While working on a discussion question for school, a classmate and I started chatting about self awareness and really thinking about what your body needs. It made me think about this study I saw not too long ago which I don't have a citation for at this time. To sum it up, it concluded that if personal trainers can re-frame the way their client views exercise (specifically making it enjoyable) the client would be less likely to consume excess calories post workout. An example could be running around playing Frisbee verses running on the treadmill. If the client burned the same amount of calories in both activities they were less likely to consume extra calories after playing Frisbee verse running on the treadmill. Sounds crazy, right?! But it makes perfect sense to me because I've seen and experienced it.
Many people exercise because they don’t like the way their body looks. They see exercise as punishment (not a healthy perspective because they're so many great reasons to exercise). Then, they’ll eat badly as a reward for surviving the so called punishment or vice-a versa (think New Years Resolutions, eat bad through the holidays and then beat yourself for it). In some cases this becomes a vicious cycle; eating poorly, and exercising too much to make up for it....repeat, repeat, repeat. In the end, the person becomes over trained, exhausted and frustrated. Be cautious because if you're thinking this sounds like a eating disorder, you're right.
If you've been in this trap maybe next time take a rest day, sleep in, and relax. What if we could view exercise as a means of rewarding ourselves for taking care and listening to our body? If we can change the way we think about and exercise, we can change the way we view our health and wellness disposition. I like to remind my clients to exercise and eat well because you love your body and take care of it because you only get one.
If you find yourself in this vicious cycle don't be afraid to ask for help, but feel free to try some of these tips too:
1. Drink lots of water and throw some sliced lemon and cucumber in there too for their cleansing properties.
2. Focus on green vegetables in your diet (especially at holiday meals). Load up on filling fibrous veggies, like broccoli and brussel sprouts.
3. Limit exercise in duration or intensity or take time completely off if that's what your body needs. Get outside for a walk or play in the park with friends or kids. Just be active without thinking about intentional exercise.
4. Spend quality time with family and friends (it's amazing how powerful this in almost every situation).
5. Finally.... Don't look in the mirror naked and set short term goals this New Years. Instead, look in the mirror fully clothed and set long term, meaningful goals. Get my drift? Short term vanity based goals don't last, dig deep and think big picture so you don't fall in the "New Years Resolution" or " Exercise as Punishment" trap.
Happy Holidays! Wishing you a happy and healthy 2015!