A Healthy Living “Facade”

Posted: August 1, 2011 at 7:00 am

Monday morning is upon us yet again. Although I won’t lie. I have welcomed this Monday morning with open arms. In recent posts, I alluded to the fact I haven’t really been on top of my “healthy living game” so to speak. The 80/20 balance of eating I strive for has tipped the scales a little more in the indulgent side’s favor over the past week.

I felt overwhelmed, fatigued, and burnt out a good portion of last week. Those feelings led to a body zapped of energy and killer headache after killer headache. That equated to dinners such as a bowl of cereal with a glass of wine or a plate of french toast.

I have eaten a fair share of meals out of the house. Tuesday, when my first migraine hit, Peter picked us up Atlanta Bread Company for dinner. Friday, when Peter received a special reward at work, we headed out to one of our favorite BBQ spots to celebrate. Last night, when both of us got struck with a sudden super craving for pizza, we found ourselves using one of our save deals for a pizza night out.

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Last week, between Monday and Friday, I only worked out once. I picked myself up by the boot straps running shoes and got myself moving both days this weekend, but it hasn’t been a walk in the park. It took everything I had in me to get straight to the gym for my workout instead of straight to the couch for a nap after church yesterday.  

Do I feel bad about this? No. Like I mentioned in my Body Love Song post, I understand my body (and mind) simply needed a break. I try really hard to stay positive and on top of everything for everyone else, which can leave me crashing very suddenly. I crashed and didn’t want to feel any pressure related to anything last week – including fitting in workouts and preparing healthy meals. Maybe not the healthiest approach out there, but it’s what happened. I felt much, much, much better by Friday after giving myself some time to recoup and relax. But that break didn’t make it easy to jump right back into my standard, healthy, balanced lifestyle. It’s been work picking back up my healthier habits.

Why am I sharing this with all of you? It’s not to throw a pity party. I truly don’t fret missing a lifting session, skipping a run, or scooping yet another bowl of ice-cream. I feel fine and oddly enough, found myself fitting even better in a pair of my “happy weight jeans” than even just a few weeks ago. I know I could have gone way further off the deep end and found myself in binges instead of simply choosing some pizza over salad at dinner. So, I ask again – why am I sharing this with all of you?

Last week’s Fitblog Chat, hosted by Anda of Leaving Fatville, focused on the topic of  honesty in our healthy habits and do we ever “cheat” on our healthy lifestyles and fail to divulge it in our blogs. I mentioned my rough week more in passing, without giving details of extra BBQ meals out or photos of my bowls of ice-cream. It didn’t come out of a place of avoidance or trying to hide behind my “healthy persona”. I did, however, still find myself naturally steering away from those tidbits and towards other post topics, including a new post in my exercises by body part series. I’m not 100% sure why – whether because I had other things to talk about I found more interesting or if I did have some sort of subconscious insecurity of my meals/workouts.

Regardless of all that, I want to say now that I do sometimes struggle with keeping balance. I sometimes want to say I don’t give a toot over how many vegetable servings I have had in a day. I sometimes want to mock my gym clothes as I wear them to laze on the couch with my kids instead. But then I remember, as the fabulous Julie put it so well, sometimes healthy living means saying NO. To the ice-cream. To the call of the couch. To the Groupon deals. This morning I am saying NO and fighting the fight to find myself back in that balance I love so much. It may be hard. But it will be worth it. Oh, it will be worth it. See you at the gym!

  • Do you ever feel like you want to just not worry about healthy choices?
  • What are your thoughts on the material bloggers choose to share? Do you think we may unintentionally (or perhaps intentionally) leave out details because of a pressure to depict a “healthy living persona”?

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78 Comments to “A Healthy Living “Facade””
  1. Mandy says:

    Good for you. Extra rest days and extra treats are a part of life…and will not make us get huge and fat and I think this is really important for people to know. If you can’t enjoy a week or two off plan or extra splurges, then you aren’t going to enjoy other parts of life either. :) I have to remind myself of this when I took an extra rest day this past week to work on house stuff. :)

  2. Sometimes I truly do think we need breaks. If I’m being honest, I took about a 3-5 month break where I didn’t eat as healthy as I could. Lots of meals out. But, it was fantastic and I enjoyed every minute. Plus, it was an eye-opening learning experience that taught me that if I have periods of “over-moderation indulgences” that my body won’t blow up like a balloon and it’s ok from time to time and that I shouldn’t FREAK out everytime like I used to in the past.

