Maintaining balance

Life Balance

Our pursuit of balance

To live the longest, most fulfilling lives possible. It oftentimes requires a trade-off of living the indulgent lifestyle we would prefer now for the hope of longer, healthier and less financially restrictive lives later.

    You can’t be perfect,
    Build flexibility,
    Prepare to flex.

You can’t be perfect and sometimes life isn’t so balanced, but we sure try!

AJ: I would leave work by 4:45 every day so I could beat Kirby home, get dinner started, take the dog out, let the cats out, and be ready to work out by the time he made it home. Since that happens maybe once a month I sometimes find myself angrily washing vegetables at the sink trying to figure out how on earth I’m supposed to get everything done that is being asked of me.

KJ: If it were up to me, I would save whenever we can, but something Angela has really taught me over the years is what it means to have a balance. Without her, I would probably be working 70+ hours per week, eating Brazilian cheese bread (I have a great recipe for pao de queijo by the way), grilled cheese & popcorn, or Taco Bell for every meal. But Angela helped teach me that life is about enjoying what you have while keeping a responsible perspective for your future (retirement, buying a new home, periodically getting new cars, etc).


KJ: Balance work-life, save-spend, family-friends, and eat-exercise. With most of our family in town, celebrations and family time is centered around indulging in lavish comfort foods, and we enjoy food, food, food. At the end of a long day of work we want to do what’s easy and eat what sounds good (and often that’s a margarita with a side of cheese enchiladas and some delicious chips and queso), but sometimes we have a trip to plan or a gift to give that takes precedence.

AJ: If Kirby and I were a pie chart, then saving money would be 60% of our pie, eating would be 30% of our pie and being healthy would be 10% of our pie. When Kirby put a weight loss challenge before my family, that 10% became a much larger focus and the execution of the 30% became much more important, which put a much larger strain on the 60%. So the meal planning has to be more precise as there is less room for eating out, less time for preparation when making room for more working out, and less wiggle room within the food budget. It’s definitely a lot to figure out, but I feel like I’ve won a hard-fought battle when I feed us much better food on the same budget and allow us time to work out.

Build flexibility

KJ: Weight Watchers teaches you a lifestyle. It taught me to eat what I want and crave (ignoring it for me and my wife often ends up in poorer food and budget choices), and make up for it in other ways by working out more, eating healthier substitutes (spaghetti squash as a replacement for pasta here and there), and creating a plan. If we suddenly decide to go have a fancy meal on a Tuesday, then we know that we have to make up for it in groceries, lunches, or modify our dining out plan. The same goes for our savings plan too.

AJ: In college I worked out on the stair climber while eating raw cookie dough. I ran 2 miles to earn enough points back to drink a Bud Light at dinner. My priorities are sometimes a little fuzzy, but Kirby has laser focus abilities. Building flexibility means very different things to very different people. For me it means giving enough to get the job done, for Kirby it means giving his full attention to one thing and dealing with the rest later on. In the end, we both wind up losing weight: my version just takes a little longer.

Prepare to flex

KJ: Our ‘balance’ shifts from time to time: right now, we are focusing on saving and losing weight for our next big trip that involves a lot of trekking around. To make it all work we cut back on dining out, we build a menu, build a budget, build an exercise plan, and build some wiggle room for all of our plans around those late (or craving-driven) nights that come up. Being rigid in our plan is not what makes either of us happy, and knowing that’s how we behave is half the battle to sticking to a long-term plan.

AJ: Kirby and I have balance independent of one another and we have balance as a couple. Identifying the key pillars that matter to us allows us to adjust our individuals priorities and shift our own goals and priorities. Rigid, we are not, but we are certainly as determined as we need to be to ultimately wind up where we are both heading.

AJ and KJ: You can’t have it all, so evaluate what you can afford (both time and money) and work with what’s best for you.

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