Life on the Balance Beam


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  71 comments   :  31,717 Views

I’ve often watched the young female gymnasts in competition in a state of awe and wonder. How do they do all those jumps and twirls on the balance beam without falling off and make it look so easy in the process? The precision, the focus, the leap in the face of fear mentality – how do I get some of that?

Maybe that routine on the balance beam is like the healthy lifestyle to you. Some days there seems to be no balance and you can’t get all the things in order to make it work. You’re juggling the job, the family, the pets, the bills, the laundry, the housework, the yard work, or some combination of all those things and more. How are you supposed to fit in exercise, healthy grocery shopping, time to prep and cook meals, plan meals for the next day or week? It’s daunting, frustrating, and frankly you might just want to give up.  Well don’t.

The thing about those gymnasts on TV is they didn’t show up at the training facility yesterday and jump into competition today. They started their journey at the beginning and worked a very long time to get where they are. I appreciate this more now that I’ve been on the healthy lifestyle journey for three years (2 on SparkPeople). I had to start at the beginning, work it out, and keep figuring out how to make it work for me through life while it changed from day to day, month to month, and year to year.

Life isn’t perfect and it will never be perfect despite what the media would like for you to believe. So quit waiting for that perfect moment to get on the balance beam and work out your own success story. You do have to start at the beginning and do the work to get the prize. Just like the gymnast who packed her bag, ate healthy, went to the training facility, logged the hours, and now stands on the beam in the sparkly cute outfit. She overcame fatigue, injuries, bad moods, that time of the month, social commitments, other obligations, etc., all in pursuit of her dream. She didn’t expect it to happen in three weeks, or a couple of months. What gymnast would?

So if you looked at your healthy lifestyle journey and realized that it’s not a short term prospect and you have to learn some new tricks to get that balance, what one thing would you work on today? I ask that because the gymnast did not learn that whole routine on the first day. Heck the first day you’d be lucky just to stand on that beam. I’d probably stand several feet away and just look at it, never in a million years imagining jumping up there and flipping head over heels on it. So why do we expect things to be different in this journey and heap all that pressure on ourselves? 

Start at the beginning today -- what one thing do you need to work on just in this moment to get to a healthier you? Now do that and celebrate what you just learned.  Then get up and ask yourself the same question the next morning. Before you know it you’ll be on the balance beam in your journey.

Do you keep getting back on when you "fall off your balance beam"? Can you make a plan for the rest of this day, and for tomorrow to help you get back on track with your journey?

