Obsession Versus Neglect: How to Find the Right Self-Care Balance

I remember it well. 

I just finished speaking to a group of 100 women about loving your body. Shortly after, a sweet woman came up to me with tears in her eyes asking me how to find the right balance between feeling obsessed with making changes to her body and neglecting herself. She told me she was wearing herself out at the gym trying to be perfect, and her body was changing just like she wanted, but she was so obsessed making sure she put in her time at the gym, she felt like other things in her life were getting neglected and completely out of balance. I could tangibly feel her frustration and her true desire to love and care for the body she was in, but also how to have a balance in other areas of her life. 

Have you ever been there? Wanting to make a change but feeling the need to be perfect at that change or else you’ll end up back where you started?

Hi, I’m Elizabeth and I’m here to help you become a woman of wellness by healing your relationship with food and loving your body. Today’s topic is one I approach with the most sensitivity and love I can for you because I’ve been there and I know you’ve either been there or are there right now. And no matter what degree of frustration you have with your body, know that you’re in the right place and I hope my message today will help you find more hope, more love for your body, and a way to find a balance that makes you feel your best. 

Today I want to talk about balance. 

Do you know who the world’s biggest perfectionist is? Me. Yep, it’s true. I’ve been known to buy at least probably a thousand notebooks with the desire to start journaling but in order to do it I must have the perfect cute notebook, the perfect pencil, and not miss one single day. I’m embarrassed to tell you how many journals have about 5 pages written in them and the rest of it is blank because I become paralyzed when I don’t do it perfectly. 

Do you ever feel this way with your health? If you want to lose weight or make a change, you have to do it perfectly or what’s the point in starting?

I’ve been there soooooo many times. 

Perfectionism is crippling. It stops you before you even start. 

I have tried to organize a perfect house at least 25,463 times. Yeah, I think that’s the right number. I have a vision of how the toys are organized perfectly, and how we have a perfect cleaning schedule, and how we never have clutter lying around. And guess what? Every time I do that, my house gets even more cluttered (I seriously don’t know how it happens) and my anxiety skyrockets. It’s so frustrating. 

It’s even more frustrating that I KNOW that perfectionism won’t get me anywhere, but I still try it. But I know that one of the reasons I’m not able to get a handle on it is because I don’t know how to approach it. Every time I go in with the fallback idea of it’s going to be perfect this time. There’s that word again.

How many times have you said that to yourself? This time will be better? The 25,463 times before were just practice rounds. My mom always used to tell me I was really good at learning things the hard way. But, then I realized (after 30+ years of life experience) that the only way we learn is the hard way. We learn because we mess up and find a way to change it. We continually make mistakes, fall off the path, get back on the path, and we do it with everything. 

Wouldn’t you say the drive for perfection is sooooo much more common in the health and wellness arena? How many times have you tried to make a change to your lifestyle? How many diet plans have you started? How many exercise programs have you bought with the best of intentions? And as soon as you’re not perfect, you move on. First, you get frustrated and go on a binge of some sort, maybe a food binge or a couch potato binge? 

So, how do you know where the perfect balance between obsession and neglect of your body is? 

I wish I had the perfect number for you, like 25,463 workouts, or 25,463 calories per month (I don’t even know, I just made that up and remember we don’t count calories over here). But, the truth is, your balance is uniquely yours. 

But, I do have a guide for you to help you find your balance. Phew, were you worried I was just going to leave you hanging? I’m not going to give you the perfect plan to follow, but I do have a roadmap that I think will really help as you work on finding your own happy balance. 

When wondering how to find a better wellness balance in your life, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What do I want?

  2. What is realistic for me?

  3. What season of life am I in right now?

  4. What are my priorities?

  5. What are my non-negotiables?

First, What do I want?

What does becoming a woman of wellness look like to you? Go deeper than just physical appearance. What do you feel like as a woman of wellness? What are you able to do? How would you describe your relationship with food? How would you describe your relationship with your body? What would movement and exercise look like in your daily life? Instead of looking for a number on a scale or a dress size, go deeper with yourself. Write it down as a guide for your journey and a reminder of your “why”. 

Second, what is realistic for me?

My husband has a co-worker that is a figure competitor. Just the other day he told me that she wakes up at 3 AM to walk on her treadmill for 2 hours, then spends an hour at the gym and fills most of her day with meal prepping and eating a diet that allows her body to be competition ready. 

I have nothing against figure competing and setting and reaching goals, but for me, that lifestyle sounds absolutely painful. And I’m guessing if you’re here, you’re probably not wanting to be a bodybuilder either. 

Is it realistic for you to hit the gym at 5 AM when you’re up most of the night wondering if your teenager will actually show up before curfew? You’ve probably heard that exercise is best in the morning (which is a myth by the way), but what if you’re not a morning person? Do you think an early morning exercise session is going to awaken some inner morning goddess that’s been dying to come out? Maybe, but probably not. 

It’s true that often we have to make sacrifices to change our lives, but make sure those sacrifices are not so hard that you’ll want to stop before you even start. Write down what is realistic for you right now. 

Third, “what season of life am I in right now?”

When I have little babies, I do the bare minimum to keep myself alive. Just like seasons of the weather, we have seasons in life. Sometimes we have seasons to slow down and other times we have seasons to blossom and grow. Ask yourself what season you’re in and honor it the best way possible. How can you become a woman of wellness in THIS season?

Make a list of your non-negotiables. 

What are the most important things that make you feel well? Do them. Make them non-negotiable. Make what I like to call a “basics” list. What are the basics you must do each day or each week to help you feel at your best? Then, when you’re in a season of abundance and blossoming, build on to it. When you’re in a season of survival, stick to the basics. 

Now, if you’ve been here for more than 2 seconds you know I’m all about helping you take action, so here’s your cue. Go get a notebook, write down these 5 questions and fill in your answers. 

What does a woman of wellness look like to YOU right this minute? Not what it looks like for me or your neighbor, but for you? Then, share with us in the comments!

Thanks again for being here! See you next time!