Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Balance and Happiness before Vanity

Moving from the Bay Area back to LA was the best move I made this year. I am having an absolute blast living in LA with my two great roommates, friends, and family. I don’t think there has been a dull moment yet. But, as I alluded to in last month’s entry, my new lifestyle has been tough on my diet and exercise routine. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on where I was and where I am at now and whether I was happier then or now? Overall, I am happier now, but it is hard to accept that I am not in the same peak shape that I was in the Bay Area. I haven’t stepped on the scale since I left the Bay, and honestly I’m a little afraid to. I can tell by how my clothes are fitting that I’ve gained a couple of pounds through this transition back to LA. Sometimes I get down on myself for it too, but then I try to remind myself that this was a hard transition and even though I’ve been here two months now, I am still adjusting and trying to carve out a new life in LA.

I look back on my Bay Area days and realize that maybe what I achieved there isn’t going to be possible for me to achieve in LA. I might need to find a happy medium between what I was doing and what I am doing now (which isn’t quite enough). I work much longer hours in LA and I am surrounded by a lot more temptation and distraction, which isn’t all bad, but can really take its toll on your diet and exercise. But, to be at my peak would mean cutting out a lot of my social life and even some of my sleep. Is it worth it? Is it worth being at the peak if it means being alone? That’s what I’ve really been thinking about this week. I may need to accept that working out 5 days a week for an hour and a half and cooking 90% of my meals isn’t workable anymore. Maybe this lifestyle just isn’t a reality in the context of my new LA lifestyle. I don’t want this blog entry to be misconstrued as me justifying my sliding backwards a little bit or telling people to not work hard on their diet and exercise goals. That is not my point. My first point is that sometimes what worked swimmingly at one point in your life may not work as well at another point and you have to learn to accept that reality and stop beating yourself up. And, my second point is sometimes you need to really reflect on whether your diet and exercise goals are allowing you to lead a full life; don’t throw balance out the window for the sake of vanity. In the Bay, I feel that my routine worked perfectly with my lifestyle. I had the time to invest in it as much as I did and I didn’t have the social demands I have in LA. But, I am happier in LA now that I get to see more friends and family more. And, sure I indulge a little more, but I also feel more connected and fulfilled down here than I did in the Bay. I can’t imagine my Bay Area routine working as well here, and it’s not worth sacrificing sleep or isolating myself from friends and family for the sake of being 2-3 pounds less when I am still very healthy.

Nevertheless, now that I am starting to get used to my lifestyle here, I do see that there is room for improvement with my diet and exercise and I’m ready to take that challenge back on after a little bit of a hiatus (when I say hiatus I mean hitting the gym three days versus five, not letting myself go completely). I have really reflected on these past two months and I think that four days in the gym is probably most manageable for me. I’ve also noticed that I’ve indulged more at work than I should and I think I can easily cut this out as well. These are tweaks I can make that’ll help me manage my health, but still allow me to feel balanced and happy, and that is what truly matters.