It’s been a few days after Halloween. I’ve seen evidence of the diet mentality festering in quite a few of my social media streams since then in the form of workouts shared in order to “make up” for that Halloween candy consumed. Well I am firmly advocating that we halt this kind of compensatory thinking. Here’s why.
Eating is not a sin which needs repenting.
The real issue is the idea that certain foods are innately “bad” and in order to cancel out these “bad” foods we must participate in equal or greater “good” behaviours.
There is tremendous psychological and emotional burdens we must bear by accepting this philosophy which in turn is harmful to the relationship we have both with foods and with exercise.
Our bodies just don’t work that way. As intuitive and temptingly easy it is to think in such as way – we are not a balance sheet.
Exercise for it’s own sake.
Exercise has many health benefits, and is certainly a valuable habit to develop.
Having and fostering an intrinsic motivation to exercise (because it feels great to stretch, move and flex our bodies) means the habit of exercise is much more likely to stick (source) than if we are motivated to exercise based on an extrinsic motivation (to burn calories and be thin).
Health is not a math equation.
Despite the intuitive nature of “calories in versus calories out” there are so many more variables involved in wellbeing and health than that, not to mention, weight is not as strong a predictor of health outcomes as it’s been made out to be. This cycle of using exercise to “make up” for eating treats has no end, and it perpetuates frustration and guilt.
I love simple whenever it makes sense, but this kind of thinking drives me crazy because no where in sight is the acknowledgment of emotions, cravings, or the fact that we are human and everyone craves treats once in a while … and that’s ok!
We should practice thinking about eating and exercise as two separate entities, build trust with your body that eating treats when you truly want them is a part of true healthy eating. Enjoy moving your body because it feels good. Carry on with life.