    Live and let live I say! :)

  3. Lindsay says:

    Being honest about your choices makes us more accountable. Whether it be to eating more, eating healthy, working out more, resting more, etc. Such a constant balance. But I love what Julie said. It means saying no and not looking back on past regrets. Just focus on the day, right?
    Cheers to a great day Tina!

  4. Bella says:

    You weren’t lying when you said this post would cover pretty much the same thing. In fact I think we are in exactly each other shoes. I only made it to the gym once last week. (Le Gasp!) Some times it is easier to give up. This post really has inspired me and we will be getting back on track together I swear! No more frozen waffles tonight for this lady, home made corn chowder is where it’s at!

    As far as what bloggers share with material choices, I think that a lot of bloggers share what they are comfortable with. I am sure sometimes they put their healthy personas above some small unhealthy details. Yet I also notice when a healthy living blogger falls of the wagon in a mega way that they tend to share it. In my opinion it helps me get over the boulder in my life and connect with people who are struggling with the exact same thing.

  5. I appreciate your honesty in this post :)

    Realistically, we ALL struggle with exercise routines and maintaining that “happy balance”– but it takes a truly special individual to be able to talk about it openly & honestly for all the world to see.

    You rock those rest days, girl ;)

  6. Congrats on havIng the ability to let go when you need to! Sometimes your body cries “uncle.” I needed this reminder!

  7. I think all healthy living bloggers have to ask themselves these questions from time to time and I think it’s great that you’re so open about them. In the beginning I think I struggled with these things more so than I do now. Because I’ve been reading blogs longer than I’ve been writing my own, I know that I like to see honest blogs (like yours) that don’t sugarcoat their healthy balance, so I try to do that on my blog as well. A healthy balance doesn’t mean 100% balance all the time. Sometimes it means balancing a not-so-healthy week with a healthy week. I think showing that is very important.

  8. OMG – yes. I wish I could just go on with life with no thinking about stuff like what I eat and getting my exercise done. The latter is much more automatic. The eating thing… sigh. As for what bloggers share… I am sure that happens often because I have seen many confessions. Sometimes a blogger has shared with me privately, via email, because there is something they want to say with someone who will understand but just don’t want to post about it.

  9. I love how honest and real you are on your posts! I try not to worry about un-healthy choices…but its hard!! I want to try and be flexible with my choices though :)

  10. Lee says:

    There are definitely things that I don’t share. I don’t know if it’s really so much that I feel like it goes against my healthy living persona, but more the nature of my blog. I don’t post everything that I eat.

  11. Tina I appreciate your honesty — sometimes I share about splurges, but not all the time. My blog isn’t all about my daily eats which is why I don’t think I need to include them all the time.

    • Tina says:

      I’m the same way. I regularly have some sort of something sweet on a daily basis. I portion it wisely so it still certainly fits a balanced lifestyle. But since I dont blog all my eats, I certainly don’t feel the need to always share it either.

  12. Kelly says:

    I think some bloggers feel like they have to act a certain way, exercise a certain amount and eat certains foods in order to live up the healthly living standard they have set for themselves. I literally cringe when I read blog posts where bloggers feel the need to justify to us what they ate or what exercise they did/did not do. It isn’t about that….not at all.

    • Tina says:

      Yea. Those types of posts drive me crazy too. I know I have probably done it myself just out of old habits…but its definitely unnecessary.

  13. I love the honesty here. Truth be told, I’ve been taking a 4-day break from exercising right now.
    I still kind of get down on myself for not eating healthy and like you, it gives me massive headaches! I was at Panera Bread the other day & I ordered 2 bowls of French Onion Soup right after the other! Sodium attack 101.
    Taking a break once in a while is not bad at all, and can feel awesome! But it always feels great to get back on track :)

  14. You totally made me smile with your comment about just saying no to groupon deals. Too funny. :-)

    I try to be honest on my blog, but I do feel pressure sometimes to live up to a certain standard that I know I don’t always meet. I think readers appreciate honesty, though, and want to know that we are real people with real struggles, too.

  15. I love this post! Sometimes I tell myself that being healthy means allowing myself to eat what I want.. and then I usually eat TOO much of what I want and forget that treats are obviously more than allowed but should still be consumed in moderation. I think I’m pretty honest with my blog and share my struggle with this.. right now I’m openly working on my quest to quit the calorie counting that has consumed me for years!

