Are You Exercising to Earn Food?
January is a time when we often feel weighted down from all of the holiday indulgences. As such, many of us make unreachable resolutions that drive us to excessive exercising to earn food.
It may make perfect sense to you. After all, if you burn calories through exercise and replace them with your favorite dessert, you’re breaking even. Right?
Exercising to Earn Food Is a Trap
Your metabolism is complex. It’s not a simplistic math problem. And while the calories in/calories out theory has its benefits, relying on exercising alone to deplete calories from eating is typically a losing game.
First of all, calculating how many calories are burned during exercise is extremely difficult. There are many factors to consider. Even if it were possible, there’s still no way to know which calories come from fat and which from carbohydrates.
The reality is, most of us overestimate how many calories we burn during exercise and underestimate the calories we consume. (Because it much more enjoyable to have that extra bite of cake than spend another ten minutes on the treadmill.)
And here’s the other thing:
Different Foods Do Different Things
While you’re busy counting calories, you may be overlooking the way the foods you’re eating metabolize. For example, glucose and fructose are both simple sugars.
In cases where glucose and fructose are added to food, the fructose can increase blood sugar levels and LDL where the same number of calories from glucose won’t. YET, naturally occurring fructose such as that found in fruit is counteracted by the fiber and water in the fruit.
And fats are not created equal either. Calories from polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats are going to deliver more benefits than those from saturated fat. So swapping out saturated fats with unsaturated fats – even if they both provide the same number of calories per gram – can lower your risk of heart disease.
Bottom line? Exercise and food are not transactional. And working from that paradigm will leave you believing you’re not worthy of enjoying food unless you earn it first.
So consider changing your perspective.
Exercise Is Not Punishment
And there it is.
The end game of exercising shouldn’t be weight loss because that’s not really one its more dependable benefits. What exercise DOES provide is more strength, endurance, stamina, and resilience. It also improves mood, energy levels, and sleep. Exercise is good for your long-term health. Period.
If you feel it’s impossible to not see exercise as a punishment and you’re despising every moment of your workout, it may be that you need to try some other form of exercise. You’re not consigned to the gym or that ‘combat’ yoga class.
Also, you can focus on adding more general activity to your day. The energy you burn during any movement that doesn’t involve sleeping, eating, or exercising is known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT. Parking farther from the door when you go shopping, riding your bike to work (if possible) and pulling weeds are all examples of NEAT.
So rather than focusing on that one-hour workout, think about where you can burn more energy during the other 23 hours.
The Occasional Treat Is Fine
Finally, there’s a great deal to be said for moderation and sticking to a healthy diet.
If you’re following the USDA guidelines, you’re eating plenty of fruits and veggies and getting a proper balance of good fats, protein, and carbs. By keeping your nutrition on-point, you’re creating the ideal situation to allow yourself an occasional treat. And you won’t fall into the trap of believing you need to burn calories to justify eating those treats.
Feed Your Body With Pilates
Rather than exercising to earn food, consider changing your perspective about fitness.
For example, you can reward your body with the health benefits of a practice such as Pilates. It’ll help you get stronger and leaner muscle, promote mindfulness and body awareness, and boost your body’s natural ability to burn fat.
So contact us today to find out how to get started with this amazing movement system!