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  • 71
    thanks - 1/21/2018   4:45:55 AM
  • 70
    What a great blog! And so true about picking ONE thing to work on. Chipping away with small sustainable changes really works. - 10/25/2017   7:39:46 AM
  • 69
    So true. It's a balance between outside commitments, internal struggles & a desire to be healthy. Good article. - 8/9/2017   10:06:57 AM
    Great! - 6/20/2017   6:22:29 AM
  • 67
    Puts into perspective doesn't it. As one of those new to SP and wanting to be a gymnast in my 2nd month - thank you for the reminder! - 4/8/2012   8:38:40 AM
  • 66
    Great Blog!! - 1/19/2012   10:57:28 AM
  • 65
    This is JUST what I needed! Thanks so much for sending me the link!! - 12/21/2011   1:02:51 PM
  • 64
    Thank you so much for this blog. I've had a spill on my own "balance beam" and have been wondering how I'd ever get back up and into the work of making myself healthier. Your encouragement really helped - and I'll keep working it one day, one hour, even one minute at a time! - 9/29/2011   9:51:53 PM
  • 63
    Very motivational blog - 9/29/2011   9:51:31 PM
    I really like some of the alternative suggestions on focusing and getting centered on me when everything else appears to be leading me in the opposite direction of the goals that I have set for myself. - 9/29/2011   8:24:00 PM
  • 61
    As a former gymnast (ages ago) I can say this is an excellent analogy. Something to add, is that even the best, most experienced gymnasts fall of the beam on occasion but they get right back on, make the necessary adjustments, and keep going. - 9/29/2011   10:39:09 AM
  • 60
    Great blog! I am sure this will help a lot of people, a simple yet such an important thing to ask yourself each day. We always have to adjust and readjust. I have found that praying to God for help has really made such a big difference too, really ALL the difference! - 9/29/2011   3:58:16 AM
  • 59
    Nice blog - 9/29/2011   2:40:50 AM
  • 58
    very nice way to look at life. - 9/28/2011   6:08:16 PM
  • 57
    Thank you for writing this blog. This is something I needed to read today and I am grateful for your encouragement. It put things into perspective for me. - 9/28/2011   3:48:13 PM
  • 56
    Great way to look at life! having been somewhat of a gymnast when I was younger - it makes perfect sense! Thanks for breaking it down into a way that could easily be followed. - 9/28/2011   1:06:03 PM
    This blog reminds me of the great philosophical conversation between Pooh and Piglet:
    "When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
    "What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
    "I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
    Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
    "It's the same thing," he said. - 9/28/2011   11:27:27 AM
    Good article! - 9/28/2011   9:40:20 AM
    Every time I fall off that balance beam I just keep picking myself up and get right back on!
    I really enjoyed your blog! Thank you for the constant motivation & inspiration! - 9/28/2011   7:11:36 AM
  • 52
    Having had a couple days 'in balance' and falling off the beam last night, this was the perfect thing to read this morning. Thank you :) - 9/28/2011   4:02:46 AM
  • 51
    Very inspirational. Here's to everyone's first step on the balance beam! - 9/27/2011   10:39:30 PM
  • 50
    Thank you! I needed to hear that. I can lose and gain, lose and gain, but until I make the changes for a lifetime, and stop going back to the cookie sack, I'm not going to have any balance. - 9/27/2011   10:34:31 PM
  • 49
    Good day to read this entry. I fell off while on vacation in august and have been battling with myself to get back on for weeks now. Today is the day I decided to begin again and this entry provided some wonderful encouragement. Thank you. - 9/27/2011   2:18:26 PM
  • 48
    right on time. I so needed to hear this. "Some days there seems to be no balance and you canít get all the things in order to make it work. Youíre juggling the job, the family, the pets, the bills, the laundry, the housework, the yard work, or some combination of all those things and more. How are you supposed to fit in exercise, healthy grocery shopping, time to prep and cook meals, plan meals for the next day or week? Itís daunting, frustrating, and frankly you might just want to give up."

    It is good just to see someone else has the same concerns and is being victorious despie it all. - 9/27/2011   1:41:52 PM
  • 47
    Great blog and a good way to explain the journey. - 9/27/2011   12:40:51 PM
  • 46
    Thank you for the blog, I needed to hear this. - 9/27/2011   8:44:03 AM
  • 45
    Great blog! SP has helped me know that falling, failing, etc. isn't the end; it's just part of the journey. - 9/27/2011   8:33:42 AM
    What a great inspiration. My son was head gymnastic coach for a univiersity in Va. so I understand this concept totally. You're so right on. It takes practice practice practice along with adjustments to get it right. Thanks - 9/27/2011   8:09:14 AM
  • 43
    Thanks for a very inspiring blog.
    - 9/27/2011   5:21:16 AM
  • 42
    Michelene - wonderfully expressed blog! It is hard on this journey to realize that we didn't gain it all in 1 day, so we sure won't lose it in 1 day. Planning definetely will be the key to success. - 9/27/2011   2:01:21 AM
  • 41
    Thank-you for the well-written blog, truly pearls of wisdom & food for thought (no pun intended). You obviously got right back up on the balance beam. I was up on the beam along w/ minimal coordination. Fall off the beam once to often & you finally get the message, couldn't get back up on that beam. I'm glad it worked for you. I'm in need of something closer to the floor, but not on it. - 9/27/2011   12:19:36 AM
  • 40
    nice atricle. in my life when I fall off my balance beam I get right back up there. I am not going to let the balance beam of unhealthy eating or lack of working out get the best of me. - 9/27/2011   12:00:06 AM
  • 39
    Great blog! Wonderful words to live by and incorporate into my healthy living lifestyle as there are times that I fall off this beam and know that I have to get up and get back on!