  16. I definitely feel the same pressure you do. I wish, for just one day, I could go back to my college mindset of not thinking about food, just enjoying it.

    But we all have good days and bad days and there’s always today to make a fresh start.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing! I always love how honest you are :) . There are definitely times when I want to say “screw you” to healthy choices and just not worry about it- but usually that doesn’t work haha. I try to be honest about my choices on my blog…but since I only post once a day- and I don’t generally post all of my eats- then that stuff doesn’t always come up.

  18. Kat says:

    I think we all occassionally feel a need to project a certain image, but I also think that posts about areas in your life where you don’t feel you’re doing as well as you should are some of the most well received – it makes us all feel less alone! and of course, we are all our own worst critics ;)

  19. Holly says:

    I had that sort of week last week also. The girls were getting a little cold at the end of last week so we stayed home from the gym Thursday and Friday, Friday was the Hubby’s bday which meant (brownies, ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate syrup)x2, and than Saturday was a kids birthday party with pizza and cake. I tried to get back on the wagon Sunday but whenever I “commit” to eating well and counting calories a bit it actually makes me eat MORE..so it always backfires! We are hitting up the gym in a few minutes and I can’t wait to get back at it this week!

  20. Khushboo says:

    With each post, i appreciate your honesty even more! I am actually putting up a post today about getting back into exercise after a week off…it was SO hard but I did it and am so glad i resisted my bed’s pleas this morning to stay with it! I find that some time off focusing strongly on ‘healthy living’ does me a world of good both mentally and physically (ironically i find i look leaner after a few days off exercise). As for temporarily letting go of healthy habits, I used to find it impossible to do so even on holidays. THis time I did and enjoyed every morsel o food that i felt like, healthy or not and looking back, I’m so glad I did. Otherwise chances are I would be kicking myself now- life’s too short!

    Thanks for your portrayal of your balanced approach to healthy living and as i truly believe, it’s healthy to be unhealthy sometimes!

  21. Paula says:

    There is nothing wrong with a break here and there…in fact I think the ability to take a break without feeling guilt is a sign of a healthy mindset!

  22. Jess says:

    I actually had a mini “sick of saying ‘no’ moment” this past weekend and I allowed myself to slip back into mindless eating habits. And I have to say, I felt awful the next morning when I looked back at the mindless things I ate, just because – not because I needed it or was even hungry, but because it was there and I was tired of saying ‘no’ and just wanted to stop thinking about healthy living for five seconds. But then I sat back and took stock – I actually felt pretty crappy the next day because of it (physically and mentally) and it reminded me that THIS is why I love to live a healthy life. Sure we all slip up now and then – but living healthy just makes me feel good, on so many levels. so to me, it’s worth it – and yes, that sometimes does mean a mindless eating moment to remind me of that. Is this comment even making sense?? I have no idea, I’m in rambling mode, but I hope it kind of does at least. ;-)

    • jobo says:

      I would have totally just said what Jess did. As for not including certain tidbits from last week? I probably would have veered in that direction too, not to purposely not divulge but just because well, who always wants to own up, ya know? It happens to the best of us, and picking yourself up and starting anew today is the best approach, and your healthy living approach is by far, one of the best I’ve seen out there. Keep it up :)

  23. Haley Q says:

    Secretly I welcome those days where veggies don’t matter with arms wide open because it gives me an excuse to have an endless cereal bowl.
    Love your honesty, because I think most bloggers tend to not include their indulgences. I think it would be absolutely crazy if someone never tipped the balance of their healthy lifestyle and had an off week (or 2 or 3 weeks) here and there. It’s healthy to take a week off and just do what your body is telling you! Good for you for actually listening to it!

  24. Could you hit the nail on the head any better? Saying “no” is just as important as saying “yes”. A hard lesson to learn sometimes, but when you do, it’s amazing what can come of it.

    Again, thanks for being a “blend” and an inspiration. Here’s to a fabulous week!

  25. Therese says:

    I would LOVE to not worry about every little healthy lifestyle choice. But I completely agree with you when you said, “I know I could have gone way further off the deep end and found myself in binges instead of simply choosing some pizza over salad at dinner.”

    I’m getting better at not giving myself a hard time with decisions like that because to be honest, sometimes choosing the convenient, easy dinner or some “junk food” that you’ve been craving DOES stave off a binge, and that’s more important to me in the long run.

