Hey guys! Well, it’s a Monday AND a new month – that’s a nice feeling. Although I’m not a huge proponent of “starting over Mondays,” it’s always great to have that feeling of clean, fresh slate on a new week and month to boot! If you follow my blog, you know that I Instagram a lot more frequently than I blog these days; I want to write but I’ve not really had anything that felt of much consequence to say! I don’t want to blog for the sake of blogging and just add more noise to your life, yet I miss the act of writing. So I thought I’d share a few of the things I’m processing these days to kick off my writing this week – hope you find it interesting and helpful in some way (and if there’s anything you’d LIKE me to blog about, perhaps it’s time I ask you, the readers!). Today I’m talking about living in a way that’s “good enough.” Maybe you can relate.
Life is such a journey, and while that may sound cliche, it’s so true. We learn as we go and hopefully adjust our course thanks to experience, the wisdom of others, and direction from God in terms of open doors or closed ones. And I really don’t think our fitness and nutrition journey is any different from our life journey – it evolves and changes as we learn and grow. I sure HOPE I don’t believe all the same things about God when I first became a Christian as a young girl as I do today after life experience, time in His Word, and people encouraging me along. Similarly, I don’t hold to the same thoughts as a trainer when I first started 8 years ago as I do today, and that’s because growth and change (and research! ha) have contributed to me evolving as (hopefully) a better trainer.
(Hi! It’s me – in my new Qalo hat!)
In short, I really feel like these days I am living in a state that is “good enough” as I move forward in my own journey. Brad Pilon’s recent post explains it perfectly (you can read his article that resonates with me so much right here!), but in short, I’m eating and working out and being social and being alone in what seems to me to be just the right amount that is, simply put, good enough. It’s nothing extreme, but it works for me! And that’s why it’s sustainable.
Before I share how I’m practicing being good enough, take a look at what Brad Pilon has to say in terms of extremes and his advice for being good enough from his article:
Could I do more for my health? Green smoothies every day, no alcohol, only raw organic local produce? sure. But I’m OK with where I am.
Bottom line – there are lots of experts who can help you with the extremes. So if extreme is what you want, there are lots of options. I’m a master of ‘good enough’. If looking good and being healthy is important to you, but not at the expense of consuming your life, than I have some pretty simple, time tested advice.
- Fast once or twice a week – it doesn’t have to be 24 hours, it could be 16, or 20, must make sure you’re taking a break from eating occasionally.
- Stress less. Do your best to only stress about the things that are actually worth stressing about.
- Lift. As little as twice a week can do wonders. Three to four times per week is great, just be careful as you’ll start to see diminishing returns after a while.
- Move. Do something that makes you breath a little harder each and every day. I like climbing, but do something that you find fun.
- Eat. PLEASE EAT. But eat responsibly. You don’t have to be a saint with your food, but you can’t eat like every day is thanksgiving either.
- Sleep – Get a good nights sleep. If you’re doing the first five things properly, this should be a little bit easier.
Solid, solid advice. I am grateful to have found what works for me (key words here!) and am happily practicing being good enough:
- Intermittent fasting (IF)
- Moderation 365
- Move for strength and happiness
- Prioritize sleep
- Enjoy a mix of play and rest physically and socially
Intermittent Fasting: I basically practice a flexible, intermittent fasting daily routine, and it works for me! My mornings are full with clients and I simply am not hungry in the mornings, so while I used to coach people to always eat breakfast, even those who never naturally wanted it, my tune has changed! While some people need to eat something first thing, and women often do better with food in their system as compared to men, not everyone needs it to function well! There is research on both sides of the coin, but I used to not talk about IF because I didn’t want people to try something too unconventional or think I was trying to simply skip meals (not the same). If it works for me, it might for you, too! Do your research but don’t be afraid to use your body as an experiment within reason; stick to something for at least a month to give it a good shot before making up your mind. Please remember that I am not a doctor! But try something different if what you’ve been doing hasn’t worked for you in the past with your goals. Browse Brad Pilon’s site for lots of information on IF – perhaps some of the myths (yes, myths) about keeping your metabolism revved and eating every 3 hours don’t apply to you, but you don’t know until you try a new method. The awesome thing is you can always go back to small meals – there’s no right or wrong, and I’m learning to coach people on what works for their bodies and not just on what we hear preached from the fitness industry.
