It’s Christmas week and holiday parties are in full swing. It’s going to continue this way until the New Year…and I love it! Today I want to address what I see as the dominant mindset about food and fitness, why it’s the cause of so much frustration, and why my team and I work so hard with clients to change it.
There is so much amazing food, lots of tasty treats, and plenty of opportunities to sample people’s favorite recipes. It’s Christmas for your tastebuds. Cookies, pies, cakes, chocolates, turkey, stuffing, and all the fixings…Mmmmm!
This is how it should be!
However, if you follow most fitness and food-related accounts on social media, and you get a completely different story.
We are only a couple of weeks into December and I’m already sick of hearing and reading about how people need to “hit the gym” to “burn off those holiday calories”.
Seriously, if your nutrition plan is based around counting calories and “burning them off in the gym”, you will continually struggle with your weight, be frustrated, and find it hard to truly enjoy food.
This philosophy and mindset are full of negativity.
By subscribing to this perspective, you are shaming yourself for enjoying great food with awesome people.
To make it worse, you’ve taken the mindset that you need punishment for it, and that you sentence yourself to “gym purgatory” to “sweat off” those negative calories. REALLY!?
I’m a firm believer that food is meant to be enjoyed. Make (or buy) great quality meals, and enjoy every moment of them with people you love being around.
This doesn’t even touch the issues I have with the exercise perspective (I will get to that shortly).
If you’ve fallen into this negative mindset trap before, it’s time to think deeper about the mindset with which you approach food.
Here are my Top 3 Action Tips to Help Connect Positively With The Awesomeness of Food:
Take your time while eating. Savor each bite. Let the flavors, textures, and nuances of the food delight your taste buds and your brain. Be mindful of these flavors and enjoy them thoroughly.
Choose the highest quality possible. I often make the joke that life’s too short for bad wine/pizza/chocolate (insert food you love).
While meant as a joke, it speaks to the truth. Quality matters! When you slow down and follow the first step, you will notice a dramatic difference.
You will notice you won’t eat as much, you will enjoy it more, and you will be more satisfied with the overall experience. The bonus is that in addition to tasting better, high-quality sourcing, minimal processing, and thoughtful preparation of ingredients provide better nutrients to your body. You win on all fronts (OK, sometimes the cost is greater…but not always)!
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Your body is a really smart system. Unfortunately, too many people “dumb it down”, and it’s been years (or decades) since they listened to the signals their body is sending. This means they aren’t good at recognizing them.
On the plus side, these signals are constant. Tune in to them and you will learn A LOT about how your body is responding to the food you eat (and many other decisions you make in life).
Are you energized? Tired? Nauseous? Have trouble focusing? Bloated? Gassy? Lethargic? Itchy? Blotchy?
Many times these types of symptoms are related to the food you eat and how that food is being digested. Tune in. The answers are there waiting for you!
Now, onto exercise!
First things first…exercise is a REWARD to your brain and body. It’s meant to be enjoyed, cherished, and harnessed to maximize our mindset, health, and performance in life.
It saddens me that so many people “hate” exercise. This is due to mindset and erroneous “programming”. This programming starts early in life when society begins to teach kids that exercise is “hard”, “painful”, and meant to be meted out as punishment for mistakes.
Remember Gym class from school? If you weren’t skilled at team sports (particularly those with balls and sticks), you were physically and socially shunned and meant to think that you were inferior in some way.
Far too many people equate exercise with “the gym” or these painful memories of school Phys. Ed, but forget about the times they were kids and spend years happily exploring movement with their friends on the playground, front lawn, and all over the neighborhood.
If you were one of these people, it’s time to shift your mindset.
There are virtually unlimited ways to exercise, and YES…you are allowed to enjoy the process, even when you are sweating (SERIOUSLY!). Find a few modes of exercise that you enjoy, and do them regularly.
It’s winter, go outside!
Here are some great options:
- Winter walking in the neighborhood
- Build a snowman, igloo, or snow fort
- Have a snowball fight with friends and family (or willing strangers)
At FRESH!, we work hard to help clients find enjoyment, but we also add a few other components.
Most importantly, we believe that movement should be done properly.
This is your foundation for future success. If you are in pain or injured, it defeats the purpose of getting active in the first place!
Second, we believe that proper movement is a series of skills that anyone can learn. This process is never-ending and infinitely rewarding for those who embrace the concept of building their physical literacy.
Finally, we believe that daily movement is a wonderful way to continue learning and integrating the mindset and habits pillars of your 4 Pillars of Personal Performance (Mindset, Habits, Movement, Fuel)
So this holiday season, when you are eating and moving, take a real look at the mindset with which you approach these 2 essential actions in life.
Amazing things will happen to your decisions when you remove shame and guilt and act based on pride, happiness, and joyful living that’s in line with your goals and honoring the awesome person you are.
Are you ready to make 2022 your healthiest, fittest, and best year ever? More importantly, are you ready to set aside excuses, move past the empty New Year’s resolutions, and actually make lasting progress? If you are, then check out our carefully designed COURSES made by professionals!