What “Balance” Means to Me

In collaboration with Sweats & Balances

This post is in response to @sweatsandbalances’s question of what the term “balance” means to me. Check out the piece on their site also!

In today’s world, where the health & wellness movement has taken the forefront of attention, it is nearly impossible to read an article or listen to a podcast without hearing the trigger-word “balance”. It is sometimes being used as a filler to umbrella describe feelings, emotions, or situations that one struggles to fully explain. Some may use the term balance to describe having a kale smoothie for breakfast and a cheeseburger for lunch, or to kick ass in Soul Cycle class one day and then veg out on the couch the next. The term has almost become a noun we use to justify our actions; “hey, it’s all about balance, right?”

The actual definition of balance is “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.” That second part of the definition carries so much weight that we often times overlook. Balance is what keeps us standing and from falling; balance is what keeps us sane; balance is what allows us to (hopefully) remain calm. For me, balance has taken on a new meaning in my life. During my first few years in corporate America, balance meant making sure I was able to run a few mornings a week, trying to eat a salad every once and awhile, and making up for my lost sleep on the weekends. Unfortunately, that “balancing act” didn’t do my body too well. At the time, I didn’t realize that balance meant more than the distance on a treadmill, the food I was putting into my mouth, or the hour on the clock. Although I was attempting to live a so-called “healthy” lifestyle, I felt completely out of whack.

After a slew of digestive issues forced me to begin cooking my own food and get creative in the kitchen, I found my passion. I never knew how much I loved cooking, especially for others, and that there was so much emotion inside of me that I had locked the door on for so long. With this realization, I began Freckled Foodie. My life then became a totally different balancing act: wearing the masks of two seemingly opposite people. During the day, I was working on the trading floor in a loud, competitive, curse-word filled world (no hating on anyone else, I was probably the worst) where I was eating lunch in front of my computer screen still working in between bites. Once I left the office, I was focused on trying to expand my side business of Freckled Foodie and practice everything I preached: healthy eating habits, preparing my own food, meditating, and a well-versed exercise regimen. Throughout it all I tried to consistently remain the friendly, driven, and loving person I strive to be; but damn it was difficult. To fit all of the things I wanted to do in to my day (aka “balance”), I was waking up at 4:20 AM. Was it doable? Yes, I’d like to think I was able to do both efficiently. But, was I feeling as fulfilled as I knew I could? No. It was time for me to choose one of these aspects of my life and throw myself into it fully. As you may have guessed already, I chose Freckled Foodie. By choosing one side of the see-saw of my corporate / blogger world, I guess you could say I was about to throw my life for an “imbalance”.

Now, as my own boss and someone who is trying to find regularity in this new unseen world, balance means something different to me. It no longer has to do with offsetting a dessert by having extra greens the next day (although, the more greens the better in my opinion), or running one more mile since majority of tomorrow will be spent in a bar. Instead, balance now focuses on doing the things I love instead of the things I’m viewing as semi-punishment to “indulge” in something that has been labeled as not as great. Balance means giving myself the opportunity every single day to do something I enjoy; whether it be sitting on my couch and reading for a half hour, enjoying a nice cocktail on my roof, or turning off my phone and spending time with someone I love. Balance also means being okay with putting myself first every once and awhile. Balance is accepting that some mornings when I plan to go for a long run, I may start, realize my legs are dead, and decide to go for a walk instead; news flash – that is totally okay and still great. Currently, my definition of balance is doing more of what you love. Yes, that may sound conflicting to the definition of trying to even two sides of a scale when I am telling you to heavily pour yourself into one, but we so often deprive ourselves of the things we love without realizing that this is really just evening the weight out.

Why I Quit my Job on Wall Street to Place a Bet on Myself

Hands down, the most memorable and remarkable college course I took was “Women in the US Criminal Justice System” my senior year. The class took place in the recreational center of the local prison in our college town. Yes, you read that correctly; the course met once a week for 3 hours in the women’s minimum-security section of the correctional facility. No, we were not teaching the inmates, we were all, in fact, students. When we entered the so-called “classroom”, we were all equals; the college students referred to as “outside students” and the women living in the jail referred to as “inside students”, never once using the word “inmate” or “prisoner”. (I know you’re probably wondering right now why the heck I am telling you about this class in a blog post promised to discuss quitting my job on Wall Street to pursue my passion in the kitchen, but stick with me here.) At the end of the semester we were required to write a paper reflecting on what we learned from this experience. As incredibly moving this course was for me, and as much as I learned about the criminal justice system, I walked away from our last session with the realization that the inside and outside students all shared one thing: the fear of the unknown.

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My Thoughts on Doing Whole30 the Second Time Around

How Whole30 was so Different the Second Time

About exactly one year ago I embarked on my first Whole30 challenge; overwhelmed, intimidated, curious, and weirdly excited. What initially began as a way to hopefully get some answers to some gastrointestinal issues, turned into a much more insightful experience. I learned a lot about myself and my eating habits, specifically that I had a full-blown granola addiction and that I was consuming more sugar than I liked to admit. As outlined in the piece I wrote for Mindbodygreen, I learned that meal prep is an absolute must, you may not need alcohol as much as you think you do, you must listen to your body, and some other important lessons. Fast forward to a year later and I was ready to tackle the Whole30 challenge for the second time around, expecting it to be not too different than the first run. However, now after completing this second go, I am surprised to look back and assess how different these two sets of thirty days were for me.  What was so drastically different? Continue reading “My Thoughts on Doing Whole30 the Second Time Around”