Tagged with: exercise fitness health life Nutrition Physical Activity
If you’ve been reading my latest blog posts you know that I am on a journey to get to my healthiest possible weight. Despite my involvement in the health and fitness industry for the past 7 years, I’ve had a recent reality check on food consumption and its effect on weight.
I believe there is a very skewed idea of the relationship between exercise, weight loss, and food. When I was a college athlete I was working out 9 times per week at very high intensities, I had a lot of lean muscle mass and very high resting metabolism. I could, when I had time, eat almost anything I wanted. One of my old teammates and I were reminiscing the other day about breakfast after our weekday workouts: waffles with peanut butter, hash browns, eggs, chocolate milk and a bagel to go for later…yikes! Let’s just say its been a tough transition back to real world eating the last 5 years.
Yes, 5 years post-college athlete, I still forget that I can’t eat whatever I want. But in the back of my mind, there’s a little voice that says, “of course you can have a brownie, you worked out today!” This mentality I believe is the biggest pit-fall of weight maintenance. There are two sides to it, you worked out so you can eat junk OR you ate junk so your punishment is to go workout. This relationship between exercise and food is a dangerous one with which I have recently been wrestling.
It doesn’t seem to make logical sense, but I’ve had to separate calories burned from calories consumed and start treating each food day the same. I used to only have dessert on running days and I always had a protein-rich meal on lifting days, but since I’ve started really tracking what I eat, I’ve started to see how quickly that can get out of balance.
I think the key to my success so far has been improving the consistency of my eating. I no longer change what I eat based on my exercise and I don’t change my exercise amount based on what I’ve eaten. I try to eat at similar times of the day with lots of fruits and veggies included and I have decreased my total amount of food consumed. I have kept my exercise consistent and added some more walking to my days. This saves me plenty of space for cheat nights like eating out with friends or enjoying rich snacks during the Super Bowl. Not using exercise as a punishment or using food as a reward for exercise is, I believe, a must-have for successful weight maintenance.
How do you balance food an exercise? Do you eat differently on days you exercise? I’d like to hear from you!