Exercise is Not Punishment

Thanksgiving has come and gone; how are you feeling?

Happy and successful for sticking to your commitments and not derailing your healthy eating habits? Or miserable because you completely missed the mark and went on a binge for the whole holiday weekend? I’m guessing it’s the latter, so you’re hitting the gym harder than usual and vowing to eat kale until Christmas. But feeling guilty is only a trap that keeps you caught in that vicious cycle of shame.

Perhaps there’s a better conversation to be had, because I’m sure there’s quite few of you dedicated souls that stuck to your healthy eating habits and feel bad because you missed out or felt left out while everyone else enjoyed the holiday with carefree abandon.

Okay, I know this idea of negating our bad eating habits with exercise seems to come from a place that makes sense. To avoid weight gain, calories-in has to equal calories-out. To lose weight, calories-in has to be less than calories-out. And if we eat more calories than usual, we start to devise ways to bolster the “calories-out” side of the equation so that we avoid gaining weight. In that sense, yes it seems logical. But obsessing over that logic is making us crazy!

Exercise is not punishment! Moving your body should never be done as punishment and you do not have to earn your food. And losing weight does not change negative body image. Less will always be more — less judgement, less shame, less self-criticism, less worry, less stress. Stop being your own worst enemy. Abandon the guilt and move forward with a positive outlook that doesn’t criticize your mistakes and shortcomings, but builds up your self esteem.

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