Refueling Part I

by HEAB on August 16, 2009

Hello my almond butter loving friends. If you're new to HEAB, you may like to subscribe to my RSS feed or receive my posts via email. Thanks for reading!

I’m sure many of you have read this article in Time Magazine.  If not, I highly recommend it.  Excessive exercise = hunger = more food = bigger waistline.  Stop the cycle my friends. Again, it’s mostly about the food you eat, not the hours you spend exercising. Is movement important?  Yes, our bodies were not made to sit all day.  However, nor were they made to spend 2 hours on an elliptical machine followed by a weight lifting session followed by a 700 calorie carbohydrate filled smoothie. Seriously you guys, have you looked at the nutritional info. for Jamba Juice and Smoothie King?  I don’t care how many spoonfuls of green tea extract and Siberian ginseng you add to your MangoFest Smoothie.  It’s still going to contain 69 grams of sugar in one 20 ounce serving, equivalent to more than 1/3 cup of sugar!

I cringe every time I read articles about exercising x amount of time and then refueling with a high fructose corn syrup filled sports drink or a carton of chocolate milk. Does that make any sense at all?  Why do something good for our bodies, and then fill it with crap?  Another favorite of mine is when I read, I can’t wait for that huge plate of pancakes after I finish my long run. My question for that person is why are you running in the first place?  Are you running because you truly want to get out there and do something good for your heart, or are you running for the carb fest that will soon follow? Because you know what?  All those carbs in your post-run meal are only going to erase every bit of good you just did for your heart. Carbs = sugar = inflammation = BAD NEWS.

I know many of you struggle with an exercise addiction.  Trust me, I’ve been there.  In fact, I still have my days when I think I need to exercise more because I had one too many spoonfuls of almond butter or too many chips with guac. It took me a long time to get to where I am now, but after having done very little cardio in almost 8 months, I know it’s possible. Yoga and long walks have done amazing things for my body, and honestly, I’m feeling great.  Again, I’m not anti-exercise, I’m just anti-hours and hours of excessive cardio and then filling your body with junk that you don’t need!

Yesterday, I did a 2-hour hike around a trail near the yurt.  Then, after neglecting our dogs all morning, I took them on a 45 minute walk (would have been a bit longer, but it started hailing out of nowhere…talk about unpredictable mountain weather). By the time I got back, I was starving as all I’d had was my morning bowl of protein oats.  Did I grab a bottle of Gatorade or a Clif Bar?  No, I made myself a big healthy bowl of stir-fry veggies with some hummus and a few chips.

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My lunch ended with a square of dark chocolate (100%), and I was good to go.  No sports drink, gels, shot bloks, sports beans etc. required.  Wouldn’t you rather do exercise you enjoy and fill your body with the good stuff?  I know I would.

Now, there are many of you out there who truly love running and other forms of cardio, my husband included.  CD enjoys every aspect of running from his easy days to his tough track workouts. He’s talented and he works hard, but even he does not reach for that sugary sports drink after logging mile after mile.  How does he refuel after a workout? Stay tuned to find out…all I’ll say is that it does not include a trip to Smoothie King. :)

{ 89 comments }

Mara @ What's For Dinner? August 16, 2009 at 11:30 am

Such an interesting concept… so many people (including myself!) work out to eat more, not for the other benefits. Time for a shift!

Maggie August 16, 2009 at 11:32 am

Amen to that!

I have to admit, I still like a few brief cardio sessions (like 30 minute dance videos) – but running? Nope. Walking is so much more enjoyable for me.

And yoga? Ahh, love. I love it even more when I can get Bobby to do some with me – he says he feels so much better when he does yoga every day (even if it’s just 20 minutes).

Happy Sunday! Enjoy that book :)

polly August 16, 2009 at 11:32 am

Amen, hallelujah, high five, clink our oatmeal bowls, and smack on the butt, Heabs. Love you!

