d rather cook and eat at home than eat fast food. I love experimenting with spices, and my family is pretty flexible when it comes to trying new things. I love menu planning (two weeks at a time) and so I have absolutely no reason not to eat healthy all the time.

So … what is my problem?

I also know all about South Beach, Atkins, HGH “micro” calories, portion control, calorie counting, “good fat,” “bad carbs,” and even been reading my friend’s take on the “cave man” diet. I know processed food is the bane of healthy existence, and the closer to nature, the better the nutrition. AND I know “diet” is a bad word when it means restricting food, but a lifestyle choice of healthy and balance is the way to change.

I do all of the above — for a while, and on occasion.

My inability to commit to a healthy lifestyle is simply indicative of my inability to commit to anything long-term. I have one commitment I’ve kept for almost 25 years. I tease the husband and tell him how lucky he is, because commitment is not one of my strong suites.

I find this problem tugging me in a lot of places. My writing, my study, my desire to travel and experience life and try different things. I rationalize myself out of “just doing things,” because I am concerned it will impact my family. I feel like I “should” pour myself into whatever my husband and kids do … but I’m starting to think sometimes I use that as another excuse to simply … not try.

Maybe I’m just lazy?  Yet, I run at a fairly high level most days, and can’t honestly say I see myself as that way. Or maybe it’s fear — not so much fear of failure as fear of success. I know that sounds … stupid. But if I would focus on getting healthier, what would I have to give up? The benefits would probably outweigh the cost, but what if it didn’t? Or, what if I did commit to actually practice and hone my craft as a writer?  What would I have to give up to succeed? And is it because I am “comfortable,” and afraid that if I bring about a major change in my life, it will quickly spiral into another “normal” that might be good for me, but not necessarily for those I care most about?

I like change. I’d tell you that all day and night. But change for ME is much different from change for those around me. My life has been tumulus at times. In my family, stability is highly valued. I’m OK in the crashing waves, but not everyone I love and care about would say that. Would I be trading the happiness of the people I love the most for the discipline of actually sticking to something long enough to succeed?

I’m sure everyone struggles at some point along this continuum of “me” and “you.” Wrestling within our souls to find that place where everyone is … happy? No, I know that’s impossible. I know the only person I can make “happy” is myself. I also know the contentment of other people in my life doesn’t depend on me … even though most days I feel like it does. Even though I’m told one thing, I feel selfish when my actions benefit me more than those around me.

How do you find the balance? I’d love to hear from my friend as to how they decide what is OK to label “mine” and what to share with those they love. I highly doubt everyone has people in their lives that simply “work it out” without struggle, because we are all so different as individuals.

So give me some input. Don’t tell me what to do — tell me what YOU do to find the balance within.


2 responses »

  1. I totally get this. Life is settling in for me, so it is getting easier. Homeschooling is a thing of the past, and we have never been as busy as you. I am starting to feel more desperate about maintaining strength and watching my diet (but the boy moved back in, and I am eating everything again!) When I am watching my diet, I make different choices for myself than for my family. The hubby will not eat what I eat. My core hurts today because I did some strength training again (yes, for the 2nd time in a couple of weeks…) So, when I am “on my game,” I actually eat more. It is just that lean meat and veggies really don’t have as many calories. I embrace fiber – popcorn and triscuits and oatmeal. Kashi Go Lean Original cereal is my friend, with blueberries. Getting the exercise in is hard. My body is tired. I’m working on it.

  2. Hey Gina! I found your blog through Penny’s comments. Cool site! I hear so much of myself and so many other women “our age” in your thoughts. I too, cannot seem to commit to eating right and exercising, and yes, I rationalized it around my families needs. I have found that the older we get the more we love our comfort zone. We have dug a trench that we are loathe to climb out of. When we were younger we embraced new experiences and reveled in our freedom and now we dream of change as we sit in our trench and feel guilty about not having the gumption to actually commit to it.
    You still have kids at home and as mom’s our families needs come first. But, I think that is a mistake. I wish, as I look back on my child raising years, that I had put some of my needs ahead of theirs. there was a time I would have thought that was selfish, but I regret setting the example for my kids that proper nutrition and exercise weren’t important. Why? Because now they struggle with those things too! After the girls headed off to college and I began blogging, I began to see that my life could have been fuller if I had put some of my interests at a higher priority. Yes, there has been a little kicking as I asserted myself more, but mostly the girls (and Earl) are proud of my new accomplishments and interests. I could have taught them so much more by my example!
    God has seen fit to put some challenges in Earl’s and my life that have kicked our booties out of the trench. It hasn’t been easy, we have moaned and whined about it more than I care to admit. But you and I know that sometimes being out of our comfort zone is what grows us and keeps us young. i encourage you to allow yourself the freedom to continue to grow even when you are the only one who benefits. As long as it doesn’t hurt your family your growth can encourage their growth too!

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