I hate balance!

And while we’re at it, I can’t stand the word ‘journey’! *shudder* After my gap year in France I returned absolutely fluent in French and although I’m now ‘un petit peu’ rusty, my strong command of it continually shows up the English language as sorely lacking for expressive adjectives, French is just so… well, sexy! So for the sake of this post, I will reluctantly use these words to illustrate my point. *WARNING* This is a deeply personal post filled with pre-comp ab selfies and photos of me flexin (I look like that now – well, except for several extra rolls of padding) 😉 If you don’t wanna see a mama proud of her guns, look away now…

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An innocent question on my facebook page had me in a spin last week. Knickers in a knot an err’thang!

“Curious to know, is there anything you miss or even slightly miss that isn’t clean?” ~Taryn

The short answer is: having to trawl the coast for non-vegetable oil fish and chips (thanks to my lovely friend Ronelle from 98 Fish for making the most insanely amazeballs tallow-fried fish with homemade gluten-free batter!). I also miss some South African choccies – like Cutie Pies (think wafer biscuits topped with a dome of Italian meringue and coated in milk chocolate – mmmmm come at me!) and smashing down a 250g slab of Cadbury’s Top Deck… sometimes Fruit & Nut, also partial to some Sea Salt Lindt…

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The long answer has been swirling around this flexin’ mama’s brain for a few months. Whilst prepping for my bodybuilding comp last year, I swore BLIND that I would come out of prep with a clean slate. I wanted to finish with a decent baseline of bodyfat and a healthy enough headspace with which I could move forward, eat 80/20, listen to my body, continue to train like a machine and just transition back into ‘normal’ eating. I came off stage in a fog of sheer euphoria (I LOVED competing!) and severe dehydration. Within 2 hours of kicking off my stripper heels I had drunk 3 litres of coconut water. I managed a stirfry for dinner followed by the single most sumptuous scoop of icecream that I think I’ve ever had in my life! The next couple days it looked to me as if I had this balance thing nailed! I wasn’t bingeing, I was allowing myself food freedom for the first time in months and I was feeling fantastic! Surely it couldn’t be this easy…It wasn’t, it isn’t.

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Although the specifics are sketchy it must’ve happened somewhere between looking after sick kids, missing a few gym sessions and my personal kryptonite catching up with me – sugar. All of a sudden I found my clothes tightening and myself, internally obsessing. The more I tried to gain control, the more things spiraled out of my control. Thankfully I was still loving my training but then again, I always have – I’m not one of those people who have to drag myself to the gym, I LOVE it! After such limited and strict food choices during my comp prep, this absolute freedom was paralysing. I was like a child without boundaries – I didn’t know anymore what was acceptable. I couldn’t remember how my body thrived. I just knew that I was eating sugar again and I liked it! Despite my skin resembling a roadmap on a teenager, despite sucking on my asthma puffer daily and waking up every morning in a debilitating fog of food hangover… I liked it! My glands were swollen and my throat was sore… all the time! Nothing that massive daily doses of Vitamin C couldn’t keep at bay… in the meantime, keep shoveling… Christmas in Fiji didn’t help either.

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So here we are, half way through February and I still have not achieved that elusive goal of balance. Sure, it’s easy to say it’s a vain goal (this is a ‘vain’ post after all…) but did you notice I haven’t once mentioned my weight? Although that number is, to some extent, a marker of health, that number is not my primary concern. Having been previously diagnosed as pre-diabetic and insulin resistant and since I carry my weight around my middle, it’s especially imperative for me, that I maintain a lean middle. If that’s vain, then so is my entire pursuit for health. What do I even mean by balance anyway? I guess I mean consistency. Instead of one great day, one ok day, one binge day, another good day (inspired by guilt) and so on and so forth, I strive for consistency. Being consistent in my food choices, consistent in my head space, consistent in my 80/20, consistent in remembering WHY I eat how I do, consistent in enjoying the 20 part – minus the guilt.

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Obsessing, healthy, balance, moderation, sugar, headspace, normal, kryptonite… Where do all these words leave me?! Honestly? I am still floundering somewhat but here’s what I do know: I know myself and I my body extremely well and I know that I need to trim off some fat for the sake of my long term health. And… after some reflection, I finally feel like I know what I need to do. To get back to that place where I can happily eat all my beloved whole foods, enjoy my raw chocolate treats and some gluten-free sourdough on the weekend whilst still fuelling myself to smash that iron in the gym (yeah!!). Now the trick is, to navigate this with joy and with love for the body which God gave me. With gratitude for the capable body which birthed my 3 beautiful girls, the body that my husband still tells me is hot with a glint in his eye, the body which allows me to follow my dreams, pursue my interests and that houses my soul.

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Deep much? Yeah, well, so is my belly button at the moment… and it’s time to get to the bottom of it 😉 So I guess now that I’ve used up my daily quota of cliched ‘fit girl’ words like ‘balance’ (blergh!)  ‘journey’ (vomit!) and ‘health’ (heave!) let’s deconstruct: I eat to fuel lifting those heavy weights, I eat for beautiful clear skin, I eat to eliminate my asthma, I eat to maintain a strong, solid core, I eat to bounce out of bed every morning, I eat to demonstrate a love of food to my girls, I eat for joy in life, I eat to protect my body from disease, I eat for longevity and I eat because it’s awesome, fun and delicious!

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In answer to your question Taryn, I don’t miss anything at the moment because up until now I haven’t been eating consistently well enough TO miss anything! But, thanks to your innocent question, I have now deconstructed things and shall now be moving forward, pursueing that ever elusive balance on my journey to health 😉 Anyone wanna join me?

