It's very easy for professionals to say "just find the balance". It's not always so easy for people to do that - to decide on the ratio of healthy vs. more indulgent ways when it comes to health, life satisfaction and sustainability.The balance that works for you will realistically get worked out over time, but with the right approach.
I've always had somewhat of a wild child in me: I crave adventure, I'm fascinated in people's lives, I love noise and music. I also love peace and quiet, a slower pace, to be alone in nature, to be alone with my own brain. And of course, working with individuals one-on-one. I love to feed my body with all of the things it really needs, and to exercise for strength, endurance and that rush of endorphins. I also love to SURGE that energy around a dance floor and a ton of people! And occasionally, after a week of chatting about green smoothies and vitality, I want to be a little less about rainbows and polka dots. How do you make that work, as a wellness professional?
I'll never forget the owner of the first studio at which I trained telling me she went on this intense bike ride, and stopped for a cheeseburger, fries and a pint. I think my jaw hit the ground. I wondered, "why are you TELLING me this?" Like it was supposed to be a secret that we professionals were imperfect - even from ourselves. That we had to walk on egg shells at all time, pretending to be fitness robots. I soon began to realize, I couldn't help a soul if I weren't being real. We all have to have some stretch and flexibility in our lives (pun intended?) so that we don't fully break. And in order to be truly supportive, we coaches had to be honest about our own life balance.
I coach clients based on this flexibility, vs attempting to be 100% "clean" only to snap off one day and gorge. I don't believe in working with a trainer for a short time, following a system that is not a sustainable way of life. In the same breath, your more lenient days should still come from a healthy place; they should still involve some courtesy and respect for your body. It's important to come from a respectful angle when you "indulge", with purity and realness rather than one of "IT'S MY DAY OFF I'M GOING TO EAT AS MUCH BAD FOOD AS I CAN!" Your indulgent days should not lead to any self-loathing or remorse, but should inspire you to get back to some order of treating your body soon after. You want indulgence that fires up your spirit, and doesn't dull it down.
My general rule (flexible for the individual) is to stick to a routine during the week. Eat as you're meant to - prioritizing getting in the vitamins and minerals that you need. Get your macronutrients in the right balance. Eat for energy, eat for exercise, eat for mental alertness. Exercise those 5 days if you can. Learn to adore this pattern. On weekends, you should still be choosing quality food, and not attempting to cram in what you can. You may have some dinners out scheduled - get a nice catch of fish, some greens - enjoy that someone's done the cooking for you. And it's not all about the food. Enjoy the company of the person / people you're with. Laugh your butt off. Have a little wine (if you want?). Go out and DANCE. Make sure it's filled with fun. FUN is the top priority, here. Fire for the spirit. If you work around a ton of people during the week, in a busy office for instance, you might crave more solitude on the weekend. If you work mostly alone during the week (or one-on-one like me) you might crave a bigger crowd. Identify your needs, accept them, and then balance yourself out with confidence and self-respect.
Your weekends can either propel you forward or drag you back, week after week. If you exercise (again, pun intended) some confident indulgence that makes you feel great afterward instead of worse, you're moving forward in the big picture. If you're using "balance" as an excuse to toss a bunch of garbage in your body, only to move into a fog for the first half of each week, it might be best to re-assess.
This process of identification can be difficult - figuring our your personal needs so that you're always satisfied with the lifestyle that you lead. It's one of the hardest parts! If you'd like some help drawing the line between self-destructive indulgent behaviour, and behaviour that is spirit-feeding, drop me a line and let's chat. I don't have all the answers off the bat, neither do you. But it is the discussion that drives them out and gets you into your best life.