I read that exact article at the Library, smiled the whole time, and came home to tell D how much I loved it. I am learning my body needs more REST (even too much walking is not good for me) and more down time. Belly is happier, natural rythymns or hunger happen, and just a life is sweeter. Why oh why did it take me this long to learn that??? I am still learning. Always learning.

XOXO

psychoj1 August 16, 2009 at 11:34 am

I enjoyed that article too! It’s a pretty simple concept, but needs to be said. Loved this post!!
<3 jess

Tiffany S. August 16, 2009 at 11:41 am

GREAT post! At this point, I’m not coming from a point of too much exercise, but not enough. Good to know there are parameters.

I think the focus for most of us here in HEAB world now is health over vanity. When I was losing weight before, it was all about looks. Now it’s about health and not a bunch of numbers (scale, calories, pants size. Okay, I’m still concerned with pants size).

And,of course, the more we stay away from compulsions and addictions of any kind, the better off we are. Peace and balance, baby! Thanks for reminding us.

veganfritz August 16, 2009 at 11:54 am

I agree with most of the points stated here but I think the main thing is just to do what you love. plain and simple.

leangreenliving August 16, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I agree with you. I am long and lean after a decade of yoga with very little cardio. However this year, after a jog by my lake to enjoy the morning serenity and beauty, I was struck by how incredibly happy I felt all day. I tried it again. Happy again. Missed a day and noticed that I worried about little things. Now I run about 10 minutes a morning to benefit all day from an improved mood.

After reading the Time article (before I saw your post), I was left feeling disappointed that the message about the endorphins (not to mention the life-long benefits of healthier arteries, heart and preserved intelligence due to cardio) was not even mentioned.

gina (fitnessista) August 16, 2009 at 12:24 pm

whoooa veggiegirl and i were JUST talking about this!
there’s no point in working out to eat more.. work out because you love it, not because you want to feast out on dessert later. life is about moderation in everything, including exercise. no need to have excessive exercise and excessive junk food!
hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! we’ll definitely text it up when you get back :D

homecookedem August 16, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Heather,

I really, really needed to read this article this morning. I am sitting here on my couch with a box of tissues formerly feeling guilty for not moving this weekend. I’ve missed all my usual spinning classes and was upset. Now I have a new attitude… take care of myself! I truly do love working out, but I tend to have guilt if I miss more than a day at a time. I am going to move more focus onto feeding myself healthy meals and staying naturally active, and if I happen to workout, great! but if not, no more feeling bad about it. Thank you, thank you, thank you for showing us this article!

Have a great day!
~Emily

homecookedem August 16, 2009 at 12:28 pm

I should add, the box of tissues are for a summer cold I’m fighting… not crying over not going to the gym! hahaha! ;)

Katie August 16, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Inspired, yet again! This post is 100% fact. Plus, too much exercise can do horrible things to our bodies like bad backs, joint trouble, shin splints, stress fractures, hernias, pulled muscles/tissue, etc. Joint pain and arthritis runs in my family and while in cross country my freshman year of high school I experienced horrible pains in my hip and knee joints. There was no way that I was going to continue to put myself through that pain when I can do other things to get exercise without the grinding of my bones! I think your post will really open other’s eyes to the reality of excessive exercise and to what our bodies really need. :)

Nicole August 16, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Hi Heather
I will have to say that I agree with what the author is trying to say, but I disagree at the same time. I feel that exercise is definitely important but I think the problem is the way people USE exercise. I’m not sure if I mis-read your post or his article, but I do believe we need to focus on how we refuel and why we’re doing what we do.
It’s about balance, and I think the point in the article was leaning toward the fact that if you exercise more, you’ll “reward” yourself more…yes but that’s not where the focus should be. The issue is actually that people use exercise as an excuse to reward themselves, and that’s where the problem is.
I’m just trying to understand if the point you and the author are making is that we should exercise less or learn how to properly fuel after exercise, because I think it should be about the latter and not the former.

