Diet And Exercise Don't Have A Rule Book

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Take everything you've been told about diet and exercise, and forget it.

Just kidding.
Sort of.
More like, take everything you've been told and remember that those are not set-in-stone rules. Because if there's anything that doesn't have a rule book, it's diet and exercise.

Conversations about food or fitness can be touchy. Some people love to talk about it. Others, like me, would usually rather not. For me, it's because some people get preachy about it. They talk about "right" and "wrong" ways to work out, or "good" and "bad" foods to eat. (Or worse, they'll refer to food strictly by their ingredients, e.g., referring to pasta as "a plate full of carbs.") They join a pilates class and eat a salad and suddenly they're experts.

There are so many contradictions when it comes to fitness advice, though, and quite frankly, all of it is so subjective. There are way too many variables in play for there to ever be a sure-fire way to get the results you're looking for. What works for one person could very likely not work for another.

How can we act like you can follow these five easy steps to shed ten pounds in one week!!! no matter who you are or what your circumstances? Not only that, but how can we act like that's okay?

Losing ten pounds in a week is not healthy.
Feeling like you are not allowed a single snack is not healthy.
Forcing yourself to go to the gym when your body has had enough is not healthy.

Here's the thing about food and exercise: A lot of us are way too preoccupied with it. Even if our intentions are good.

We can't think about it so much. We can't spend our whole lives being so concerned with how much we weigh or what we've eaten or what we look like. We'll regret it later, once it's too late. What we need to do is simply listen to our bodies and give it what it needs (and sometimes what it wants, too).

Personally, right now I'm working on letting it all go because to be honest, it was taking up too much mental energy.

I've used MyFitnessPal off and on for years to track my food and exercise. I recently had an issue with my account where I got locked out, so I couldn't use it for a few days. Eventually, I got it sorted out, gaining access back to my account, but what I realized during those few days was that actually, I don't want to track everything. It's kind of a hassle.

It's annoying to have to go onto my phone after every single meal or snack and log what I ate. Either that, or I'd wait until the end of the day to enter in the data but then couldn't remember everything I'd eaten. And you know what? Sometimes I just didn't do it at all. If I knew that I had snacked too much that day, I just wouldn't log any of those snacks, and suddenly I was back within my goal. Helpful, huh?

So for now, I'm taking a break from tracking my food. Maybe I'll get back into it one day. Who knows. In the meantime, I'm enjoying not having to worry about it. Overall, I eat well, though I will admit that there are days like yesterday where I have frozen yogurt for dinner. That's cool. I enjoyed it and I didn't have an app's calorie count looming over me.

As for exercise, my goal is simply to do some sort of activity four days a week. To do what feels good on days where it feels good to do it. I try not to guilt myself too much. For both food and exercise, I felt (feel) pressure to follow certain rules, but from who? Me. Just me. I was my own problem.

Guess what: You're not a better person because you work out or avoid sweets, and you're not a worse person if you don't do those things.

When it comes to health and fitness, there are a few things we know for certain:
Weight loss depends on calories in vs. calories out.
Drinking enough water is very important.
Running will always suck.

Still, the only rule is that there are no rules.

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