I DID it!!

It was “Race Weekend” in Ottawa this past weekend, and we watched as thousands of runners achieved their goal of running 5 K’s, 10 K’s, half- and full-marathons. What an accomplishment! It was hot and humid, and there was even a possibility of cancelling the event, but people rallied and they pushed their limits.

They did it!

I am so proud of them, and I think about all the training and hard work they put in before the big day; the hours of running, the mental preparation, and making sure they had all the right gear. I think about the sacrifice. Imagine all the things they had to decline while they prepared; dinners, movies, family-time, watching TV, and relaxing to instead train for their run. Life was not about balance for them; life was about doing what was necessary to achieve their goal. Now that it has come and gone, these people will be able to go back to their lives; perhaps training for something else, perhaps taking a break and focusing on other areas of their lives.

This is balance.

Sarah Roberts: Author

I did it! I have written a book! It is done! The 28-Day Kick The Sugar Challenge book is done, and I have sent it to the printer. Soon, it will be in my hands to go over one last time before it is ready for you to order!!

I am still in a bit of shock about it. I still sort of can’t believe I have done it.

I have written a book.

I am an author.

Writing the book took almost all of my attention and focus; very little else happened during that time. And that, to me, is balance.

You see, I don’t believe in balance…I believe in prioritizing.

We hear a lot about balance, and, sure, it is great when things are kind of coasting along and we are able to do all the things we like to do, gliding somewhat effortlessly through our lives. But what I have found, is that when I have a deadline, a goal, something I am putting my whole attention on, then “balance” is unattainable.

And that’s ok.

That IS balance. Balance is about focusing our attention on some things at certain times in our lives; at other times, different things take over.

Health, on the other hand, has nothing to do with “balance”.

A "Healthy" Balance

I hear people talking about health and balance in the same sentence, and yet health is the only thing we need to keep at the top of our priorities list, because without our health, there is nothing else.

We don’t balance anything else at the moment we become sick; it is then that we prioritize our health. Doesn’t that seem crazy when you think about it?

We prioritize our health when we get sick.

Eating well and exercise isn’t about “balance” for me. These are habits like brushing my teeth. They fit in to my day because they don’t require a lot of thought or energy on my part. Like taking a shower, I just do them. 

No matter what is going on in my life, my health is the most important thing. The way I take care of it may look different depending on what is going on, but it is always my #1 priority.

I realize at such a fundamental level that health is the only non-negotiable.  I understand so deeply that without my health, there is no other stuff to prioritize. There is no “balance” when we get sick.

All there is, is sickness.

When we get sick, we are taken out of our lives. We spend time being sick and then we spend time in recovery and then we spend time slowly getting back into our lives.

There is no balance. There is just prioritizing.

Prioritizing

While I am certainly interested in having a body that looks nice and that I feel comfortable in, my focus is less on its appearance and more on its function. I do not eat well and exercise strictly as a way to look good; I do these things because I want to live; and I have so many things I want to do in my life!

I don’t want to have to spend a lot of time being sick. I know this might be inevitable, but there is so much I can do to prevent disease, and this is why my health is at the top of my list of priorities.

We eat. We eat every day several times a day. When I eat, I simply make sure that what I eat actually nourishes my body and is classified as food. This isn’t about “balancing a healthy lifestyle.”

This is me eating food.

I move my body in the morning because it sets me up for the day the same way a shower does. Moving my body and breaking a sweat isn’t about balance; it is about feeling good and moving my body to set me up for the day and prevent heart disease and aches and pains. I want to stay mobile and active for decades to come, and I know that I can’t start once I begin to lose mobility! I need to do it now.

While I was deep in the writing and editing of my book,  my social life was next to non-existent. I made sure I let friends and family know how much they meant to me and I did what I could to make phone calls and schedule Face Times, but they understood that my priority was to finish the book.

While writing, I spent very little time away from my office, and that was ok. That’s life! That, to me, is balance. Because now that the book is done, it feels good to know I have accomplished this goal. Accomplishing goals is an important part of our mental health, and goals don’t just “get accomplished!” We have to work for them. Setting and achieving worthy goals is part of what keeps us healthy and striving and feeling alive!

“Striking a balance” is a goal I think too many of us feel we should be striving for and yet we just keep failing because there are times in our lives when things take priority. Trying to achieve this elusive “balance” puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on us.

Think about new parents. Do you think they experience balance? Nope! No balance there. It is ALL about the baby; as it should be.

What about parents that are caring for a sick child or those caring for an ailing parent? No way. Again, no balance.

When we are preparing for a big move, are we “balanced”? No! We are wrapping and packing and moving and preparing and doing. Things have to fall away while we focus on the task at hand.

Health Is A Non-Negotiable

But no matter what is going on, we can’t afford to let our own health go when we are caring for others or when we have work deadlines or things we are doing that are taking our focus; we have to be gentle on ourselves and be able to shift things at certain times in our lives, but our health has to remain our top priority. Without it, we have nothing.

Sometimes, I am able to enjoy hour-long sessions at the gym. But when I am deep into a project, they are traded in for 15-minute focused workouts before my morning shower (thank you, Betty Rocker!)

We ALL have 15 minutes.

Sometimes I am able to create a new meal each night of the week. But when I am working away trying to meet a deadline, I rely on a few hours on Sunday to make my smoothie packs, a couple of one-pot meals (hello, leftovers!), and to chop lots of veggies to have on hand for snacks all week.

I cook large fillets of salmon so that I can enjoy a few meals during the week (I share my favourite new super-easy salmon recipe below) and I rely on Roger to do the weekly grocery shopping for us.

When he is busy working on a project, I am the one doing the shopping, and this, again is “balance”. We consider our priorities and we go from there.

But my health is never, ever allowed to fall away, because I realize that without it, nothing else will be able to be prioritized.

So, I urge you to put your health at the top of the list. Set worthy goals and set out to achieve them, but don’t allow being busy to excuse you from nourishing your body and moving it daily.

Decide that you care for your body in a way that shows it unconditional love.

Decide that you will prioritize your health because you realize, deeply, that without it nothing else matters.

Decide that you respect this amazing body you have been given and treat it the way it deserves to be treated.

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

 

P.S. Here is my new favourite recipe for Easy, Tasty Curried Salmon. You can do it in the oven or on the BBQ. I hope you try it and, if so, that you enjoy! I love a meal I can whip up in minutes and that calls for a few superfoods.

 

 

P.P.S. Remember, if you'd like to sign up for the Kick The Sugar Challenge, click here and join the Wait List! The book is almost ready for you, and I will notify you as soon as it is available!

P.P.S. S. Let’s be friends! Connect with me on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. Plus, if you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you should! That way, you won’t miss anything. For joining, you get my personal meal plan, shopping list, and a week’s worth of easy, tasty recipes! http://sarahtalksfood.com/

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