Heather Eats Almond Butter August 16, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Hey Nicole,
I only think people should exercise less if they are overdoing it. Daily runs, strength training, etc. can be wonderful for our bodies, but so many people tend to do too much, only harming themselves in the end. It just makes me sad to see people working out for hours in the gym only so that they can eat a huge unhealthy meal afterwards totally negating any positive effects their workout had. People should use exercise to stay healthy, get strong, maintain weight loss, etc. not so they can gorge on a big plate of waffles ladled in syrup. In my opinion, it’s all about finding balance. Exercise enough but not too much, and eat healthy amounts of the good stuff, ya know?

Kristen August 16, 2009 at 12:40 pm

I usually don’t have a problem with exercise addiction, I do get stuck on my couch on occasion, though.

Thanks for sharing your uplifting thoughts about doing what you love! It’s refreshing to be reminded that health comes from much more than some elusive balance of calories and exercise.

Heather (be well & take care) August 16, 2009 at 1:11 pm

I think you should get your own radio show or magazine article. You speak the truth! I always love reading what you have to say. xo

Damjana August 16, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Thanks for this informative link. It’s true, in my entire life of running I haven’t lost any weight doing it. Ever. By cutting the food intake I did.

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) August 16, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Excellent post, I totally whole-heartedly agree. Don’t workout just to eat; and not only that, go off and eat crap afterward. It makes me cringe when I see people (still sweaty in their workout clothes) lining up outside the carb-aholic greasy diners that line the city streets where I live. It also pains me when I see people ramming drive thru down their throats from their car. It’s like stop, slow down, enjoy your food.

I am one of those people though that is a miserable bee-otch both to myself and my loved ones if I don’t get some solid working out in daily. I crave it, I need it, it keeps me sane. It’s for the mental aspect…ever try spending days at home alone with a 2 yr old? Yeah, mama needs a 20 min quick solo run before dad goes to work for the day to be present, calm, and grounded for kiddo. And of course, yogi that I am, the majority of my exercise is yoga and in whatever poses my body is calling for for me that day.

Enjoy your Sunday Heather!

Liesl August 16, 2009 at 1:21 pm

I agree with alot of things you have said in this article, they are good reminders to all of us about where our motivation lies when it comes to exercise and our diets. However, I also have to agree with Gina (fitnessista) above it’s about doing what you love and eating what you love in moderation.
I love running, I really do, and I don’t love yoga…I do it when I feel tight and that’s about it. I love a long walk about every 4 months, but if I went on a two hour walk every day I would go crazy. I need movement, I crave strength training…I think our bodies are all created so differently and uniquely that we must get to know them and what works for us in a healthful way.
Thanks for always posting what you are thinking, and sharing your lifestyle with us. It is inspiring even if what works for your body doesn’t necessarily work for ours.

Christina August 16, 2009 at 1:26 pm

THANK YOU!! ohmygosh I read this article and am on the same wavelength as you. I used to run a lot (not excessively, like 4 times a week, running 3-ish miles at a time)in an effort to lose “those last ten pounds” but found myself supremely hungry all the time. I didn’t want to eat too much obviously, so I would act like I was “dieting” during my meals, but found myself starving and eating so many snacks that my runs were completely cancelled out and I would get really mad and upset with myself. Over the past couple of weeks I decided to just cool it and started walking about 3-4 times a week for about 45 minues at a time and doing yoga. I not only feel a million times better (even if I still haven’t technically lost those “ten pounds”) but I’m so much calmer and NICER lol. I don’t worry about “dieting” or how much I’m eating anymore. I’ve been able to tune into myself and trust my body to eat more intuitively. I think exercise is very important-don’t get me wrong-nobody benefits from being a couch potato, but you have to know whats best for yourself, and if that means toning it down, then theres no reason to feel bad about it!!

ttfn300 August 16, 2009 at 1:43 pm

so true my heabs! workout b/c you love it. i’m all about it (and that includes chosing an activity you enjoy) :)

Samantha August 16, 2009 at 1:52 pm

I read this article last week and wholeheartedly agree that working out, especially excessively, only to negate through “reward” eats, disguised as “refuel” eats, makes zero sense. Even when I was training for halfs and fulls, when I would come in from a long run, ravenous, I had something small (150-200 calories) but protein/carb ratio balanced waiting on me and would nibble on it along with hot tea to warm back up my insides. Then for the rest of the day it was eating as usual.

