Striking a balance

I am determined to lead a better balanced life. I want it all (or at least, as much of it all as I can get): a successful marriage and (at some point soon) children, a satisfying career, a healthy & fit lifestyle, fantastic relationships with my family and friends, a full night’s sleep, and more… not in any particular order. I’ve been learning the hard way that as lovely as it sounds, your life won’t just “fall into place” without a lot of hard work. Over the last three years, I’ve been doing a lot of re-balancing. Let me tell you a bit about the road that led me to this point…

Three years ago, my days were chock full of things I didn’t find enormously enjoyable but they were a must: wake up, work all day, grad school all night, homework until my eyes crossed, squeeze in a few hours of sleep and… do it all again the next day. I also tried have some fun and socialize with my family, Chris (my then-boyfriend, now-husband), and friends. This schedule left little time for me to focus on taking care of myself; my regular workouts fell by the wayside and I ended up putting on a substantial amount of weight. It was completely my fault, and it shouldn’t have been a surprise since I had quietly been buying bigger clothes while promising myself I’d eat better soon and work out harder the next week.

Time passed and little by little, I started to find some balance – I finished grad school, switched positions at work to my field of choice, and moved in with Chris. Something was off though – I still wasn’t satisfied with my body and health. It appeared I wasn’t the only one who noticed I had put on some weight. The kickboxing instructor at my gym, Kim Pearson, suggested I take her “Body Blast” training class at 5:45am. I agreed, and after the initial shock of a very early wake-up call, I made it through the first class intact! It was hard, and I felt like throwing up, but I was determined to work through the discomfort and kept up with class. Further following Kim’s advice, I started following the Eat-Clean Diet and as I began to revamp my pantry and diet, I quickly learned that the key to my ultimate happiness was controlling how I felt physically and mentally. 

In the midst of my fitness makeover, in January 2011, Chris popped the question and we planned our dream wedding in only 9 months. Initially, the time frame stressed me out and I worried that wedding planning was going to distract me from my fitness goals, but I refocused my priorities and made it work while shedding the dreaded “grad school weight” and then some.

Today, exactly one year later, I am 40 pounds lighter than I was when we get got engaged. I married Chris in a beautiful ceremony and we had a fantastic reception that wouldn’t have been half as much fun if I had still been carrying around extra weight and feeling crappy about myself. We started married life off on the right foot and that pretty much brings us full circle in my story. I’ve emerged on the other side of the last few years a better balanced person with refocused priorities and a lifelong commitment to being healthy.

So stick with me and check in often as I share the things in life that challenge my balance in good ways and bad. In the posts that follow, I’ll be sharing trials, tribulations, and triumphs; recipes and workout woes; and various other ups and downs of my days spent looking for harmony among all these moving parts.

Coming up next… a new twist on buffalo wings, just in time for the Superbowl!

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