This is an important episode from Jason at Revolutionary You, so let me begin by apologizing to him and Dr. Lewis for only just getting around to talking about it! I covered the previous conversation (here, only one week delayed!), but this one has even more good stuff I hope you will listen to and consider.
The part of the conversation that really perked up my ears was when the conversation switched to finding balance, and Dr. Lewis compares it to surfing rather than yoga. Living a balanced life, she argues, is about constantly making small adjustments, not finding one “position” and holding it statically. It requires constant monitoring to identify what is working and what isn’t, avoiding an all or nothing mindset. Jason riffs off of this comparison making the connection to the need for self-awareness (and I would say intentional self-reflection)–that folks may require education and new skills to understand why things aren’t progressing for them. How do we respond when we feel things are out of balance? Without the right skills, we’re inclined to larger swings in our behaviors.
This advice fits in complete alignment with my discussion earlier this week from Balance 365 and the skills of recognizing when we are avoiding potentially useful information or constantly acting out of a perceived sense of obligation. Jen and Annie are giving examples of the sorts of skills that reduce the big swings in behavior that Jason and Lisa express concerns about. Furthermore, I wish I’d listened to this episode of Revolutionary You before I wrote up my reflections on last week’s Iron Culture episode on why “Try Harder” is not useful advice. Jason and Dr. Lewis do a great job in providing practical tips for the philosophical context that Omar and Eric bring to the larger discussion. I love it when my evidence-based folks all seem to be in agreement! It gives me more confidence that we’re on the right track (although I acknowledge it may also be a sign that we’re all just falling down the same rabbit hole).
My only quibble about Dr. Lewis’ stance is how she poses the solution to this challenge of skill-building. She talks about radical acceptance, which I don’t have a problem with. However, in the example she uses to illustrate this–a woman who learns that her weekend tradition of dinner and drinks with her friends prevents her continued fat loss–it sounds like her proposed solution is to give it up. She says something like “it’s not fair [that she can’t have drinks with her friends and lose weight] but it is what it is.”
I would prefer a more B365-style all-or-something approach. Maybe the woman needs to choose a less caloric dinner and drinks, or maybe she spaces out drinks with a non-caloric beverage. Or maybe she only goes out with them every other weekend. She could suggest they substitute dinner for a hike on the weekends with better weather. She could also decide that if giving up that important time with her friends is required to reach her goals, maybe she needs to reevaluate her physique goals and consider that perhaps it isn’t worth that change for her. All of these solutions accept reality and facts without having to completely sacrifice the woman’s weekly fun and connections with friends. I suspect Dr. Lewis wouldn’t disagree with me on any of this, but I would have liked to hear a wider variety of options made explicit. It is so easy for folks to approach these issues with harmful black and white thinking, I believe we all benefit from regular reminders that there are a spectrum of options available to us.
I hope you’ll give this conversation a listen, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter! What does balance look like for you? What skills have you learned that help you to make those subtle shifts and adjustments to keep progressing? Please share your comments below, or find Progressive Strength on Facebook and join the conversation over there!