We’re entering the time of year of family gatherings, parties with friends, festive drinks, and delicious sweet and savory dishes. For a lot of people, they feel the need to compensate for the amount of food they ate. Well I’m here to tell you something shocking: YOU DO NOT NEED TO MAKE UP FOR WHAT YOU ATE. There is this ridiculous relationship between exercise and food that says food is the “reward” for exercising and exercising is your “punishment” for eating. What. The. Heck.
Eating does not negate exercise and exercise does not negate eating. Instead of being contradictions to one another, as we have been told for so many years, the two work together to deliver a holistic, well balanced life. Food fuels our bodies so we can live out our everyday lives. Exercise allows us to keep our body moving and efficient in to our later years of life. So what exactly is the problem with this negative association between food and exercise? And what does is have to do with the upcoming holiday season? Here are a few observations from my perspective:
-Food should not create guilt: You know the saying “food is fuel”? It’s true. Our bodies metabolize and break down the things we consume and convert them into little bundles of energy for us to use throughout the day. These little bundles of energy are not just saved for exercise necessarily either. The energy we receive from food is used for basic bodily functions as well.
-Movement should not be viewed as a penalty for nourishing yourself: I tell people and my clients all the time that we were given bodies for a reason and that reason is to move them. So movement is not a negative thing for your body to do. You’re actually using your body for its intended purpose! Over the years, our society and media has twisted this truth into making people think that the only reason you should do purposeful movement is to lose weight. Movement is not a penalty for eating. Movement is something to be celebrated.
-The association between food and movement creates feelings of shame: The last thing you want to feel during the holidays is shame for eating too much and then obsession over when you can get back into the gym. I can speak from personal experience when I say that obsessing over these things takes the fun out of the holidays. You can’t remember what you ate or the fun conversations. You have no recollection of the games that were played or the laughs that were shared.
The last thing you need to do after the holidays is to go on some crazy crash diet and hit the gym for 2 hours at a time. We recommend that you go back to your normal eating schedule and return to your regular movement routine. The holidays throw us all out of routine, so it’s only a matter of getting back to everyday life when it’s over. And if you’re still feeling a bit anxious about the whole thing, remember that your loved ones surround you. This is a time to be thankful and joyous for the wonderful people that surround us.
Written by Marlee Y.