Wellness Work

Ditching the Plan

November 4, 2013

I think I’ve written and rewritten this post at least 10 times. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and while the words are there, I’ve had trouble putting them together into a coherent post. I’m not sure I’ll be able to cover everything that I’d like to talk about, but it’s a start.

Friday night I got together with a close friend of mine. Zan and I have been friends since middle school. She is someone who I deeply admire and can always turn to for quality advice. We met up at a wine tasting event called Grand Cru where they were tasting over 200 wines. Thank you brother for being a wine agent/having the best job in the world and getting us in.

In the midst of our catching up I was snapping pictures of the wine, the food and the people (couldn’t find Goldie Hawn or Kiefer). I was smiling, I was laughing, I was eating and drinking what I wanted and I truly felt at ease. Unfortunately this version of me, the best version of me, hasn’t always been around.

I’ve always had an incessant, borderline compulsive need to plan. It’s a coping mechanism for me. When life gets crazy, as it inevitably does, I’ve turned to planning as a means of control. Planning meant consistency and predictability and I’d plan every second of my day to a T. The majority of my planning was focused on diet and exercise e.g. 5:00 AM runs, Sunday food preps, Tuesday yoga etc… While this helped me to get through some challenging times, it also left me incredibly stressed out. No matter how many people or how many times I was told to relax, I was not willing to listen. I would freak out if life deviated from “the plan”, even if that plan only existed in my head.

My stomach has always been the first to react when I’m feeling stressed out. Though I was eating a perfectly clean diet and exercising 6 days a week my stomach still continued to react badly to almost everything I ate. I tried eliminating every food under the sun, which ultimately stressed me out even more because I felt I needed to cook everything. I turned down social invitations. I refused alcohol. Meeting a friend for a wine tasting just wasn’t an option. I was following the plan. And I was unhappy.

It took me up until about few months ago to realize this was the source of my unhappiness. That I was leading a rigid and overly-planned life and I was missing out on all life’s beauty that happens in those unplanned moments. That all of these foods I’d eliminated and all of the exercise I was pushing myself through in an attempt to be “healthy” was stressing me out. And my body was trying every way to tell me this. I was preaching that healthy meant balance when deep down I knew my life was the furthest thing from balanced.

The reality is that I am young. So young. I basically have zero responsibilities and now is the time I should be having fun and letting the chips fall as they may. I can worry about planning once I have a family and other people’s lives to organize but for now I want to let go of the reigns. I want to workout when I want to and if I have the time, not because it’s scheduled. And I want to meal prep if I feel like cooking, not because it’s Sunday. I want to go out late and come home late. I want to make mistakes, and then I want to try to not make them again. I want to relax. I want to do all of these things, because I can. They say that “youth is wasted on the young”. I don’t want to look back in 20 years and wish I’d done things differently.

I got home Friday night after wine tasting with Zan and I truly felt comfortable with myself. I overdosed on cheese and drank too much wine and when I woke up Saturday morning surprisingly stomach ache-free and hangover-less I went to yoga, because I wanted to. It’s crazy how all the things that stress you out in life, the stomach aches, the injuries all seem to resolve when you just relax.

These past few months have been difficult and challenging, but for the first time in a long time I feel happy. My definition of healthy has changed and inevitably the blog will change. You won’t be hearing me blog about my weekly meal prep or workouts, my diet-du-jour or anything that starts with a p and ends in lan. What you can expect are some delicious and healthy recipes, the occasional indulgent one and perhaps a recap of nights I don’t actually remember. I’m trying this whole “fly by the seat of your pants” deal. I hope you’ll join me for the ride.

Have you ever found yourself overly planning your life? 

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  • Reply
    Daniela
    April 22, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    I know I’m a bit late to comment, but this is a wonderful post. I recently found your blog and have been reading through it nightly and find it really inspiring. I unfortunately struggle with similar issues in terms of over planning, especially with what meals I will eat and how much I have to work out. What do you think were the best ways for you to get “out” of this planning mode?

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      April 23, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      Hey Daniela! So happy you found this post and it resonated with you. Honestly, I think taking risks and changing things up can be super helpful. Go out of your way to step out of your comfort zone. Travel helps with this too because there are so many factors you can’t control when you’re travelling!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    November 12, 2013 at 2:47 am

    I am such a planner, and I feel lost without one. That being said, I can relate to stressing myself out with my own need to plan and list everything and when I feel anxious to get everything done, I make it a point to back off entirely and just relax. Then when I am less stressed, I get back to knocking things off my lists, and almost always in a much better frame of mind.
    Good for you for opening up and being willing to get footloose and fancy free.

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