I still struggle with the exercising less. There are some days that I do an hour in the gym, and end up going back at night for a 90 minute yoga class. I’ve been trying to cut back on some but since I’m gaining weight again, it’s a bit scary. But obviously there is plenty of living proof out there that eating right, and exercising without overdoing is great for the body, soul, and mind!

The Fit Collegiate August 16, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Thanks for this post. The past few years, I’ve struggled with some exercise addiction. Back when I was playing tennis, I couldn’t be on the court long enough–I’d be out there 4, 5 hours a day, 6 days a week! It wasn’t until I retired from tennis, actually, that I learned to embrace my body and allow it to rest. Now, I do at most a half hour of cardio 3 days a week, 2 days of yoga or light strength training, and 2 days of rest. I’m a lot happier and healthier now that I’m being kind to my body!

Emily August 16, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Interesting article. I agree that we shouldn’t exercise just to be able to reward ourselves with a mondo-calorie-feast. Refueling after exercise is really important, but I’d rather do it by eating something that isn’t going to undo everything I’ve just done! For me, exercise is a huge stress relief. I think it helps prevent some of the negative effects of stress on my body. :-)

Thanks for the great post, Heather!

Carolyn August 16, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Go Hea-tha Go Hea-tha! i am doing a big giant cheer for you about the over exercise + giant meals (in reaction to it) = weight gain….and i love that article….

I gained @10 lbs this winter when i discovered food bloggers for the first time and tried to keep up with that mouse on a wheel exercise pace, of some…If it works for you, great…But i would rather skip the 700 calorie work out… and the 700 calorie dried fruit, syrup laden bla bla carb binge after….or a day filled with sugar alcohol filled soy protein isolate(ouch my stomach)bars

My goal is long lean muscle and maitaining what some would call low end slim but “normal” weight for my height, and yes i do weigh myself… I look at calorie counting and weighing yourself as no different than the meticulously recording a runners heart rate, distance, and duration, plus calories burned, of a run…

But i am OLD, what do i know…All i do is walk……hehe

Well, i was going to tell you how much i have been enjoying cooked broccoli/baby bellas/asst veggies and hummus… thinking i had come up with a semi unique combination…..along the same lines as marinutta, but with hummus! Then darn it, you talk about hummus on veggies today…I will come up with something new to contribute!…someday…I do like that corn chip idea for the top… ;-)

Shelby August 16, 2009 at 2:38 pm

My mom never exercises and is in good shape. All she does is run around with the kids all day!

Love your colorful lunch! I had a big veggie stir-fry after my workout today too! Great minds think alike ;)

Danielle August 16, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Heather, thank you for keeping this blog. I am so grateful for this post. I have never been an avid fitness buff and actually discovering this blogosphere of healthy lifestyle ladies (as much as it has been beyond rewarding in countless ways) made me feel guilty about it. I love yoga, and long walks, and the occasional jog through a beautiful atmosphere but I can’t find pleasure in spending hours at the gym using all kinds of awkward machines until I’m sweating buckets. Ha. On the other hand I can appreciate some spinning or kickboxing classes when they’re being lead by wonderful and inspiring instructors in a fun environment for how strong they make me feel. What I’ve realized, and am still in the process of coming to terms with, is that everyone is different; certain foods and food combinations work best with certain bodies, and physical activity, whether it’s strenuous exercise, or calm daily movements, can work at particular times in varying quantities for certain people. What’s important is how it all comes together and makes you feel, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Positivity, self-love, and well being is the goal. And here I thought a diversity-advocate like me knew this all along ;) . Thanks again, I’m so glad that you’re enjoying your vacation.