  26. Suzanne says:

    Everyday

    Yes (human nature)

  27. Sometimes I have weeks like that and it just makes me appreciate my healthy living style that much more. Because i eat healthy the majority of the time that one week isnt going to kill me or put me behind the wheel that much!

  28. This really made me think. I feel like I leave out a lot of “indulgences” as well, and I truly don’t do it on purpose. I am much more relaxed with eating than I used to be, and think breaks are important. I know if I go too far in the other direction, I feel awful, so I basically eat well to feel well, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving our bodies a break. It feels nice to just let loose for awhile!

  29. Absolutely — there are plenty of times when I leave out stuff because part of me also doesn’t want to admit to the “guilt”. Twice last week I went to town on a jar of PB using Pretzel sticks and a spoon as well. And then I continued to eat afterward.

    I should share that stuff though becauase it makes me human andmakes me, me!

  30. Megan says:

    I wrote a similar post yesterday. This weekend just wasn’t a great weekend. I didn’t feel like myself, and I ate junk food just because it was there. For the first time in months, I wanted to eat cheap, tasty processed food, just because I can. I didn’t care if it didn’t fill me up, it tastes good!

    I think we all need a break sometimes. As long as we can get ourselves out of that funk before it becomes too detrimental, I think it’s okay.

  31. And this is exactly why I read the blogs I do. The ones that don’t feel like they’re putting on a facade. I understand some blogs are meant to only focus on 1 thing but when they are “marketed” as healthy living and only show one side of the story, I get turned off. Yours and Julies are two of the most balanced ones out there so thanks for sharing it all!

  32. It irritates me how easy it is to stray away from good habits but how hard it is to get back to them! So frustrating! You’re doing an amazing job though! We do need a break from time to time :D

  33. I completely agree with you, and wrote a similar post last week! Our bodies know what they need!

  34. I can totally relate to how you feel. Living “healthy” 100% of the time isn’t possible and believing that it is will tip us in the opposite direction. Our bodies know best and as long as we listen to what they need instead of letting outside expectations dictate our behaviors, then we can really by healthy and happy. Sometimes listening is the hard part, so good for you for taking its cues.

  35. helen says:

    I truly believe that on occasions our bodies need a bigger break than just one or two rest days during the week. I stand by the 80/20 model the same as you do, but will willingly admit that I do have moments where it is probably more 60/40….lol! I do not try to hide my true eating patterns. I think most bloggers are honest about what they consume. Like wine and chocolate!

  36. This is a great thought-provoking post. First of all, good for you for taking a break and being okay with that… I am envious of your mindset and hoping I will reach that point one day too.
    Some bloggers are not honest about what they eat and indulge in, but I don’t usually read those. I try to follow the ones that are honest about their life… it’s why I love yours m’dear!

    • Tina says:

      Aw, thanks, Tessa. Love your openness too! :)

      And you WILL get to a balanced place. you’re working it out day by day. Keep it up!

  37. Sounds like you needed a little break from being health conscious and we all need that sometimes. Even if you stick to the 80/20 rule, that still involves resisting temptation on countless occasions (work, social events, restaurants, etc) and it can be exhausting. Taking a little break from worrying about it can be healthy… although I do find it can be hard to get back on track if you’ve taken a longer break than usual. But it sounds like you’re motivated to get back into the swing of things and I’m sure you’ll be back to your healthy, energetic self in no time ;)

    As for the second question, I make a point of posting when I’ve eaten something not so healthy because I think it’s important to be honest and show that being healthy doesn’t mean eating perfectly 100% of the time.

  38. I don’t like it when bloggers share the 3-meals-a-day kind of thing. I honestly think they are doing it to keep themselves accountable and that’s the only facade. I think it’s kind of…weird…not normal!

    This was a good, honest post. I think it’s okay to share and also okay to be mad at yourself about the week (or just frustrated). I have felt like that a lot lately and it is inspiring to see you pick up and keep going, not just throw your hands in the air. :)

  39. Hi Tina, this is a great post and something I can relate to. It’s so easy to “fall off” the healthy living bandwagon and a struggle to get back on track. But you’re right, striving for balance requires effort every day and some days it’s just harder. I’m a food blogger so I don’t need to “censor” what I share, but I do make it a personal choice to always strive for balance in my life.

