'Balance' seems to be the current buzzword in the health community. "It's all about balance!" everyone is yelling. Pictures are popping up on Instagram with captions such as "Went for a run today - now I'm lying on the sofa with a bottle of wine and a family sized bar of Dairy Milk cos it's all about #balance, right?"
Yes, life is about balance. Restricting yourself to only perceived 'healthy' foods all the time without ever allowing the occasional treat isn't good for your mental health and can cause issues such as orthorexia, a literal obsession with healthy eating.
However, just because you had a salad for lunch doesn't mean you have free rein to scoff a supersize Big Mac meal followed by six doughnuts for dinner and call it 'balance'. Balance isn't about going to extremes or eating an entire tube of Pringles because you've been 'good' all day.
A balanced lifestyle is about being kind to yourself - eating foods which nourish your body most of the time and not feeling guilty about having a slice of cake after dinner once in a while. Balance means not missing out on social occasions because you're scared of what kind of food might be served, and allowing yourself an ice cream or two while on holiday. A good rule of thumb to follow is the 80/20 rule. If you eat healthily 80 per cent of the time, you can afford to eat slightly less healthy foods the other 20 per cent.
But balance isn't just about food - it should apply to all aspects of life. If you have a stressful job, you need to find time to relax and unwind at the end of the day or the weekend. If you're sedentary all day, balance out all that sitting by going to the gym for an hour after work.
Let's start being honest about what balance really means and stop using a healthy-sounding word as an excuse to be UN-healthy.
How do you keep balance in your life?