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Comments
7 Responses to “I hate balance!”
  1. Brooke Smith says:

    Hey Jodie,
    Great pics and great post! You should be very proud of yourself. I eat really well which keeps me slim as a happy side affect but I do it 100% for health (gf/df/sf). I also carry my excess around my middle and I hate it… If I cut back my carbs (fruit, starchy veg, quinoa) I can get leaner but I’ve decided to get fit and start at the gym etc. and take that approach instead. Any tips for how you trim up your middle? I’m guessing its done by weights – toning and trimming your entire body?
    Best of luck with finding balance, ill send you some willpower if you send me some muscle 😉
    Brooke x

    • Jodi says:

      Your comment made me smile Brooke, thank you!! Like you, getting my weight down is absolutely for health reasons, I feel awful with the extra 5kgs, sluggish and it affects my training which makes me mad cos I love to train! Moving forward from today, I am pretty much doing the same as you, cutting back on carbs and replacing them with lots of nourishing and fueling fats!

      Ab wise, the old saying ‘abs are made in the kitchen’ definitely rings true ie: the leaner you are, the more likely they are to shine through. Having said that the days after training abs I definitely noticed a difference! My coach had my doing weighted ab exercises rather than millions of reps unweighted, much like how I train the rest of my body, high weights, low reps. She made me so hanging leg raises, so I would strap myself to the top of the squat rack and dangle, then, without momentum lift my legs. It is waaaaaay harder to do than it sounds! Also she made me do what seemed like hours of different planking things, with 5-10kg plates on my back. Another good one is lying flat on the ground with a bench above your head. Hold onto the bench to help anchor you, then lift your straight legs above your head, even getting your pelvis off the floor with a little squeeze at the top, then sloooowly put your straight legs back down the floor. No momentum though and really squeezing your abs and using your core to do all the work. Push your lower back into the ground, if there’s any pain, stop doing it. That one’s a killer! Another one is decline weighted sit ups with a 10kg plate. Shew!

      It’s done, we’re trading will power for muscle… although willpower is a muscle – the more you use it, the easier it is to use! 😉 Jodi x

  2. Rebecca says:

    Love it Jodi, great post. I’m still ‘absorbing’ your thoughts and trying to decide where I am…
    Definitely on a ‘journey’… I definitely don’t eat like I used to. But I’m not sure ‘how far’ I want to go into raw/vegan/gf/df/sf… still researching what I need.
    Keep the info coming : )

    • Jodi says:

      That is so cool Rebecca, thank you for sharing hun! As much as I can’t stand that word, it is what we’re all on though, a journey and the best part about it is how individualised it is. I totally believe that there’s no one best way for all of us. And your body will let you know what it wants, it’s amazing! The pressure we put on ourselves to eat so strictly a certain way, releases so much cortisol into your body which will make us sick anyway so we may as well get fit and healthy whilst still enjoying our food and finding a way to exercise that we enjoy! Stay in touch please?! Jodi x

      • Rebecca says:

        Aha… Cortisol… I must look that up. Every time I’ve ever really focused on trying to eat ‘healthier’ I found I’ve always put on weight. That will be some interesting research.
        Currently I do cook pretty much everything from scratch and avoid processed foods as much as possible.
        But as a baker and Patisserie student it’s still hard to stay away from the cakes, cookies & muffins although I’m now just ‘tweaking’ the ones I make for ‘everyday’ to be much healthier & ‘powered up’ too. Sugar is definitely my weakness (in baked goods), and with a hubby who has a real sweet tooth it can be difficult to avoid the sugar as I’m a ‘see it and eat it’ girl.
        I’m trying to up the exercise at the moment but that is a challenge with a 4yr old and a (nearly) 2yr old. But I’ll get there : ) Just gotta keep moving forward. Literally.

  3. Jo says:

    Oh babe I fricken love this post! Thanks for being so open and honest about your journey 😉 I get where you are coming from and similar thoughts have been welling up in my mind for a while now. I know for me I don’t like to feel restricted by sticking to rules of diets.. I want to eat for health, longevity, love of good food, respect for mother nature and all she provides but without guidelines and my “i just feel like a little icecream” it all too often turns into a bowl or two with “ok maybe just a leeetle malt powder on it” and before I know it i’m having 20 tsp of sugar between breakie and dinner.

    Consistency is key .. because we all love progress. When we have one good day then a bad day it keeps us stuck. We get on the starting block and have a false start. I know thats how I’ve been feeling lately trying to work out my choices.

    I love how you mention love and gratitude for your body. I have had a terrible past few months .. I eat well during the day and then completely self sabotage at night and I’ve been trying to figure out why.The worst is being completely aware of what you’re doing and not wanting to stop but I have come to realize that it can only be faced with love. Eating badly is a form of self loathing. Only when we learn to love ourselves and love ourselves unconditionally (not just when we make good choices) can we really start to eat for the right reasons.

    There is no magic pill, it takes consistent, small steps. Often in the seemingly insignificant choices we are faced with every day, our destiny is shaped and I know what shape I want mine to look like haha.

    We should have a skype sesh this week 🙂

  4. Tanya says:

    Thanks Jodi! Great post! I too am struggling a bit at the moment. We are in an epic battle with this drought at the moment. Weeks blur past, a weekend is a thing of the past, the heat is insane and some days it is all just too hard. SO I have been eating my feelings. And they taste like beer, kettle chips, water crackers and cheese ;-). I have no allergies or intolerances however I know I feel my best when I limit my carbs and shun processed foods for veges, fruits, protein and fat. But my willpower muscle has grown weak in the last few weeks so it’s time to flex that sucker! People have often told me how good I am looking and what do I do and I simply say “I say no more times than I say yes!” time to start taking my own advice again methinks!!

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