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  • Writer's pictureMary Bushkuhl

Life in Balance

Life is a delicate balance that is ever-shifting as we make decisions that affect that balance. Whether it's what we are eating, how we deal with stress, whether to work out or rest, to be healthy or sick, our body constantly tries to achieve a healthy state.

How do we achieve a healthy balance? It's quite obvious when we are sick or injured that we are out of balance. We need more rest, less stress and more nutritious foods to help the healing process. By fighting the body's natural healing process (pushing ourselves through stress, eating crappy, not getting the rest needed) we delay the healing process. And we wonder why healing is taking so long. Hmmmmm.

The same goes for exercise. Too often we think that the harder the workout the better it is for us. I learned (and keep re-learning) the lesson of varying your workout intensity, volume and frequency. Even our elite athletes have to continually balance their workouts to stay healthy, reach peak at the right time, and make progress in getting stronger, faster, leaner and more flexible.

If you end up injured, sick or in a chronic tired state, this is your body signaling you to take a break! It needs to reset. By talking to a professional about your goals with working out, you can develop strategies to maintain a good balance.

Stress plays a huge role in our lives. The stress of work can bleed into our home lives as well as our recreation/ workout.... And it also holds true that our workout/recreation can interfere with our home or work life. Finding a good balance will only create better harmony in all aspects of your life. If you have had a particularly stressful day at work, a hard workout may be what you think you need. The last thing your body needs is more high stress thrown at it. For your body's sake, taking a yoga class, doing a long slow run or bike ride will do more for your body in dissipating that stress.

Eating a balanced diet is the single hardest habit we have. Too many of us feel rushed or clueless as to how to get a good, healthy balanced meal.

Whether we are trying to lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, or eat to train, there are several things to keep in mind.

When planning a meal keep to these rules:

1. Plan your protein first (chicken, beef, bison, fish, dairy, eggs, beans, tofu, etc.)

2. Pick your fibrous carbohydrate second (vegetables first, fruits limited)

3. Starchy carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, rice, oatmeal) only if you are burning a lot of calories. Going for an hour run, 2 hour bike ride, where you are burning things up, should be the only time to consider these.

4. Don't forget the fat! Choosing avocados, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil are important to your diet. These help to keep you satisfied longer.

5. Misses. Yes you can have your sweet treat. Just remember that your sweet should only comprise 10% of your total daily calories.

How to make your plate:

1. Make the protein and fibrous veggies the largest portion on your plate. High protein meals create a sense of fullness, which helps to reduce excessive caloric intake and promote fat loss.

2. Make the healthy fats the smallest part of your plate.

3. Starchy carbohydrates and fruits should be small and limited.

Maximize nutritional benefits:

1. Protein is the building block of muscles

2. Starchy carbohydrates are a great energy source. Remember, most people get enough carbohydrates from their vegetables and some protein sources.

3. Fibrous carbohydrates move it all through the body and provide energy.

4. Fat decreases inflammation, improves joint and heart health, and aids in disease prevention and cognitive function.

Always remember, in the delicate balance of nutrition you can allow yourself splurge meals. Remember the 85/15 rule. Eat right 85% of the time and give yourself a break 15% of the time. In real world terms, that's about 1 in every 7 meals – so if you are eating four meals a day, that means one of your meals can be in the “not-so-good-for-you” category every two days. That's how moderation works.


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