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EXERCISE IS NOT PUNISHMENT FOR WHAT YOU ATE! GLITTERU.COM


Does this sound familiar?


“I gotta go work off that birthday cake!”


“Burn off that booze!”


“I overdid it this weekend, I’ll be hitting the gym hard Monday morning!”


“I’m going to be going to 3 different little kids’ birthday parties this weekend — better run a couple extra miles today!”


“I work out so I can eat whatever I want.”


“If I lose another two pounds, I can eat the cupcake I’ve been waiting for.”


“I was good all day, so I’ll have some ice cream tonight.”


“I worked out a lot today, so I deserve some cookies.”


You may be wondering what the problem is with those statements. You may be thinking that telling yourself to go work off birthday cake or booze is motivating you to get to the gym and work out, and that’s a good thing, right?


Here’s the thing: statements like those above start us on the slippery slope to disordered eating.

--- All of those above statements do two things: they make exercise a punishment and food a reward. Food and exercise are wonderful, powerful things, and when we start casting them as reward and punishment it makes them loaded, unhealthy, powerful things.


When we see food as a reward and exercise as a punishment, that can start us on what I call “binge/purge lite.” When we get through something hard or meet a small goal, we start to overload on unhealthy “reward” food, then start to feel ashamed about it and punish ourselves with excessive exercise.


The behavior on both ends is unhealthy, and we’re left feeling bad about ourselves in the process. Cue the continuous cycle of eating to feel better and exercising to punish ourselves because we feel worse.


---- The inherent message in all of these is what I’m eating is “bad” and therefore I must work out . There are two problems with this: first, what you’re eating is not bad, it’s just food; and second, working out should be a stand alone positive activity, not a punishment for eating food you enjoy.


When you turn exercise into a punishment, you’re a lot less likely to stick with it. Who the heck wants to voluntarily submit to punishment? Nobody.


It’s a lot easier to get yourself to work out when you’re thinking about it as an enjoyable activity that has major benefits for your body and mind.


Even if you don’t find it enjoyable, your success rate is going to be significantly higher if you’re thinking about exercise from a benefits perspective instead of a punishment one. So let’s change those statements around:


“I can’t wait to get out for a walk and enjoy some fresh air!”


“I overdid it this weekend and it didn’t feel too good. Now I know what’s right for my body.”


“I’m going to be going to 3 different little kids’ birthday parties this weekend — I can’t wait to go to the gym for an hour and have some time to myself to enjoy my workout!”


Now let’s turn to the statements surrounding food: “I work out so I can eat whatever I want., “If I lose another two pounds, I can eat the cupcake I’ve been waiting for,” “I was good all day, so I’ll have some ice cream tonight,” “I worked out a lot today, so I deserve some cookies.” Using food as a reward — especially unhealthy food — hinders your progress and gives that food A LOT of power.


Think about this: if you’re rewarding losing a certain amount of weight by having a cupcake, you just changed shifted your goal from losing weight to eating cupcakes.


I’m pretty sure if you’re trying to lose weight, you don’t want to make your goal eating cupcakes.


In the latter two statements, choosing to reward yourself with unhealthy food just set back all the progress you made during the day. Why do that? So let’s make those statements a little healthier:


“I work out because it makes my body and mind feel great and helps me meet my goals.”


“If I lose another two pounds, I will be two pounds closer to my goal and that feels awesome!”


“I ate really healthy food all day, go me!”


“I worked out a lot today, so I deserve to eat in a way that supports all my hard work.”


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