This blog is meant to be read while listening to O-Town's "All or Nothing at All." (You remember O-Town. The O stood for Orlando. ORLANDO. While I'm sure Orlando has its rough and tumble sections...it's not exactly a town with tons of street cred. Although I did hear that they were considering it as the setting for the 6th season of The Wire, but thought the images of life-sized cartoon characters harassing bedraggled, sweat-drenched parents and sugar-amped, sticky kids at Disney World might be a little too graphic for HBO audiences.) 

I've always been an all or nothing kind of person. If I'm in, I buy the books, wear the t-shirts, drink the Kool-Aid and bust out of walls to convince other people to take a sip. Do it. It will make your eyes sparkle and your lips shine and your butt tight and help you get along better with your mom. I commit so fully, so fast and so intensely that it's completely unsustainable and I burn out. And when I fall off a wagon, I can fall so far off that it feels almost impossible to get back on.

Another all or nothing habit I have is the need to have a million ducks in a row before I feel ready to start something. In college, for example, I would need to study for a class, but before I could even consider studying, I would feel compelled to clean my room first. Because...how could I study in a dirty room? Week-old Jack in the Box bags (come on Philly, we need the Monster Taco and the Sourdough Jack here!) and piles of Wet Seal clothing and trucker hats everywhere is not exactly conducive to a clear mind. So I would begin to tidy up. Then tidying up would lead to deep cleaning and deep cleaning would lead to organizing that junk drawer I've been meaning to get to, and opening that mail I've been needing to open (you know all the bills for the credit cards I signed up for to get a free frisbee that ultimately ruined my life)...and before I knew it, it would be midnight, and I would be screwed for class the next day. And while yes, studying in a clean space is helpful, I could've gone to the library and left the room cleaning for another day, or just cleaned up a little and not gone so bat sh*t. But those seemingly so reasonable options would not enter my mind.

Fast forward to life now, and I have seemed to carry those habits with me. Particularly in terms of health and fitness. I am all in or all out. I'm either Lithing 4-6 times a week and eating lean and clean and feeling really good about myself or I miss one or two classes in a row and it sets off a domino effect of missing class for 2 weeks or more. Which leads to making terrible food choices. Which makes me feel like a lazy loser and affects my motivation to accomplish other things I need to accomplish. Which just well...effing sucks all around. 

When I'm in the midst of one of these breaks, I tell myself this weekend you will go to the grocery store. You will make like Lauren Boggi Goldenberg and all the other beautiful Lithe unicorns that do things like brush their hair in the morning and make their own chia pudding, and you will stock up on all the good-for-you-foods that you actually do know how to incorporate into your diet. MONDAY, you will start with a healthy breakfast, and you will pack your lunch, and you will prepare a light and delicious dinner that will nourish your body and impress your husband so much he'll want to buy you jewelry. You will be back in business!

But if for some reason, my weekend of baby showers and dinners with family and laundry and other plans don't allow me to get to the store...my beautiful plan for hot body and happy jewel-bearing husband totally falls apart. I feel completely at loose ends. And cue the aforementioned domino affect. 

But why?

Why can't I go to class anyway? What does grocery shopping have to do with it? Why can't I say, well my ducks aren't in a row like I'd hoped they'd be in time for the work week, and this is going to make things a bit tougher for me, but I can still order the healthful option at this restaurant instead of the not-so-great-for-me thing. Why must EVERYTHING fly out of the window with one misstep?

Why is it so difficult for me to be balanced about health and fitness? I feel almost incapable of thinking about things in terms of their net benefit or just evening things out. If I miss a class, a balanced approach would be to then to be mindful of my food choices. If I've missed two classes, I should make it a priority to not miss a third and keep the train moving forward. Why must one missed class inevitably mean 5?

And the answer is: I don't know. I don't know why I'm so easily jump-started and even more easily de-railed. Part of me thinks that going on kicks is part of what keeps me motivated. That I enjoy the methodical preparing and ramping up of something, but once the new thrill wears off, so does my desire to keep going. But another part of me thinks it might be deeper than that. That my desire to be fit and hot and healthy is directly at odds with my other desire to be lazy and indulgent and totally spontaneous.

