I’ve written a variation of this exact post a couple of times.  I feel like I’m beating a dead horse.

But still.

It’s a message that hasn’t sunk in yet for a lot of us and it bears repeating.

We need to stop treating exercise as PUNISHMENT.

and…

We need to stop EXERCISING AWAY our BAD FOOD CHOICES.

Quick story.

I had a hill workout planned for last Tuesday night.  These are particularly HARD but oh so fun and rewarding for my clients.  Lots of sweat and lots of laughter.  Well it started storming pretty badly just beforehand so I had to cancel the workout. Lightning + wet grass + a hill + people = INJURY.  That’s when something happened that prompted this post.

A client (who agreed to let me use her as an example Smile) messaged me and said how disappointed she was about the rain.  Her words – “Man, I wish the rain would pass and we could do the hill.  I gotta work this donut off!!” 

Bah!

“WORK IT OFF.”

I know that, for me personally, this used to be a daily mantra.  After years of anorexia, I was just hungry.  I started binge eating (and purging).  I’d feel so horrible about myself after a binge that I’d spend two hours on the elliptical to atone for my sins.  I look back now and I cringe at those memories.  It took MANY years and MANY lessons for me to finally get to a place of happiness and contentment when it comes to my body and food and exercise.

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Here are the takeaways:

  • Exercise is not punishment for your inability to express self control.  That sounds harsh but so is treating your body like a punching bag.
  • Food should be seen as fuel for your workouts and for everyday life.
  • Food is also enjoyable.  You don’t have to eat like a robot –> just make wise decisions 85% of the time.  The remaining 15% can be trashy donuts if that’s what keeps you sane.
  • You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.  If you want to truly change your body, you must change your diet.
  • Actually, you COULD out-exercise your bad diet.  But you don’t have that kind of time in your day.

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And lastly,

  • Exercise can be a beautiful tribute to the freedom of movement.  Do it because you’re able tonot because you have to.  If “freedom” or “beautiful tribute” aren’t words that you’d use to describe your current workout plan, I suggest you change plans. 

This perpetual buying into quick fixes and trainers that yell at you and diet magazines and photoshoped images….it needs to stop.  With us.  With this generation of 30-somethings.

All hands in the huddle.

MADE. FOR. MORE*,” on three.

Ready.  1 – 2 – 3.

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QUESTION:  How often do you personally used the phase, “WORK IT OFF” when it comes to poor food choices?  Do you view exercise as punishment?

splendid…lindsay

*I’ve got a whole “Made for More”-series coming up. It’ll be good.

  1. She Rocks Fitness says:

    Yes I think we have all been guilty of this at one point or another! It definitely doesn’t happen as much anymore. I am grateful that I can train as hard as I do. Being able to move and sweat on a daily basis feels so good and rewarding. It makes me happy. I like being happy after my workouts. :)

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  3. Sarah Overton says:

    I like feeling strong :) I sometimes forget that until I start moving and then I remember… I need to remember how much exercise is an anti-depressant, anti-anxiety (for me anyway)… When I get overwhelmed spending a few minutes MOVING helps my attitude and outlook!

  4. Emily says:

    Thank you so much for this!!!! I cringe every time a friend says “gotta go to spin so I can go out for dinner”, I learned w few years ago that DIET helps lose weight and th eliptical is just good cardio

  5. Kimberly Lee says:

    Yes, yes, yes. I learned to appreciate my ability to move during my 2nd pregnancy when early complications left me on a modified bed rest. Now, I celebrate being able to exercise. Although, I freely admit that I sometimes fall into this mindset.

  6. Liz says:

    Love this post!! It drives me nuts when I see things on facebook like ‘ It takes 572 burpees to burn off one scoop of ice cream”… You exercise because you LOVE your body.. not because you want to punish it or eliminate your food choices…

  7. Bonnie says:

    Such a great post and reminder. I definitely don’t do this anymore, but I used to! And I think it’s because I didn’t know the value of diet. Now, I could not exercise all day, but I choose to eat less on those days. Although it’s pretty tough for me NOT to move if I can help it – like you, it’s such a meaningful, fun, empowering and consistent part of my day that I don’t like to pass it up unless I need a rest day (which I take 2-3 a week)! Lately my issue has been eating just to eat. Oh man, I feel like I ate the house last night! Not good choices either. Which, if I had room in my day for that would be have been okay, but I didn’t, and my choices we’re stellar. All that to say, there’s no way I’m exercising it off today – just being grateful my body can move and choosing to fuel it with healthier things. :) Thanks for this great post (and I LOVE the made for more concept!).

  8. Maggie [Eat Pray Lift] says:

    All of this is spot on! Exercise is not a bad-diet eraser, nor should it be.. Been there, done that, and it’s just does NOT work.

    Exercise is a freaking GIFT that we should enjoy.

    Ugh. Just so much YASSSSSS. <3

  9. Jenny says:

    LOVE this post! I’ve been really lucky that I’ve been able to turn off any negative body image thoughts and just accept things as they were. Many women around me are constantly shaming their bodies and shaming their poor food choices but then not doing anything about it. Frankly, I don’t have time or energy for that! But what I did notice yesterday after eating so healthy and exercising so hard for the last few months was that I felt crappy for eating Oreos. Not shamed, but bummed I didn’t make a better food choice. I can’t decipher if that was because I’m eating for fuel for exercise now or if it’s because I know Oreos won’t do anything to help me flatten my tummy. I don’t like thinking that way.
    I’m finally starting to love my body after 2 kids and many many years of inactivity because I love running. And lifting. And sweating. And feeling like a bad ass when I conquer hill repeats. And speed work. ITS JUST SO DANG FUN!!!
    I realized last Saturday that I’ve falling madly in love with working out when all I could think about on a massage table was how I would rather be running!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Jolene says:

    I LOVE this! it is SO true too. I cringe when I hear people say that too, and while I have fallen into this myself in the past, it truly is about exercising for what it does for you and your body AND your mind, and not to work off donuts, a bad eating day, food guilt, whatever. Exercise because you want to, are able to and it makes you happy. end of story.

  11. RFC says:

    I love this post Lindsay, thank you for writing it. I’ve been fortunate to have not suffered from disordered eating or exercising in the past, but I DID come from a place where I thought exercise was a chore. When I found running 8 years ago, everything changed. Now I feel the same way you do, exercise is a tribute to what our bodies are capable of. It’s FUN and it’s enjoyable. I wish everyone could feel that way!

  12. Shellee says:

    I shamingly admit that I was one of those clients that would workout to eat. At least 50% of the time, i was bogging my system down with the wrong eats. Since your professional instruction, I now feel more energetic and proud of myself. The most rewarding is hearing my children ask “Mom is this healthy?”

  13. Carla says:

    While I would like to claim I’ve never said that – – I bet I did in college and have just forgotten. Now? Movement is a gift I give to myself not a punishment.

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