Ellen August 16, 2009 at 3:12 pm

i agree with your almost completely, but one must remember that each person is different. personally, moderate cardio exercise regulates not just my weight but also my appetite in a positive way. when i was doing about an hour of cardio a day, i couldn’t keep weight on me despite a good appetite. when i stopped the intense exercise and instead opted for walking and yoga, my appetite dropped so low my weight kept going down. i would eat 600+ calories of vegan desserts every day, just to try and maintain my weight, which isn’t healthy.

for me, 20-40 min of cardio a couple times a week with some yoga in between is perfect: my appetite is high enough to compensate for the excess calories i burn. i don’t like “having” to eat junk food in addition to all the healthy stuff in order to maintain my weight. obviously, this is not the case for most people, but i thought i would share my experience. best advice is to get to know your body, and that mindfulness will translate to an even, healthy weight.

nicole h August 16, 2009 at 3:14 pm

i am very into walking and -yoga as my excersise, because that is what enjoy doing the most! I used to do a lot of cardio but i have gotten bored so if i become unbored i will prob go back to do some kickboxing but as fun not so i can eat a lot! great post!

MarathonVal August 16, 2009 at 3:25 pm

I totally agree! I am thinking of a personal trainer in my husband’s family who works out religiously, and then artificial crap into his body like splenda, fat free pudding cups, etc. Yesterday I heard him tell someone that EVOO was terrible for you because it was so full of fat… well yes,that may be true, but I have recently come to the realization that I would rather be a couple pounds heavier due to “good fats” – like EVOO and avocado – then to weigh my “goal weight” from limiting my diet to fat free and lowfat diet foods.

Also, I’m giving away a SpiBelt (running belt with pouch) on my blog (just moved from blogger to http://www.ChicagoMarathonVal.com), in case you are interested! :) It’s great for those long walks with the dogs!!

Adi (oatonomy.com) August 16, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Great post!

For me, I love to exercise AND I love to eat. What am I thinking about when I’m on a run? The yummy breakfast I’m going to enjoy afterwards. But for me, it’s not pancakes or weird energy drinks. It’s a delicious bowl of overnight oats, or a green smoothie or some fruit slices with nut butter (or a combination of all three!). Both food and exercise are things I truly enjoy, but I believe they need to balance each other. Their relationship cannot be positively correlated to an extreme; if I’m working out because I want to eat more, well, that’s just not going to fly. But, if I’m working out and need to eat an extra snack later in the day — more nuts, an apple, maybe some blue corn chips! — then I will.

The scary part, as you said, is when exercise is taken to an extreme and the post-workout “fuel” (aka food garbage) is not food at all. We need to love our bodies, love what they can do and respect what they can’t – not trying to force the impossible on them. We’ve only got one… why not appreciate it? I think the best way for me to appreciate my body right now is to take a nice, long nap… :)

Nicole August 16, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Hey Heather
I really hope I didn’t come off as combative. You and I are definitely on the right page, I just read it a little differently. I know for myself, the less I work out the worse I feel overall. I end up not being able to sleep well, and that turns into my body craving foods I normally wouldn’t eat just to make it through the day. Not that I can’t stop myself from eating those things but in turn, I end up more hungry and not being able to satiate my hunger when I’m in that state.
I also want to add that I love your blog and I enjoy how you keep it real. You are honest and even if I don’t 100% agree, I appreciate your opinion. You’ve overcome an amazing feat with your weight loss/maintenance and finding what works best for you and I think that is amazing. Sometimes when I want to question something or add my opinion I decide not to out of fear of how it could be misread. As much as I love blogging, so many things can be taken out of context. Thank you for your response!
In all honesty I think you’re pretty damned amazing, and I wouldn’t have bothered commenting if I didn’t think so.
Enjoy your day!

lola August 16, 2009 at 4:32 pm

OMG Heather, thAt’s exactly what i needed to read!!! I’ve been tracking my calories for while now, and got lost in all that “eating back your exercise calories” thing! Now im in a plateau, and can’t lose the weight!! i was reading my food diary and realized i’ve started to eat more and more of the foods i didn’t even touched before, things like cookies, ice creams, and white bread! But when i write it all down at the end of the night and see that my “net” calories are low, i feel like i cn have something sweet and carb-y for dinner, to compensate.
It was a very good article, thank you!

selfdesignjourney August 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Yes it is all about what passes the lips, no matter how much exercise I do, it does not make a difference in my weight unless I eat right. Yes I am building muscle and getting my cardio training but not losing fat.

