One of the hardest things to let go of sometimes is connecting your exercise to what you have eaten.
As in either you earn what you eat based on your workout or movement or the opposite, you don’t “deserve” to eat certain things due the lack of movement. And we have all been there; we walk into the gym or a studio and the first thing we say or think is, “Wow, I need a butt kicking because I have eaten so (insert: bad, much, awfully, etc.) today/lately/this week/this weekend, etc.”
Yes, we have all been there, but how do we disconnect what we eat and how we move. Surely they are never going to be completely separate. If you run a long race or a marathon, then you need to eat a lot to refuel afterwards. Or, you may know an intense workout is coming up so you want a snack that will help keep you fueled and energized. These sorts of things are healthy connections between food and movement. It’s the not so healthy relationship I want to talk about today.
Last week, I pulled out a container of ice cream from the freezer (Salted caramel swirl, my favorite in the world!) and scooped it into a cone I had just picked up at the grocery. I sat down on the couch and lick after lick, enjoyed it immensely. I paused for a minute and thought about how different this very simple act was for me. Why you ask? Well I had not worked out or really done any particular movement that day. My past self would have never allowed such a thing to happen because I would have scolded myself for even thinking I deserved such a treat when I had done nothing to burn the extra calories that day. HOWEVER, the new me, thinking absolutely nothing of whether or not I had ‘burned the calories,’ had a craving for ice cream, and honored that craving. And enjoyed every bite, with no guilt, with no need to plan the next three days of workouts to ‘make up for it,’ none of that crap.
Here is the reality: exercise is not punishment for what you have eaten. Never. Ever. And until you let go of that concept, joy in movement will not be a thing.
For years, movement was about one thing for me: calories, and how many of them I could burn. It was about burning whatever intake of food I had for the day. It was not about joy, it was not about stress relief, it was all the no pain no gain and a whole lot more. It was about ‘making up’ for what I had eaten. But that is no more–well, it is at least no more what I practice. Sure there are certain days where that way of thinking creeps up, but it is definitely not the rut I am trapped in.
Ok, so exercise needs to be disconnected from what you have eaten, but HOW do we do that? Here are a few things that have worked for me:
- Move in a way that brings you joy. I am NOT a runner. Never have been, never will be. Pounding the pavement brings me zero, or most likely a negative number of joy or happiness. Instead, it feels like torture. So I stopped trying to force myself to run. I LOVE to walk. And so that’s what I do instead of thinking I have to run to burn extra calories or to maximize my movement. Nope, I move in a way that feels good. I love yoga and pilates, and I love to dance. These are the things that I try to do and so exercise doesn’t feel like a chore. If you love the way you move, you will do it more often and it will never feel like a chore or punishment.
- Connect your state of mind to your movement. One of the first things I did when I started letting go of the punishment piece of movement was remind myself of how good I felt after getting a good sweat in. All those endorphins do a thing or two to lift you up. A simple walk around the block, 10 minutes of yoga, anything at all can really enhance your mood. When I noticed my mind going to a negative place around getting in a workout as it relates to food, I instead moved to this impact and that seemed to have a really powerful effect.
- Don’t make it all or nothing. This is another rut I pulled myself out of. It was the thinking that if I couldn’t get in a good solid hour of movement, then what was the point. Well, there is a point, I promise. Even 10 minutes of a yoga flow will change your mood and get your blood flowing a bit. Not to mention, give you a nice boost of energy. The times I decided it wasn’t worth it if I couldn’t do it 100%, I found myself still in a mood and without energy and even wishing I would have just done something, no matter how small.
- Honor when your body needs rest. There are times when your body really just does need a break. The old me didn’t allow for such nonsense. Instead, I forced myself to move, move, move even when my body said no, no, NO! Not cool, not cool at all. Not allowing for rest will push you to be so off balanced and also put you at higher risk for injury. When you are sick, when you are just completely exhausted, allow yourself to take the time off to heal and then ease back in slowly.
These were the shifts that had to happen for me to really embrace the concept that movement and exercise is not punishment and it is not what you do to ‘make up’ for what you have eaten. Maybe something else has worked for you? I would love to know! If you’re struggling with food guilt, Restriction Recovery Coach Katherine Edgecumbe has also put together a guide to help improve your relationship with food. If you are deep in the rut, start trying a few of these things and celebrate the little wins. Be excited when you have the treat and did not decide following that you would have to make up for it the next day. Move, but do it with joy, and eat, but don’t connect it to your movement. And then, you will find freedom. A beautiful freedom!
Ok friends, it’s Friday! So that means it’s time to kick up your heals and relax.
I am not a huge drinker, but I do love to sit on the patio and have something refreshing and bubbly from time to time. And this Ginger Peach Sangria is my new pleasure. Fresh, sliced peaches, ginger beer, white wine and a touch of Peach Schnapps. I mean, can it be this easy? Oh, it can. And, since sometimes you can’t do a whole big bottle of wine, you can also use the mini bottles to make this sangria for one! Even better, right? But if you are having friends for a BBQ soon, then adding this refreshing cocktail is a must! So start the planning now! And everyone will think you put so much time and effort into this drink, but little will they know it was essentially effortless. ALWAYS my kind of recipes. Enjoy friends, cheers!
Ginger Peach Sangria
- 1 bottle white wine I used Pinot Grigio
- 1 liter ginger beer or 3 12 oz. cans Fever-Tree is my fave, no corn syrup, real ingredients!
- 2 ripe peaches
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 c peach schnapps or peach liqueur
- 1-2 T honey or maple syrup optional
- Slice peaches and lemons and add to 2 quart pitcher.
- Add ginger beer, wine and peach schnapps and stir.
- If desired, add in sweetener of choice and stir to dissolve.
- Chill for 2-4 hours before serving.