I am all too familiar with the term, ‘falling off the bandwagon’ and if you are too then this post is for you. Whereas once I would have considered falling off the bandwagon to be bad and even punishable, I now think that it can be healthy. Furthermore, I think the healthiest approach to life is to have balance; ‘Falling off the bandwagon’. Enjoying it and then getting back on.
Balance does not mean you need to counteract the indulgence with healthy things to punish yourself, I am merely suggesting that your life should not be all unhealthy nor should it be super-healthy all the time. In my experience, balance should enable you to enjoy those times of indulgence more. Balance enables you to nourish your body one day and nourish your soul the next. Balance gives you variety, appreciation for your health and creates a healthy mental relationship with food.
To give you a picture of when balance can go out the window, I have experienced both sides of the healthy/unhealthy spectrum, where the scales were well and truly weighted towards one side. For example, at high school the scale was definitely in the unhealthy zone. Of course, I was lucky enough to have dinner made for me by my mum, which was always healthy. But outside of dinner time and left to my own devices, my diet was far from it. Packed with sugar, processed food, crisps, the lot; basically every kids dream! But then I was introduced to diet culture and the scale tipped in the other direction.
On the other side of the spectrum, I experienced a couple of years where I was overly obsessed with being the healthiest I could be. I was pretty restrictive with what I ate I ate, virtually cutting out sugar, gluten and dairy. I would feel tremendous guilt if I ate something that I deemed ‘unhealthy’, the crisps I used to enjoy were demonized along with any refined carbs.
But how did I regain the balance? It took time, sure. I am now in a place where I can enjoy good food and not care about every ingredient that went into making it. Now, I listen to my body and intuitively eat, rather than eat what I think I should be eating at the time. I have boundaries. I still make healthy choices, such as choosing to move my body at least 3-4 times a week, fueling it with wholesome food and not beating myself up for the odd indulgence. Life is for enjoying. I still care about what I put on my plate but overly restricting your diet can take away from that joy. Equally, overly indulging can make you feel sluggish and not great on the inside, so making sure you are overall on a healthy track is the best way moving forward.
If you are experiencing a similar thing or if you feel you have spent a bit too long with the scale tipped to the unhealthy side, just remember that you have the power to make those healthy choices, whilst still enjoying weekends and holidays where less healthy choices prevail. Balance is one of the joys in life, learn to harness it!