The Balancing Act
After several years of learning how to treat my IBS, I know that I have learned a lot and have a pretty firm grip on what to do to take the very best care of myself. The problem that I continually run into is balancing all the things I need to do in a healthy manner. It might be because I tend to do things to the extreme, but finding a happy middle ground is something I really need to work on. I have tried over and over, but find that one aspect or another of my treatment plan always ends up taking precedent. It’s a cycle that I think I can see pretty clearly, but in practice, is more difficult to break than you’d think.
Balancing act is not easy
I decided on the diet that works best for me almost a year ago now (GF/FODMAP). I can go for very long periods of time sticking to the diet and I can definitely see a direct relationship between keeping the diet and the severity and duration of my IBS attacks. This is good. The difficult thing for me is maintaining the diet while tending to my exercise routine and emotional wellness all at the same time. It seems that when the diet and exercise is good, then perhaps I am neglecting my leisure and stress reduction (meditation, reading etc.). When my spiritual and emotional wellness is on track, I find my diet, exercise or both, slipping. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to cook properly, exercise, meditate, read, listen to music and go to work. There definitely isn’t enough time if my IBS is acting up. When this happens, I tend to get discouraged and then for some reason the train comes off the tracks. I will end up eating right four out of seven days a week. My three or four trips to the gym turn into one trip. I forget about meditating and play video games instead (this is not always altogether bad ;-). The frustration is that I can see what I need to be doing to be the best me. I know I can live the ‘right’ way because I’ve done it, and I simply feel better when I am maintaining my best routine.
Do the best you can
I have come to the conclusion that the problem is that I am looking at all of this like some kind of contest that I am winning or losing. At certain points during the journey, this type of mentality has been so pervasive that I am almost giving myself a letter grade each day for my ‘performance’. ‘Well, Todd, you did great on Friday. You get a B+. Could’ve been a bit better though…’. While drive and ambition can be helpful in so many things, using it daily to rate the quality of your ‘performance’ is not healthy in my opinion. I think anybody (me included) who is living in this manner needs to let themselves off the hook a little. Be proud of any progress you make. Notice the times when you were able to accomplish what you wanted. Notice the times that things don’t go exactly as planned, and make alterations without judging yourself. I have a feeling that if this type of attitude is adopted, the balancing act won’t be nearly as hard.
Have you ever had a public IBS accident?