By Amy Bondar, Nutritional Therapist
Do you exercise to feel good and be healthy or do you exercise so you can eat whatever you want?
Recently while on holidays, I saw a couple working out in the resort gym and then shortly after that, spotted them at the poolside snack bar eating a plate of onion rings. I laughed and said while pointing to their food, “didn’t you just workout?!” The woman responded, “we exercise so we can eat whatever we want.” Really?? I thought to myself.
I recall a similar incident after doing a Hot Yoga class, I overheard a girl in the change room say, “I could totally go for McDonalds right now.” Really?? I thought to myself.
In both cases I was so surprised that they would want to eat junk food right after they exercised. It baffled me as to why somebody would want to put such unhealthy food into their body after they just did something so good for themselves. What would their body say if it could talk? “Thanx man, after all I just did for you, this is how you repay me?” Or “Perfect, you just fed me the building blocks to help make you fat, toxic and age quickly!”
Personally, I exercise because I enjoy it, it contributes to my health, it helps me maintain my body weight and most importantly, it makes me feel really good – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The first thing I want to do is thank my body with high quality, nutrient dense food. My body worked hard for me and secreted some serious feel-good hormones, boosted my metabolism, helped sweat out some toxins, got my blood flowing, my heart pumping, helped clear my mind, resolved some stress, and so much more. I just want to give it back all the essential building blocks it would need to reenergize, repair, rebuild and resume its infinite tasks.
Each time we exercise we have a perfect opportunity to give back to our bodies. To take a moment and say, “thank you.” To appreciate all it has done to try to make us feel better and healthier. Nourishing it with whole, vibrant, colorful, tasty and fresh food is the best way we can do that.
If you are one of those people who exercise so you can eat whatever you want, that’s okay too, but don’t expect your body to feel or look better than the food you are giving it. Perhaps consider that your workouts may even feel better, less hard, less of a challenge and a drag to get through if you fed your body with kinder food. Maybe, just maybe, before you go to the junk, you nourish your body with a little love first, especially right after it worked so hard for you. Take a moment, to embody, to listen to what your body (not your mind) is asking for – would it be a glass of water, a refreshing smoothie, an omelet? Or would it really be asking you for a beer and a plate of deep-fried food?
Brett Sharkey, founder of Trail Embassy, says, “I am guilty of that ice cold beer after a 4 hour mountain run! Here’s my trick – I tell my body its full of loving calories!” There is wisdom in Brett’s way too!