Balance is one essential life skill that, I believe, is underestimated as a means to live a successful, healthy, and joyful life. Balance plays out in every facet of life from sleep, to exercise, and of course a healthy diet. In my previous post, I described my battles with my body and talked about my new lifestyle; ditching the stress and the guilt associated with extremes. Although I put a lot of time and effort into making sure I stay focused on my health goals, there is a simple key that has changed my perception of both my body and my diet. That key is balance.
Looking into my past dieting patterns, it seems so obvious that they were faulty. Time and time again I would put the work in, get great results, and then poof one day (well not really, but it seemed that way) I would lose it all. It was a never ending cycle of frustration, disappointment, and even more guilt. Finding balance has released me from the chains of self-loathing and guilt, even though I can still enjoy the foods I love (shoutout to some good old moderation!)
I like to use the analogy of two paths. Imagine two paths leading up a mountain, one is straight and steep, the other is long and winding. Choosing the straight path will get you to the top faster, however it is treacherous and you may fall to the bottom at any point. Choosing the winding path takes much longer, but it is safer, and there is much more to experience along the way. At the top of the mountain the straight path ends, there is nowhere to turn but backwards to face the downhill slope in the same dangerous manner. The winding path, however, continues down the other face of the mountain and on, where you can discover and experience new things. The path I am on now is like the winding one, it is much slower, and a couple of years ago I probably wouldn’t have been o.k. with that, but now I can put it in perspective. Despite the longer road I have taken, it’s one that is safer, healthier, and most importantly more enjoyable! (Oh, and won’t come to a dead end.) I may not know where this path is taking me, but I am hopeful it won’t be back to the same place and I am confident that the journey will be more satisfying.
Let me also say, this hasn’t been easy. I have to be mindful, I have to be aware, and I have to be focused everyday. There are times I catch myself resorting to old habits, but that’s the difference between then and now, when I am mindful of them I have the power to change them.
This morning’s breakfast is what brought about my focus on balance. One that incorporated the Chinese philosophy of yin and yang focusing on balance and harmony in everyday life. Whether you are eating a yin and yang breakfast bowl or not, I urge you to think about balance in your own life. Is there any? If not, what can YOU do to incorporate it?
Yin and Yang Bowl
Yin: Coconut Cherry-Chia Pudding
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup coconut milk
5 cherries, pitted and halved
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut
Yang: Nilla-Nana ‘Nice’cream
2 frozen bananas
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
frozen blueberries to top
The night before, mix the chia, milk, cherries, vanilla and coconut in a jar. Cover and let sit in fridge overnight. In the morning blend your two bananas with the milk and vanilla. Add the two together in a bowl and top with frozen blueberries or fruit of choice!