so hard to believe it

I started Monday morning off by stepping onto the scale at the prompting of my heart rate monitor.

I stepped onto the scale a few times over the weekend and had an idea of what the number would be, but I was hopeful that a decent night's sleep would lower the number. It took just a few seconds for those hopes to be dashed.

I've said it before (and will continue to say it for the rest of time). This journey is about so much more than weight loss. But knowing that the journey is about more than weight loss does not remove the sting of watching that number stay the same.

It's a balance. A balance I am still seeking to find. A balance I will likely continue to search for.

Balance is something I struggle with in every aspect of my life. I want so badly to give all of myself to every aspect of my life, but unfortunately, it is not possible to give all of myself to every aspect of life. And so something always falls to the wayside.

I'm not sure how to find the balance right now. Or if I can even find the balance. I've tried to locate balance in the past and strategically place myself somewhere that will allow me to handle every role in my life. But I have always failed.

Life takes over so often. And different things take priority. As life takes over and those different things take priority, balance is often the first thing to go.

When I worked for the state, I gave everything to my job and to the families I worked with. Most weeks involved at least three nights of working past 7:00pm and clocking at least 45 hours. I spent over 50% of my work week driving in a car. Every visit I did lasted at least an hour because every child deserved my full attention. By the time I arrived home, I had nothing left to give.

Then, to make up for those almost two years of focusing just on my job, I tried to focus on church and on my husband. There was no real time left for me to focus on myself, and eventually, I found myself in a place where I was unhealthy and unfit and unmotivated.

I'm at a place right now where most of my time is spent in the gym. I also spend a lot of time grocery shopping and meal planning. When I can, I read about weight loss or watch The Biggest Loser for inspiration. In one week of exercise, I burned over 4000 calories, and yet I lost no weight.

It was on Monday that my trainer said I might be overtraining. And it was on Monday that he suggested I zig-zag my calories (1700 calories one day, 1400 calories two days, 2200 calories one day). He said I was doing all of the right things, but that my body was, essentially, going into starvation mode due to my consuming less calories and burning so many.

To be honest, I wanted to hear nothing that he said. I wanted to continue to push myself past the pain and past the exhaustion. But something clicked on Tuesday night, and I realized that he was right.

I've lost balance. My dedication to this journey has been so strong and so consuming that I have not allowed my body any time to rest. I've watched what I ate so closely on every day of the week, and my body decided it wasn't sure what to do with the exercise and restriction of calories.

Taking my trainer's advice, and also encouraging words from friends, I decided to rest this week. Rather than spend two plus hours at the gym every day, I committed to spending at least 45 minutes a day in the gym. If I felt up to more, then I would do more, but if I didn't, I would spend time at home resting.

In a lot of ways, the week has been hard. I feel like I am slacking or failing by not spending at least two hours in the gym every day. But in other ways, this week has been exactly what I needed. My body aches, especially my knees, and I'm sleeping a lot more than I normally do. It seems like I am catching up on all the rest I did not allow myself for several weeks.

And it's working. The rest and the zig-sag of calories. The advice the trainer gave me and encouragement of friends. All of it is working.

I stepped on the scale this morning and saw a 2.2 pound drop. Not even a week of this attempt at balance has passed, and I've lost over 2 pounds. I'm officially at my lowest weight and have finally surpassed the 25 pounds lost mark.

It took me just over six months, but I've lost 27.2 pounds. My BMI has gone from 38.7 to 34.7.

Now that I have gotten closer to finding balance in my life, I need to figure out how to keep the balance. My time needs to be spent both in the gym and in the grocery store, with my husband, at home and out with friends, and focused on work. Knowing that is one thing, but doing it is something else entirely.

I think there will be a lot of soul searching. A lot of asking the hard questions of myself. A lot of answering those questions. A lot of moving on from those things that, at one point, made me feel like it had to be all or nothing. A lot of moving on from those things that, at one point, made me feel like I wasn't good enough to have everything I wanted.

And as I find that balance, I sincerely hope it will give me more time. More time with my husband. More time to enjoy the blessings God continues to give me. More time to write. More time to dream and then learn how to make those dreams a reality. More time to focus on myself. More time to focus on others and remind them that they, too, are worth the balance.
(title from "the sun will rise" by kelly clarkson)

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