I Don't Work Out or Eat Like You Think I Do: An Argument for Moderation
- Category Health, Nutrition
These days, I don't count calories, track expenditure, macros, steps/miles walked, weight lifted, etc. I eat intuitively and I exercise the same way. For me, it's easy, sustainable, feels good, and it is all based out of respecting my body and what it needs. The result is that I love my workouts instead of dread them, and my eating style is healthy and genuinely highly enjoyable.
I eat a whole foods, plant-based diet, but my diet has no "rules" per se, no restrictions or things that are off limits. There are no "bad" foods, though to be honest, after years away from more processed foods, fast food & other "junk" food doesn't even really look edible to me anymore. It took a little while, but I honestly don't want it anymore. With that said, I do enjoy a good hamburger, I love beer, I eat dark chocolate almost every day. I love cheese, I enjoy bread, and I eat at any time of the day that I like. The good news is that there are delicious, minimally-processed, whole food versions of (most of) these things (remember that the quality and handling of foods is important too).
I work out on a regular basis, but I never push through illness or pain. My workouts almost never go over 50 minutes and usually range between 30-45 minutes. I give myself plenty of rest (at least 1-2 days a week), and it's not uncommon for me to take a week off of structured/intense workouts. I am in my thirties and I am still gaining endurance, flexibility and strength. I often follow along with our own workout programs for my personal workouts.
As some of you guys might know from the before and after story I shared a while back, I have been on the other end of this spectrum. I used to count and recount calories eaten and burned obsessively. I used to let my caloric intake, expenditure, and scale weight rule my life. It was miserable, and ironically it never got me the results that I wanted. In fact, I was 40 lbs heavier and I had a lot of health problems.
I am introducing you to my two personal experiences (then and now) because it takes some work and time to get to the second place that I'm talking about, where you've ditched dieting, militant habits, and overexercising (or under exercising for that matter). And it can be hard to be a beginner, new to all of this; how can one be expected to do any of these things "intuitively" when they really aren't sure yet of what they're doing?
In all honesty, it's a bit of a trust fall and it takes a combination of research (I recommend lots of reading, consulting with professionals you trust, and a careful, skeptical outlook), discipline, and openness with yourself. This particular post is not about this topic, but if you have specific questions about where to start - anything that I can address in a vlog or article that might be helpful to you - please don't hesitate to share.
My goal with this article and sort of confessional vlog is to encourage you to understand that health and fitness are within your reach, and it does not necessarily require a brutal, extreme makeover of your habits. In fact, those strict habits may end up harming your body or at least hindering progress towards your goals. You don't have to spend time counting, tracking, calculating, weighing, measuring, entering data, etc. Life doesn't have to be like that, and that's not necessarily what good health looks like.
You absolutely can be fit/lean/healthy and not have your entire life revolve around the habits it takes to get there or maintain those results. That is my message with this article; strive for it, because it's entirely within your reach, and it doesn't have to take over your life.
I am not sure how this message will go over and I'm fairly sure that some may call me irresponsible for explaining how relatively relaxed I am in my own health and fitness routines and habits. But that's my truth; this is my situation. And I think that it's less effective and possibly even counterproductive and dangerous to set up a totalitarian mindset where you only promote the concept of perfection; it's just not realistic and I think it can be alienating and actually set people up for unhealthy relationships with food and exercise. I think the "all or nothing" approaches are part of what keep so many people away from trying out healthy habits at all.
If we approach the topic with a sense of moderation, always with an eye on doing better today than we did yesterday, it's a much healthier, functional, sustainable and likely successful pathway to actually implementing and keeping those healthy changes.
What about you? Have you found your place of balance? Are you still in the research & discovery stage? What works for you?
Thanks for reading/watching!