I remember one time, as I was at gymnastics practice and doing conditioning, I heard a friend say, “I had McDonald’s today, so this is my punishment.” And I thought, that’s just wrong. Eating food that we love should never be viewed as something you immediately have to recompense for or repent of. You shouldn’t put food in your mouth and spend more time thinking about the amount of sit-ups you’ll have to do to work it off than how much you’re enjoying its taste.
Working out and eating good food should both be done for the same reason, which is for the love of the body that’s doing it.
Furthermore, health and fitness mean something different to each person. If health and being fit mean that you are maintaining a certain weight, that’s fine. If it means eliminating certain foods and ingredients from your diet, that’s fine, too! Whether your perfect body is the body that eats your favorite foods every day or runs two miles every morning, that definition is up to you. But what isn’t fine is the mindset that eating good foods, or sometimes any foods, deserves a slap on the wrist.
Sometimes the food we love is high in calories or fat. That doesn’t mean that you should restrict yourself from eating it — ever. We didn’t create good food to stare at and feel resentment towards when we restrain ourselves, or to hate (along with ourselves) when we don’t. As my mother always tells me, it’s all about balance.
Don’t pick up that brownie and think, “this is gonna cost me twenty minutes on the treadmill,” and don’t get onto the treadmill and think, “this is because of the burger I had earlier.” Pick up the brownie and think, “man, I deserve this today!” and get on the treadmill and think, “I’m gonna be so proud of myself when my workout is over!”
Getting yourself to workout and eating food that’s less healthy for you (in moderation) aren’t easy. But they are possible. And it’s made a lot easier when you don’t treat either thing like a punishment.
Love the sweat, love the sweets and love the body that’s enjoying it all!
Read more about exercising for self-love in this article that inspired my post.
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