This should not blow your mind, but it always bears repeating: You benefit from exercise independent of whatever food habits you might have.
What I mean is, whether you go to the gym and then go home and eat half a pizza or a chicken breast and some broccoli, you have still benefited from moving your body and getting your heart rate up. Please do not let people tell you that your workout is “negated” or “pointless” or “worthless” based on what you choose to eat.
One time, some years ago, after teaching two spin classes back-to-back, I pulled a giant muffin out of my lunch bag and WENT. IN. As I was in the throes of food-passion, someone walked by and loudly proclaimed “WAY TO CANCEL OUT ALL THAT HARD WORK!”
Imagine now, dear reader, my face – mouth full of carbs, both cheeks nearly stuffed like a squirrel before winter – slowly blinking at Mr. Food Police.
Here’s the thing: we can work out without dieting. We can work out without weight loss or weight loss goals. There are SO many reasons to move our bodies that don’t involve getting smaller.
Here is a quick list of reasons why Mr. Food Police was wrong:
- It’s none of his business what anyone else is eating
- Exercise can’t be negated. No matter what you do after exercise, you still exercised.
- There’s no such thing as “bad food” or a wrong way to eat food.
- Did I mention your body is your business?
On a serious note, I have met so many people over the years who live in guilt for enjoying food. Sit with that for a second. People – in this world where life can be so hard and so stressful for so many legitimate reasons – are putting themselves through hell over wanting to eat something sweet or savory.
To me, that’s nuts.
Now, is it worth your time to learn about nutrition and listen to your body about what food choices feel good and which ones might not feel so good? YES! But, learning about nutrition and how to live a healthy, balanced life does not include singling out “bad” foods or believing that eating a muffin after your workout somehow cancels it out. Your heart, muscles, and lungs will most certainly tell you a different story down the road.
While we’re on the subject, sometimes I get annoyed when I visit fitness studios and within one session, someone wants to talk about food. I THOUGHT WE WERE DOING PILATES, BARB?!
I don’t need to talk about food to do Pilates or CrossFit or cycling or ANYTHING. Neither does anyone else. I want you to know you have the right to ignore people when they give you unsolicited food/diet advice – whether it’s the rando walking by you in the gym or the trainer you just hired to help you get strong so you can chase your kiddos around the park.
Always remember: You benefit from exercise independent of whatever food habits you might have.