    Thanks for the words of wisdom!
    - 9/26/2011   8:56:21 PM
  • 38
    I always appreciate being reminded that what looks like very little effort is really the culmination of a lot of effort, sweat, tears, etc. Thanks for the focus!! - 9/26/2011   12:56:28 PM
  • 37
    great words of wisdom. I fall off from time to time and get back on. I like the suggetion about focusing on one thing at a time. I will focus on portion sizes and track all meals on the weekend. Thanks - 9/26/2011   12:38:13 PM
  • 36
    Thank You for the nice words of wisdom! - 9/26/2011   12:12:58 AM
  • 35
    Thank-you for the wonderful words of encouragment. - 9/25/2011   1:03:50 PM
    Enjoyed the blog, as it echoed my own journey. Almost 2 years since I changed my lifestyle. It has been hard, but I didn't get there overnight and certainly wasn't going to make everything better overnight. Super analogy with the gymnasts! - 9/25/2011   12:32:03 PM
  • 33
    Great Analogy! My daughter was a competitive gymnist while in high school. I used to go to the practices at school and at the gym and I was always amazed at hard they worked those girls and even spoke to them about their nutritian to help keep their bodies strong and firing on all pistons. So I see what you are saying. Even though it looks so easy watching a trained gymnist move through her routine, a lot of effort and hard work went in to get her there and keep her on her game.

    Thanks! - 9/25/2011   8:00:43 AM
  • 32
    My granddaughter is a gymnast. I'll be watching her through new eyes the next time. Terrific example! - 9/25/2011   7:36:43 AM
  • 31
    I loved this blog! Maybe because I love to watch gymnastics, I could so easily connect with what you were saying! I loved the analogy. I've been trying to live a healthier life style for two years now (one on SP), with varying degrees of success. This blog definitely helps me to put things into perspective and recommit!
    Thank you so much for sharing!

    - 9/24/2011   11:16:55 PM
  • 30
    Good thoughts, thank you - 9/24/2011   9:48:28 AM
  • 29
    Thank you for a wonderful, inspiring blog. Too often we forget that we have to walk before we can run. It's good to remember that each step, each skill learned is a step toward the day we too can fly! - 9/24/2011   9:31:30 AM
    As a former high school gymnast, I totally got this blog. It is so right where I am and where I need to go. Thank-you for writing this blog! - 9/24/2011   9:21:00 AM
  • 27
    Fantastic blog! Omg! How hard gymnasts train! Think how often they fall down before they master a trick and perform it so gracefully - look without effort! Lol! - 9/24/2011   2:08:28 AM
  • 26
    I think I still manage to bounce back up no matter how many I fall, whether it's emotionally, physically, mentally and everything in between. Maybe I have this invisible bunjee-jump-rebound rope that attach me with my track that no matter how hard and how far I fall, I will somersault and hop back on my balance beam. Yes, I have few days to sooth my injury, my pride of falling again and again but I will just toughen up and grab hold my life beam, try again and again to balance till the end, till I can't move anymore (a.k.a not breathing anymore). (Hopefully I got the terms right for gymnastic moves, haha). - 9/24/2011   1:01:06 AM
  • 25
    Denise Austin began as a gymnast and was 9th in the country on Balance Beam while in college in Arizona. She's 54 now, the mother of two grown girls. She's 5'4" and 112#. She was actually to tall to be a top gymnast but used her ability to do well in fitness. I like that about a person. Learn to use the talent you have where it works best. - 9/24/2011   12:25:40 AM
  • 24
    I do get back up once I fall but I alwys try to get back up fast that way I don't go too far down the line you know what I mean? You have a wonderfull outlook on life. - 9/23/2011   11:18:10 PM
  • 23
    Great blog! Thank you for that :-) It's good to be reminded sometimes! Let's find that balance ;-) - 9/23/2011   7:10:14 PM
    So true... I have finally & truly committed to changing my health lifestyle. Have been slowly but surely chipping away for several years setting small goals. If only I could get under ### weight, I'll never get back to it. At times I have been frustrated when the # just didn't fall but I would. Took me a long time to realize what health experts always say "you didn't put it on overnight so you can't expect to take it off overnight." Sparkle tracker has really helped but I finally just keep getting up & back on that "beam". Thanks for the confirmation! - 9/23/2011   6:39:05 PM

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