Eat, Exercise, Repeat – but with feeling now!
Paleo, keto, plant-based, pescetarian, gluten-free, intermittent fasting and the list goes on. Not to mention the hundreds of different workout crazes being pushed on us through social media. How is anyone supposed to know what to eat and how to workout in order to live a healthy (is hot) life? Maybe it’s just me, but I’m confused and overwhelmed with all of these diets and workout trends!
Now I am by no means a holistic nutritionist or dietitian, but I am someone who has struggled with food and workout habits in the past, going from one extreme to the next, without really listening to what my body needed or wanted.
I started working out and caring about food at 13 and now at 29, I’ve finally found the balance I was looking for all along, with a couple of hiccups now and again. Hey, I’m human.
For example, the other night I was out with a girlfriend for dinner after an invigorating yoga class. Just as we were finishing up our meal, her face lit up while she excitedly announced that she wanted to end the evening with an ice cream nightcap. I, on the other hand, felt like I was carrying twin food babies. But, I knew she wouldn’t get any if I didn’t, And since I am a self-proclaimed ice cream connoisseur, not getting it made me feel like I was boring, so I caved. Did it taste good? Sure. Did I feel absolutely horrible after? 100%.
It’s the same with working out. Have you ever spontaneously had a killer workout, half of which was spent trying to figure out exactly how to duplicate what you were doing, every day moving forward, instead of just enjoying it? The other day, I woke up half an hour before my alarm went off feeling wide awake and ready to get on with my day. With a spring in my step, I decided to go for a morning walk. It was gorgeous out and I was feeling amazing but instead of just enjoying the time to myself and chance to get in a workout, I went into planning mode.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with settings goals, wanting to eat healthily, and holding yourself accountable, but there’s a difference between making a conscious effort to do so, and setting yourself up for failure with unrealistic goals. Sometimes my body doesn’t want to walk, sometimes it can’t. Other days, I can feel it begging for a good stretch or sweat. But by setting the expectation that every day I have to jump out of bed to get this walk in before work (when I could easily walk at lunch or in the evening) takes away from the enjoyment and spontaneity of it. It becomes a chore.
Do I think getting a Healthy Is Hot moment in daily and eating well is important? Of course, otherwise, I wouldn’t be here, but what’s even more important is listening to what your body is telling you.
Here are a couple ways I try to practice mindfulness when it comes to eating and exercising that will hopefully help you too!
1. Listen to your body when it’s full
Sure that extra slice of pizza or basket of blueberries looks amazing but it will still be equally as delicious later in the day or tomorrow. Pushing yourself to eat something your body is telling you it doesn’t need will result in pain and regret. Nourishing your body, not stuffing it, should be your goal.
2. Trust your body, it knows its limits
From the minute you start working out, you’re encouraged to push yourself with motivational quotes like “the day you don’t want to workout is the day you should” and “don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done.” While I’m all for a good quote and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, it’s just as crucial to be realistic about it!
Getting in movement or sweating once a day is important but that can be in the form of a walk, yoga class, weight lifting, or spinning. There will be days where you are full of energy ready to do an hour of spin, plus a yoga class, and there will be others where a walk is exactly what your body needs. Learning to understand what your body is telling you will result in more enjoyable, nourishing, and efficient workouts, as opposed to the ones you half-ass because you aren’t in the mood. Or the ones that make you throw up from pushing too hard – we’ve all been there, and no throwing up is not an accomplishment.
3. Giving into temptation
Part of living a balanced and healthy life is enjoying days where you binge on Netflix and eat that pizza or get that ice cream you’ve been craving. I ignored my body for years, thinking that it didn’t know what was best for it, so when I was craving a scoop of mint chocolate chip, I’d basically eat everything else to avoid having what I really wanted. The result? Binge eating ten things, three times as bad for me.
Had I just had that scoop I could have been satisfied and carried on with my day or week. Living a balanced life and eating a balanced diet are more than liking memes about “it’s called balance” on Instagram. It’s about not using words like “cheat day” and understanding that moderation is the best way to eat, while accepting that some days you won’t eat as healthy or workout as much as others, and that’s okay!
Do you practice mindfulness when it comes to eating and exercising? If so, what are some of your go-to tips?