Discipline – Too Much & Too Little

I know, I’ve been gone for DAYS and now I’m going to magically reappear like nothing ever happened and hit you with a SERIOUS post.  Ugh.  I know.  Blame the Texas humidity & the business-trip LUSH FEST that happened there this weekend.

(I’m still recovering.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In college it was really important to me to prove that I was self-sufficient and totally capable of taking over the world by graduation.  I worked hard, at everything.

Between being a student full-time, playing softball, working two almost-full-time jobs, and trying to be a decent girlfriend to B, I was stretched thin.  Real thin.  But I took pride in being able to manage it all and never letting people see me break.  I was composed, disciplined, & in complete control.

I never questioned whether it was worth it because at the end there was always a paycheck/good grade/won game to show for it.  My results were directly proportionate to the effort I put in.  Simple as that.  Work hard, win big.

Another place that rule applied?  Working out.

In the down-time that I did have (or managed to create) – I ran.  As an escape from my everyday responsibilities, my jam-packed schedule, and the never-ending to-do list.  That was MY time.  I liked the quiet, the escape, and most importantly, the way it made me look & feel.

I remember the first time somebody tried to tell me I had a problem.  I was about two years into this crazy way of living, and a friend called and asked me to go to Coldstone with her and her new boyfriend.  I had gotten off work early and had an unexpected few free hours on my hands.

“Sure!  Let me go hop on the treadmill for a little bit and I’ll meet you over there”

She called me an addict and hung up (for the record, I did meet them…  After 30 minutes of intervals.)

I remember at first being angry – like, how dare you put me in the category with drug users and alcoholics?!  Those are the only real addicts.

And then I thought she was stupid.  My habit was healthy – it was good for my mind & my body.  So what if I wanted to burn off a few hundred calories before indulging in a sweet treat?  (if I remember, I got a small sinless sweet cream with berries.  Hardly indulgent)

And then, actually, I took a little pride in it.  Good!  People are noticing!  Maybe they’ll be motivated to be active and watch what they eat, too.

Work & school were not suffering because of my running (a tell-tale sign of addiciton), but my relationships were (ahem, also a sign).  I INSISTED on spending any spare second either on the trail or on the treadmill.  I quit going out at night because I liked waking up refreshed and ready to run first thing in the morning.  I spent more time with my iPod than I did with B, my friends, or my family.  Combined.

By medical standards I was a few pounds from being considered underweight for my height.  Still healthy.  I’d gotten a few comments about being too skinny (mostly from my dad), but nobody was trying to ship me off to Betty Ford or anything.

When I went to my annual exam that year, I asked about switching birth control.  I thought that’s what was to blame for me missing my period 8 months in a row.  My kind of rude and very foreign doctor said to me, point blank :

“You’re skeeny and stressed.  Do sometheen about that first.”

I quit one of my jobs.

Classes ended.

I stopped coaching the local JV softball team. 

I moved home & lived rent free while I job searched.

I made time for the people who mattered.  (fyi, those are the people who are at the other end of a bad time waiting for you.)

And the same way my “healthy habit” sneakily became an addiction, it quietly faded out.  (and my period came back.)  I realize now that the same way people turn to alcohol, drugs, sex, cigarettes, Lifetime movies, comofort food, WHATEVER, I turned to exercise as an escape from what was really going on around me.  There’s a difference between escaping from a moment, and trying to escape from your life.

I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about that disciplined lifestyle I was so proud of – Lord knows my running/eating/working/drinking could all use a little supervision & rigidity these days.  I’m working to find someone between Me(Then) and Me(Now)  –  there’s got to be a Me(Healthy Balance) out there somewhere.

I need to find Her.