  40. Zahra says:

    I can totally relate! I do get so super sick of always watching what I eat, or even worse the feelings of dread about going to parties and events where I am not sure how strong my will power will be! Friends and coworkers always remark, “I wish I had your discipline!”…I am always quick to admit that I do indulge in the occasional treat, it’s important! Some people feel like it’s all or nothing and get discouraged before they even try to adopt a healthy life style. Thanks again for your honesty! We’ve all had those weeks, but it just reminds us that we’re human, we suck it up, and we get right back on the horse!

  41. Love your honesty. I think I feel like not worrying about healthy eating every day.

  42. Thank you SO much for being honest in this post. It goes to show that you are a normal person :D . I love it that there are many inspirational blogs out there to read but there are times where I’m a little overwhelmed with those that appear to have the “perfect, healthy lifestyle”. I claimed yesterday as my official Day of Indulgence and think it’s perfectly okay to have a day or a week where you need to take it easy and treat yourself. Doing that without feeling guilty is easier said than done but it’s something that I’m working on.

  43. Elena says:

    I totally think we all need a break sometimes! There are times I definitely don’t care at all about watching my food or working out. I DO know that an early morning workout makes for a better mood for me so I can usually (although definitely not always) talk myself in to that.) The food is much, much harder for me!

    That being said, I currently have a broken leg and can’t WAIT to get back to working out as I have been on a forced break for awhile now! However, I’m sure a month or so in I’ll be ready for a rest day or two:)

  44. i think healthy living INCLUDES those kind of days where you just don’t care if you pick up that extra piece of pizza or you haven’t exercised in a few days. It’s about not stressing over your food and exercise. That’s not healthy. Sometimes saying no is involved. It’s a balance, and I think we all have to create our own balance.

  45. Lisa says:

    I think this is a good topic to discuss. I think too often this little “bubble” of the fitblog world only shows the sparkling, happy, perfect times and not the struggles. Not many share the food issues, the indulgences, the food sneaking, maybe the fight with the partner over workout time vs. family time, and other issues that are all a normal part of life.

  46. I am so glad you posted this. I oftentimes go “off the rails” on the weeknds and find myself in the middle of a 2-day pig out. I always welcome Mondays to get back myself back on track and back into a healthier, more regimented routine. I tend to beat myself up about it too. I give myself the whole “why would you do that, you were so good all week, you just undid all of the good you did!” But I have learned that it happens, and you move on. You just gotta get back on the horse and ride to healthytown. I am just glad to know that I am not alone out there. It happens.

  47. I love this post, as well as Julie’s Sometimes Healthy Living Means Saying NO! It’s difficult sometimes to care about health like you should. I’ve been doing great for weeks not, but today, not so much. I got up and ran this morning and have eaten well most of the day. My dinner plans aren’t bad either. But thinking about blog content really forced me to reflect on this issue today. I’m creating a WIAW post out of my meals from today, and I got hungry and started craving Amy’s pizza. My first thought was, “I can’t eat that; I’ll have to show it on my WIAW post.” And my second thought was, “Could I just leave it off the post? No…that’s not honest when I’m showing a whole day’s worth of food.” Having read Julie’s post just last night, this really hit home. I had two slices of oven-baked pizza. I wanted them. I was hungry. This is not a problem. And it’s certainly not something to be ashamed of. I also had a snack of soy beans. So get over myself, eat what I want, and fess up to the pizza. There’s nothing wrong with me for wanting it, and I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who feels like I should hide it, even though I know that, honestly, it’s okay. Healthy living is all about balance, not about only putting green foods in your mouth.

  48. [...] WordPress PluginSince I had a rather wordy post earlier – feel free to add to the discussion on the “health persona” of blogging – I shall share the weekend update links now. In case you missed [...]

  49. Ela says:

    I think it makes great sense that you’re talking about the struggles you had last week _now_, rather than at the time. When I’m going through a challenging period, often my first impulse is to blog about it ‘in the raw,’ but I almost always decide to leave it a few days and then talk about it. I fear that when I write about it in the thick of the struggle, it might come out as more of a pity party and with less perspective and hope than I’m intending.

    I think that what you shared today is just great–and given the amount of working out you’ve been doing, I’m sure your body needed a rest.

    I’ve been massively increasing my exercise lately, and am having some struggles of my own with managing needs for extra food and rest, so I really appreciate your experiences.
    love
    Ela

  50. [...] This post was Twitted by TinaFFF [...]

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