I’ve noticed a lot of posts on social media lately encouraging people to work out so they don’t feel guilty about eating meals during the holidays. I certainly admit that I ran a Turkey Trot last week, knowing that I was going to enjoy a big feast later in the day. But I also told my husband that we don’t use exercise as a replacement for overeating. The two shouldn’t be a means to balance each other out. Sometimes it may seem that way, but it shouldn’t really be the case.
Of course, many of us exercise to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight, or even to lose weight at times. But exercise isn’t just a form of diet. It is a healthy activity that also releases endorphins and makes us feel good about life and ourselves.
On Thanksgiving there were a lot of #burntheturkey #earntheturkey and it was driving me crazy. You don’t have to earn your turkey. Thanksgiving is a holiday meant to be spent with friends and family. The same goes for Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years and other holidays. Exercise isn’t the ticket that allows you to enjoy turkey or any other meal. You don’t have to earn that food through exercise, at any time.
When we say that we earned a meal, it makes it seem like under other circumstances, we shouldn’t eat or enjoy such foods. That is totally unfair! Food is not only an essential part of life, but also a very important part of socializing and our cultures.
We should of course aim for a balance in our lives and strive to eat healthy most of the time. We should also have times where we enjoy a little indulgence. Dessert is delicious and so are hamburgers, french fries, or whatever your pleasure might be. When we don’t allow ourselves to eat these things, we deprive our wants, and often go overboard when we have the opportunity.
Exercise on the other hand, shouldn’t be a punishment. Sweat is not your fat crying. That statement drives me nuts. Enough with the fat nonsense! Exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle and sweat is the output from your effort. Nothing is crying. Your body, in fact, is likely rejoicing.
Aim for balance this holiday season. Eat mostly healthy. Watch your portions. And exercise when you can because it is good for you. But please don’t punish yourself because you overdo it at a meal. Go ahead and enjoy some holiday appetizers, desserts, or drinks.
Pick an exercise that you enjoy. Carve out time most days to get a workout in and enjoy that sweat. Then take a moment to look at yourself in the mirror and smile!