(a very typical meal for me: greens, veggies, meat and some kid of fat like goat cheese or avocado)
So where’s the “good enough” part to my fasting practice? I don’t worry about the details or follow it to a “T.” Once a week, sometimes twice, I do a 24 hour (or close to it) fast and fast most mornings, but some days I go out to breakfast with friends or I eat if my hunger strikes early at 10 am. I don’t worry about the specifics but incorporate some fasting principles but it’s “good enough” for me. Either way, I fast enough to allow my body a break from digestion and mind a break from planning life around food. 😉
Moderation 365: This concept comes from Jill Coleman, and I’ve blogged about it before, but I’m happy to be eating in a moderate way. In other words, if I really want a donut, I’ll get one, but it’s not a regular or consistent occurrence. At the same time, it’s also not a big deal if I do choose to have a donut! I enjoy a glass of wine on a weeknight and sometimes never on a weekend – nothing changes simply because it’s Tuesday or Saturday. In fact, some days I won’t have more than a piece of fruit in terms of sugar and then I will have liquorice for dinner – it’s moderate, it works for me, it keeps me feeling satisfied and also healthy and is “good enough!”
I actually just started tracking my macros (carbs, proteins and fats) to see where I’m at and aim to be within a certain range, and some days I hit my numbers while other days I don’t (sometimes I track everything and other days it’s loose!). It doesn’t define or control me but does provide some structure – it’s good enough for my nutrition and goals right now!
(currently enjoying as I type – and yep, I tracked all 4 servings of this!)
Brad Pilon says in another post, “Deprivation kills consistency, and consistency is where your results come from.” So for me, liquorice and the occasional glass of red wine are mandatory (yep!) to help keep me from going overboard on good food like peanut or almond butter or from diving headfirst into a bag of cookies when someone opens them.
Move for strength & happiness: There are times when I’ve followed a program (either something like a push/pull program, a follow-along with my online BFF Kindal, or a kettle bell program with a specific goal. But more or less, I try to move often and enough to keep my fitness level up (always be able to do 5 pull ups any time, run a 5 km easy, hike without getting too breathless and keep up with the boys in the backcountry) and do what makes me happy. This is a mix of movement and sustains my goals while keeping me content and consistent in and outside the gym!
Prioritize sleep: The more I learn about sleep, the more I’m shocked by how valuable it is and how much it impacts my life. I think this is one area where we all “know” how important sleep is but still celebrate doing more and resting less. Our culture continues to pride itself on being busy, “only sleeping 4 hours last night because I had so much to do,” and it’s one area that can truly help with stress, relationships, food choices, will power, brain function, sex drive, workouts, recovery, fat loss… The list goes on! I try to be in bed between 10-10:30 pm most nights, make it a practice to not use my phone in bed (which is tough!), and start dimming the lights before I go to bed to get ready for that process. It’s just not worth it for me to stay up late and be groggy at work or over the weekend when I want to be up and out and enjoying life! I don’t beat myself up if I don’t get 8 hours of sleep but I also have some boundaries to help facilitate better rest – all in all, it’s good enough even if it’s not perfect!
Enjoy a mix of play and rest physically and socially. Speaking of weekends, sometimes they’re booked up, sometimes they aren’t, and I vacillate between busy and unscheduled, active and rest. The other weekend was booked from Friday night on and included meeting with friends over dinner, training clients on a Saturday morning, connecting over coffee with some cancer survivors who had non-profit questions, and taking new friends out to back country ski all day Sunday.
It was all great but I was beat by the time Monday rolled around; this last weekend, while social, was much more of a rest with no work Saturday, church Sunday, leisure time by myself at home and connected with friends throughout the weekend. A better balance, but some weekends are heavy on the activity and others on the relaxation – it’s never perfect! – and that rounds out to make it good enough for me.
(grainy but fun – Nicole and I out to dinner at the Boxwood Cafe in Calgary after a movie; we enjoyed EVERY bite and sip of wine we had!)
I’m in a good spot right now, enjoying life, work, movement; food and my community; church and rest time; the mountains and the gym. While I’m always looking ahead (What’s next? How is my balance in all these things? Am I honoring God in how I’m spending my time?), it’s a good place to be. Good enough for now, until my goals or focus, job or life circumstances, tastes or preferences change again!
How are you living “good enough” right now? Do you struggle to be perfect (or close to it) in any one area? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
Have a great rest of your start to February and I will connect with you guys soon! Live well & be well,