That maybe having my ducks in a row or being all in or out is more about these two sides of me warring with one other. That needing to have all the right groceries before working out or waiting until Monday is a way for me to justify living in the right now space of wanting to eat the unhealthy thing or watch the 3 episodes of Breaking Bad when I get home from work, while the sun's still out and good-looking, fit people jog past my window taunting me. Maybe. And perhaps that's just who I am and perhaps that's ok. But I do aspire to have balance, not just in this aspect, but in most. And for those of you with the secret, I'm all ears!

See you in class!


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Well, this one really hit home! I knew I wasn't going to make it to Lithe last night so instead of eating my usual healthy lunch of veggies and lean proteins, I went to High Street on Market and bought myself a grilled cheese (did I mention I'm lactose intolerant?)...it made total sense at the time. What gets me is how great I feel when I'm eating well and exercising, but every so often it's as if there's a rebellious child in my brain forcing me to binge watch Bravo with cupcakes and wine.

This is a great post, Sayeh. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. What helps me most is sticking to a routine and having Lithe buddies - not just having friends who Lithe, but rather having friends you see in class every single day. Since I attend mainly 6am classes, I see the same women almost every day and we have become friends. If I am feeling tired and feel like skipping a class, I think of these women and how they will expect to see me in the morning and wonder where I am if I cancel. I don't want to let them down and I know it will be fun to see them, and these feelings of accountability motivate me to go to bed on time and wake up to work out with them. It is a time for us to socialize with each other and catch each other up on our weeks. So, if you think about Lithe as another social commitment, like dinner or drinks with friends, then maybe this will help you stick to it. Find a buddy who will text you to say, 'can't wait to see you in class tomorrow morning!' every single day. You can do it!!!

Reading this was like reliving so many fights I've had with myself. Just like you said I can't focus until my space is clean and my mind is clean. And knowing that I cant work until all the laundry is done and my entire house has been cleaned, there are many days I think why do I even bother! I think change makes it even harder to break out of the all or nothing bc its comfortable. I know what is making it so hard for me to stay on track right now is the new class schedule for the fall. I haven't found my routine and my schedule yet. I know the whole point is to throw off my body, but my mind isn't taking it too well.

Anna, I'm right there with you girl. Katherine thanks for the tips and encouragement. I definitely think of my 5:30 crew when I miss class. And Lisa, I'm glad you feel my pain! It's def tough to adjust to a schedule change, I hear ya!

Isn't it weird how grocery shopping at the beginning of the week can sometimes be the difference between eating good stuff or crap? It's such a trigger for me too! I am in no way endorsing them specifically, but on the Sundays where I just can't swing it, I've been doing Instacart. It's honestly helped so much to keep on track during those weeks when you can't get to the store yourself. Makes such a difference - enjoyed this post!

Megan I literally had the same thought this morning about FreshDirect. Like "Yeah sure I *usually* make it to the store on Sunday and do some meal prep... but maybe a guaranteed delivery would be the nudge I need?"

Sayeh I'm 100% on board with this post. Why can't I find that middle ground where I accept natural imperfection and splash around happily in it - instead of trying to "fix" it.

Love this post Sayeh!

I second Anna's "this hit home". Can't say too much more than that. I have all the same ... neurosis? I started this post because I'm delaying a personality test I have to do for a job interview.

Megan and Sarah, I thought the exact same thing. I just need to get my groceries delivered! It IS so crazy how it's such a trigger.

Thanks Lauren! J. Noel, happy we can share in these neuroses together. Seriously. It's so helpful when you realize other people deal with it too. It makes it easier to cut yourself some slack! Here's hoping we can all do more of that!

I'm an all or nothing girl too, always have been and always will be. I call it obsessive compulsive disorder, ADD, executive function disorder ( you name it )? That's another issue of mine, I need to understand everything to over analyze everything? At 48 I've come to accept this part of myself so instead of trying to fix it and be more balanced I work to keep myself obsessed. Feeling strong and sexy is a huge motivator for me and so whenever I'm not feeling 100% obsessed (which equals good food choices and daily workouts ) I go on Pintrist and start pinning motivational pictures of awesome fit female bodies onto my fitness and motivation board ( this usually works to bring me right back to obsessed mode). Is this normal or healthy, nope but I have decided that this is who I am so go with it and make it work for me. This November will be a year of full on... On mode so hopefully it will keep on working in health and fitness's favor.

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