Life Balance… Zen
Balance. Ying and Yang. Black and White (like the cookie episode from Seinfeld). Vegans and Pro-meat consumption. Opposing forces…. I’m getting deep! I view extremism of any type to be detrimental. Religion, nutrition, training, tv-watching, poker, yoga, damn near anything can hold negative consequences if over consumed or used. Except for surfing! Surf your ass off all the time, as much as you can, and enjoy the hell out of it! So it’s all about moderation, moderation in life and finding the balance that works for you and helps propel you towards your goals, aspirations, and happiness.
Too often I see people too dogmatic when it comes to training, nutrition, and the whole wellness/health field. I probably notice it more because of the fact that I’m in the field, and dogmatism, preaching, and absolutism drives me crazy. Becoming healthy, improving your nutrition, getting fit, these all require moderation and balance, but your balance may be different from my balance. That’s the key! One-size fits all approach is bullshit.
Why the hell am I even writing this? I’m a health, nutrition, and movement / exercise freak. It’s my job, and I love it. So my personal balance of wellness is far different from some obese dorrito and mountain-dew swigging person. But it’s still all about balance. I’ve been on a family vacation for the last few weeks. I haven’t trained in over 1.5 months. I’ve surfed, I’ve stretched, I’ve hiked, I’ve smashed good quality ice cream, I’ve been eating flan (proper cuban flan in Florida!), and relaxing with all my training and nutrition a bit, and absolutely loving it! So yeah, I absolutely ate some shit-food, and absolutely enjoyed, because my moderation allowed me to do that. The 80% / 20% rule. I eat damn clean the majority of the time, so I let my hair down (figuratively) and eat the hell out of delicious ice cream, don’t even think about lifting some weights, and chillin’ like a villain. If I prescribed to some dogmatic nutritional book that declared dairy to be the catalyst for chronic immune disorders, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy that whole tub of vanilla bean gelatto. Or if I had the mentality that I had to train all the time to keep some abs, the whole vacation would have stressed me out! (remember, even junkies have abs, so who really cares!) But since I listen to my body, I’m aware of what it likes or dislikes, I’m aware of how my body feels and what makes it feel best, I know I can eat the hell out of that delicious gelatto… and not freak out about calories, or weight gain, or lactose intolerance, because I have moderation and I have found what balance works for me.
I’ve told, and still do tell clients that they need to back off their training. Too yang man!!! You gotta rest! If you’re training all the time and smashing yourself, you need to rest. If you’re partying all the time, popping pills and whatever extra-curriculars you’re into, then you could probably scale it back a bit, have a bit more sleep now and then and practice a bit of sobriety. If you do yoga all the time, you could probably use some strength work. If you constantly eat processed food and garbage, you could eat some real food. If you crossfit, you could likely use another well programmed strength training program and not solely focus on smashing the hell out of yourself in the gym… that’s not constructive. If you consistently eat super-clean to the point of orthorexia, you should chill out a bit and try some ice cream or a snickers bar. If you surf all the time, definitely keep surfing all the time! Find some moderation so you don’t push yourself too far in any direction, because eventually your body will push back and force you to deal with pain or systemic disorders… then you get to pay me to help you!
I have somewhat been forced into a far healthier balance than most people. I do very strongly believe that nutrition, thoughts, movement, and rest, are the foundations for your overall well-being, but I’ve also got some underlying strange chronic issues that make it necessary for me to be much more aware of those foundations and take better care of myself than the average person. If I don’t, I feel like absolute shit, and feeling like shit isn’t fun. So again, my balance is different than your balance.
Just consider what you could scale back on that may not be contributing to your aspirations or goals. What should you ramp up and be more pro-active about to start kicking more ass in life? What could you just relax about? What are you obsessing about?
A few foundational basics of moderation:
- Eat real food most of the time
- Move your body, and improve the way it moves!
- Sleep. You could probably use more sleep than you get.
- Drink Water. Seriously, you could probably drink more water.
- Don’t party too hard all the time. Yes, absolutely party hard, but that shit takes it’s toll eventually.
- Drink good coffee, and don’t put bullshit in it. Drink good black coffee, maybe with a little bit of sugar or some good milk.
- Don’t waste too much time watching TV. Don’t get me wrong, I will plop my ass on a couch and watch some TV, but don’t waste your life watching reality TV.
- Focus on stuff that makes you happy. At night, think of what made you happy that day or what you’re grateful for. I edge on the side of pessimism and depression. I have to make a concerted effort to be positive and keep a good outlook. Your thoughts and mindset strongly impact your physiology… do not underestimate it’s potential. Be Happy! or try!
- Eat Ice Cream ocassionally. Cheesecake is also great, as is Banana Bread, and Carrot Cake.
- Have good sex, if you’re of age!
- Get out in nature.
Find your moderation that helps you feel your best, and helps you do what you enjoy in life. Yes, do not get me wrong, there are absolutely times in life for extremism, but don’t keep that up for too long, and don’t try to convince others about the valiance or supremity of your extreme view. For example, if you’re celiac, don’t eat gluten! If you’re recovering from some chronic inflammatory disease you should probably not eat grains and limit consumption of processed foods. If you’ve got low-back issues, you need to be far more diligent with your training. But when these extreme cases are alleviated, find that balance again that works for you, still allows you to indulge in the finer, or grosser things in life, and enjoy the shit out of it!
If you have questions, get in touch. I’ll help you find your zen! Or tell you to loosen the hell up, take some tequila shots and eat some ice cream. Namaste.
-cris Surf. Movement. Nutrition. Life