I’ve recently renamed my weekly “cheat meal” post to “Fitness Mouth.” Why you ask?
Well, I think it is short sighted to call it a ‘cheat’ meal. Its food, that’s all. I also think that we, as a society, are way too caught up in food and what it means.
We need to change the way we think about food.It is bad for your brain to think about food as a cheat or a reward or something we need to ‘restrict.’ If you eat in a way that makes you feel good - great. If you want to eat something that is not in your usual plan, that’s great too. We need to focus on our all-around well-being and not be so laser focused meal by meal.
Amelia Earhart (not the 9News lady, I'm sure she's nice) was often asked what she ate on her long trips. Many surmised that she must have had laid in tons of supplies. Nope. Her meals were fuel…simple stuff. Once she landed, she may have relished a fuller plate just as much as she enjoyed a shower or a good nights’ sleep. She used fuel for food, not for pleasure. I bet she never heard of a ‘cheat meal’ – it’s just not how she thought about food.
You literally cannot live without food. Yes, you will need to make sure you are consuming the right kinds of foods to reach your goals (I know a guy that can help you with that). The things you put in your mouth are (mostly) fuel. Some foods may taste good, but leave you feeling blah after eating. Bad fuel. Get more foods in your mouth that will make you feel good and give you energy. Good fuel. You need to fuel that big, beautiful body you’re hauling around. I promise you can make it taste good.
How many times have you heard yourself say: “I was good today I’m going to reward myself” or “I was so bad all weekend I’m only eating salad all week.” This methodology is wrong; and it can lead you down a very dark road of attaching your self-worth or the very existence of happiness to what you're eating. Do yourself a favor and do not take that path. It's dark, don't go there. You are what you eat, but that has nothing to do with your self-worth as a person.
You can’t use food as a reward or punishment. You're not a puppy. Although you're probably very cute as well. You need food to live, it's science, the indisputable kind. Imagine rewarding or punishing yourself with breathing. You need air to live, you can’t reward or punish yourself with it.
Remember, this is not an end goal, this is a lifestyle; as in your whole LIFE. There are so many amazing foods out there, so many amazing flavors and textures and smells. And what beats a great dinner with great friends? But it's called an "occasion"; as in occasionally. It has way more worth anyway when it's a mere occasion. Occasions don't ruin your diet, or your health. Except when that occasion becomes the norm. Then I must come and fix you.
What am it getting at? Glad you asked. I don't use the phrase "cheat meal". “Fitness Mouth” now refers to a meal I eat for the experience, to let my hair down, not necessarily my whole-body needs. Which is fine, but not a sustainable, day to day way to eat.
Food is fuel. Fitness Mouth is something different.
Let’s talk about it. Still not sure about what to put in your mouth? I’m here to help.
(no, these people are not sleeping.....)
Exercise is boring. The way I’ve seen most people do it. You’re killing me...
So, here’s the thing. You’ve got to be active in your exercise. Obviously physically active; although I’ve seen plenty that aren’t (that’s a whole different hilarious post). What I’m talking about is being mentally active. You’ve got to involve yourself mentally in the exercise.
How do you do that? Well, you must pay attention. Take a minute and get into your zone. I bet there are some workouts that fly by and seem effortless and others where you feel every step. I’m willing to bet that the ones that fly by are the ones where you’re not thinking about other stuff.
Let it go, Elsa. You’re not helping yourself by thinking of all the “other stuff.” Clear your mind and engage in what you’re doing.
Know what else helps? Stop dreading it. Exercise is good for you, enjoy it. Take advantage of the fact that this is the ONLY thing you should be doing for the next few minutes. Commit to this singular act and let it take over. I give you permission to like it.
And I give you permission to take pride in your taking care of yourself. Just don’t post about it non-stop. You’re not Yeezy.
I take yoga from time to time (I like to stretch while wearing expensive clothing). With pretty much every instructor I’ve had, they’ve always focused on being present in the practice. In what you’re doing at that moment. Where your hips are. Is your spine straight. What your breath is doing. Where your center is, etc. When I did track and field, my assorted coaches always talked about being active in the moment. Mostly by telling me to get my head out of my ass (always speak to your audience). I did hurdles, so it was especially critical. As it turns out, hurdles sometimes move.
How is that any different from your exercise routine? Droning on for an hour on autopilot IS boring. Get involved with what you’re doing. Think about how you feel that day; better or worse than the last workout? Are you sleepy? How is your posture? How is your body moving? Are you stressed from work? What is your body telling you?
You’re working on your body and your health, right? Get involved with it! I promise you a couple of things: 1. You’ll enjoy it more.
2. Most importantly, you’ll get much better results.
Need help helping yourself? I know a guy (and a lot of great yogis!) ...