Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. We had a wonderful time here in NY. On Saturday we went into the city with Rock and hung out at Chelsea Piers. Some of you may remember our buddy Zach who has done several half marathons with us. We got a chance to watch him play a hockey game. He scored two goals and won the “player of the game” award.
On Sunday we loaded the car up as a family and went to Bear Mountain. We visited the zoo and went to their Oktoberfest. Fall foliage is at its peak in the Northeast and we had a great time touring around.
This week I have a few posts on different attitudes/mindsets that can be unhealthy. I have experienced all three of them and have spent years working to change my attitude and view point. I wanted to share them with you and some ideas on how we can approach our lives in a much more positive and healthy way.
I have shared in the past that I was once a competitive figure skater. At the age of 14 I moved to and lived at a training center. Skating was my life and I was able to compete nationally and travel around the country as a competitor and as a performer. It was a great life but there was a very unhealthy body image that comes along with this. We were often scrutinized by our coaches and some judges, and there was an ideal “skinny” body type that people strove to have.
I have always had muscular legs and when I would stand in a ballet class and compare myself to some of the tinier girls, it would really upset me. I spent years obsessed with getting “skinny” and eating an obsessively fat free diet. It never occurred to me at the time that I was an athlete, that I had triple jumps that flew across the ice and I was a natural jumper. To me, I just didn’t look the way I should.
Thus began an obsession of working out that followed me for a very long time. I even spent a few years taking various diet pills. I am embarrassed to admit that and considered not sharing. But this is about my journey to a healthier life and if this strikes a chord with even one person, then mission accomplished.
Once I quit skating I wanted to stay in shape but also be thin. I started running, taking yoga classes, other fitness classes, and doing at home work outs. What started as a great way to continue being healthy and fit, quickly became an obsession.
I remember one night when we were living in NYC, Rock and I had been wanting to go to a particular barbecue restaurant for a long time. We finally got a reservation and went and had a delicious dinner on a long awaited Friday night out. We had these awesome chips with blue cheese dip and some incredible bbq. After dinner we went home, and at 8:00pm I went to our spare bedroom and did an hour long workout.
Why did I do that? Because I thought it would balance out the calories and fat I had just consumed. Basically I killed what could have been an awesome date night. I should have been sitting on the couch drinking a beer and enjoying a nice evening out with my significant other. Instead I was worried about gaining weight from that one dinner I had.
The reality is, that one dinner wasn’t going to be the cause of weight gain and that one workout wasn’t going to be what kept me from gaining weight. Our weight and our health are a culmination of choices we make over a long period of time. Our choices of what we eat, how we exercise, and many other factors over the long run are what determines how “fit” we are.
A hard workout might feel good after a splurge meal, but it isn’t going to “reverse damage.” While working out is a very important part of my life and I highly recommend that everyone finds some physical activity that they enjoy, I have found that what we eat and how much we eat plays a far greater role in our overall weight. Exercising alone will not lead you down the path to fitness. But a generally healthy diet will contribute greatly to this.
What I had finally figured out a few years ago is that it is all about balance. By enjoying a bit of exercise and having a balanced diet that is mostly healthy but allows for some splurging in small amounts, you really can have it all. And you don’t have to spend hours every day at the gym, or panic if you happen to choose a donut for breakfast instead of some oatmeal.
I personally love to run and I prefer to run long distances. I would rather do a daily 7 miler and throw in a nice long run on the weekends because that is what makes me feel best. I don’t do it because I feel like I have to or that it is the amount I need to erase the calories I have loaded in. Sure it allows me to enjoy my splurges with a lot less guilt, but I never have to feel that panic again after a meal. And if I do feel like I made a poor choice one day, I can comfortably decide that a nice run the following morning and healthier choices throughout the day will get me back on track.
It is important to make sure we try to find balance in all parts of our lives. Balance in our work, our play, and eating can make us happier and erase all that negative noise we might have in the back of our heads. Aim to eat intuitively. Listen to your body when it comes to exercise as well as what your body needs for fuel.
Have you ever had an unhealthy exercise addiction?