Sarah Soon-To-Be


17 thoughts on “Discipline – Too Much & Too Little

  1. This is EXACTLY me in College–I was super obsessed–Didn’t drink, didn’t party, ate healthy..bc I had to get up and run!! I loved how I looked and felt!! Now, working full time..I eat like crap and I have gained weight..I need to find that balance..I have gone to both extremes..I was really skinny and obsessed–Now I am not healthy, gained weight, and barely work out..I definitely relate to this story 100%.
    Living in OC and working a ton doesn’t help..but I am determined to try to find a balance!! We can help eachother!!
    If you live in OC or SD…I’m ALWAYS down for a run and/or gym session!! I just need to fix my diet!


  2. Just remember, if you ever go overboard with something, that you only have one body. Treat it like a temple. I, for one, needs to stop throwing all that junky food in my temple.


  3. I love this post, and think it’s one many people can relate to. I know that for me personally, finding balance is especially hard. I’m either balls-to-the-wall tackling every task I can think of, or I have absolutely NO motivation to do anything other than pick up the phone and order pizza. life’s too short to be on either end of the spectrum – but maybe sometimes, part of the journey is finding that balance. :) thanks for sharing this!


  4. Great post. I think finding a balance is challenging to most. The important part is recognizing that some things may need to change to feel “normal” again. Thanks for being so honest!


  5. Thanks for this really honest post! I was definitely like this in undergrad. (I ended up being coaxed into therapy because of my stress level and semi-crazed habits.) Good luck finding balance! I’m sure you will be able to achieve it!


  6. Sounds like he was some kind of hispanic with that “skeeny” and “sometheen” – at least he was honest. Some doctors are kind of useless and just dispense pills or unnecessary tests.

    You were seriously out-of-control with the in-control. I’m impressed that you managed all that, I can’t understand how you had time for a boyfriend or friends. I can safely say that I am always perfectly mediocre! Ha, no, I mean, I do well at things but I never am super-great at any of them because I am kind of lazy. But maybe that is better for my emotional health.

    I think you have balance now – sure the 35 day marathon thing is a little crazy – but it’s not like you planned it and you can’t throw away a $140 race entry! I’d do the same thing.


  7. Oh man, Sarah. I never knew about the old-you. I love that you wrote such a raw and honest post about her. From reading your blog, I totally think you are a balanced girl now. You clearly love running and being healthy but you also love snickers and B and leading a crazy fun life.


  8. I just wrote a similar post that has to do with balance, friends, and having it all or not having it all. Is it silly that watching the Bachelor and realizing Ashley, who was just let go, was trying to have it all and a guy in his thirties was telling her *from experience* that you can’t, made me realize just how hyper spin crazy this world and we can be on being super woman (she actually used those words when telling him what she wanted) and having it all? Crazy.


  9. Great post!!! I have such a hard time finding this balance too. I seem to be so all or nothing. I’ve gotten better about not basing my entire life around running, but I still struggle!!


  10. I am promising myself that my lack of life balance will end soon. I have worked out pretty consistently (5-6 days per week) for a long time, and one day I got invited to happy hour and said I’d go for a run afterward. Well, that run never happened, and while I was obsessing about it for a portion of that happy hour, I’m glad that I went. Had I not had the extra nudge to go, I would have missed out (again). After this semester. Really.


  11. I love this post and I thank you for sharing this about yourself. I think all of us can relate. It’s nice to know that we all share the same struggles and we can help support one another.


  12. gosh, I really enjoyed the honesty in this post. It real and most of us can relate to it! It also helps me to keep in check with what healthy. Body, mind, soul, etc.
    Thank you friend!


  13. This is a really great post. You know, I make too much time for running and my husband hates it. He thinks I should spend that time with him. And while I love spending time with him, I feel down if I DON’T run – or do some type of excercise. It’s a double edged sword.


  14. Pingback: 20 Miler Chased With a Little Snowboarding « Once Upon a (L)ime

  15. I kind of dig the serious…I must say. :) You have a really great perspective on this and a whole lot of great knowledge from personal experience about searching for the right balance. Great great post.



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