I am going to give you something to think about as we go through this holiday season...
YOU ARE NOT A DOG! YOU DON'T EARN YOUR FOOD!
Leading up to Thanksgiving Day and in the days following, the internet is filled with articles from so called fitness "experts" giving you the top 10 exercises for burning fat. People with a product to sell are telling you how to "cleanse" after over indulging. Social media is a buzz with information and conversations that go something like this...
- "Wow! Ate too much pumpkin pie. Need to hit the gym extra hard tomorrow"
- "1/2 cup of stuffing = 40 walking lunges. 1 piece of pie = 1 mile run. 1 cup of eggnog = 50 air squats, 50 pushups and 50 sit-ups"
- "Thanksgiving morning workout complete! Time to feast!"
On and on and on. While some of you may say to yourself, well that's just conversation-to me it's a clear indication of how little most people know about how their body works. It's an even bigger indication of how so many people should probably take a close look at their relationship to food.
The holidays are a time for most of us which are filled with fun times with family, traveling, engaging in traditions and making new memories. The holidays are a WONDERFUL time of year and not a time you should be inflicting all sorts of guilt and punishment in the form of physical exercise upon yourself. Most of us have some set guidelines upon which we use to frame our decisions regarding our health. If as an adult, you consciously choose to deviate from your norm, by all means ENJOY!
For me, this past Thanksgiving holiday involved travel, attending an NFL game, celebrating my birthday and enjoying Thanksgiving dinner. Needless to say, the week involved throwing me off my typical training and eating route BIG TIME! However, rather than bury myself in guilt, I embraced the time with my family, made decisions with my food that wouldn't lead to making myself sick and then looked forward to getting home to my routine once again. I drank more alcohol than typical, I ate a few desserts that I normally would pass up but I made the decision to avoid soy, dairy, and gluten because a bad case of diarrhea was the last thing I wanted as a birthday gift to myself:)
Counting calories and then trying to figure out how I was going to "burn" them off didn't enter my mind because I am informed enough to know that is not how a body works. I have a clear understanding of how the hard work I put into my nutrition and fitness throughout the year are what keeps me lean, performing well and healthy. I know that food isn't my reward but rather how I fuel my body for the activities I demand of it. Therefore, I simply enjoyed the indulgences, made a mental note of how bad my workouts were going to suck for a few days after returning to my routine and moved on. Period.
I encourage you to choose your indulgences and enjoy them, rather than beat yourself up about them. I am also providing a few facts below that will help you understand how your body really works:
- All calories are NOT created equal! There is a lot more to losing weight than calories in/calories out.
- The #1 way to burn fat is by obtaining a high level of lean body mass. ie. do A LOT of weight bearing exercises and less "cardio"
- What you do during the 23 hours you are not in the gym matters a great deal more than what you do 1 hour per day in the gym!
- You earn strength and improved fitness in the gym, NOT YOUR FOOD!
- The only people that can sell you a product that will help you lose weight are GROCERY STORES in the form of healthy, real food!!!
- If you get quality sleep, sunshine, mediate your stress and get safe, fun physical activity you don't need 99.9% of supplements uninformed people are trying to sell you.
The best way to get back on track after veering off coarse is to jump back into your routine quickly and don't use the time to lose all the ground you have gained in establishing healthy routines. Get to bed at a decent time, get some fresh air, get back to the gym and start moving towards your long-term health and fitness goals once again.
If Thanksgiving style eating is your daily norm, well then you had better come see us at LOTUS so we can help you with that;)
Here's to an informed, fun filled and guilt free holiday season!