Laura August 16, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Heather, you truly are an inspiration.
I admire the concious and peace you achieved about yourself so much! Feel like I can and AM learning very much with you – just reading your posts.
I never was addicted to running, actually I always felt bad for thinking I do not have the resistance to do that kind of exercise… but I think what you said totally aplies to the ‘I might have abused on the almond butter today – better compensate with some more time of yoga’.
Sometimes it seems we just get some pleasure punishing ourselves.. ?!

Keep enjoying the big hikes and walks !

Holly August 16, 2009 at 6:14 pm

I read the same article this weekend; I found it interesting, yet unbalanced as a piece of investigative work. It is completely true that exercise cannot compensate for a bad diet, as it takes 30 seconds to eat what can take hours to burn off. However, the article goes as far to state that “from a weight-loss perspective, you would have been better off sitting on the sofa knitting” than exercising, under the presumption that exercise automatically drives you to eat more than you burn. This simply isn’t true…as you said, it is a choice what you eat after you exercise. You can refuel with healthy snacks or you can eat a Big Mac after a 20 minute walk…which will not only keep you from losing weight but will probably make you gain weight. The article even goes as far as to blame “pushing people to exercise” for the obesity epidemic, rather than the poor diet that is synonymous with modern times. As far as a balanced argument goes, the article had only a small paragraph about the other health benefits of exercise, and nothing about the necessity of exercise in maintaining weight loss. :( Haha sorry to blab on but I was a little disappointed in TIME magazine! Anyway, I totally agree with what you are saying about the point of exercise (doing it for health/enjoyment rather than a allowance to eat), just not the article itself. I think if you had written an article on the subject, it would have been a ton more accurate and helpful than the TIME version. :]

Evan Thomas August 16, 2009 at 6:23 pm

I agree with a lot in this post. My post-run meals typically aren’t what others might suggest because I have a lot of whole grains and protein and not many sugars. But then I think about it and realize I would much rather have that going through my body, albeit slow, than something unhealthy racing through my veins.

Sarah August 16, 2009 at 6:30 pm

A wonderful blog post! I think more of us really need to assess the reasons we exercise.

Lauren August 16, 2009 at 6:37 pm

I recently found your blog and I totally agree with this post! I used to struggle to get rid of 10 pounds, doing high cardio, eating mostly healthy food, not understanding why I wasn’t thinner. I lost some weight, got married, and now life has felt so much more peaceful. I just go for some long walks, an occasional short jog, maybe some push ups, and my hunger is no where near what it used to be. Also, my pants have been much looser, and I use that as a measure more than a scale that can change based on so many factors. Also, I used to work out so hard and think then that I needed to refuel with protein or something, even thought I wasn’t hungry. It all seemed pretty backwards. Still learning so much…Great post!

Lauren August 16, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Also, could I link this post on my blog? I totally just started one and am not very “techie” but I think this was really well-written! http://giantscoopsofjoy.wordpress.com
Thanks!!

missyrayn August 16, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Heather I love that you distinguish between exercising just to eat more or because you really love it. I love the challenge of running and yoga. I enjoy exercise in general. But you aren’t going to find me stuffing my face full of pancakes after a race or stopping by a drive through on my way home. I do indulge a bit at times but it’s not why I exercise.

I’ve even tried to get away from the bars as much as possible. I try to eat nuts and nut butters more often and other things that give me energy. Am I perfect at it yet…no, but I’m getting better.

Thanks for sharing the article. I’m off to read it. :-)

Dori August 16, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Heather, thank you for this amazingly well written post! I read that article and initially it upset me; I didn’t want people thinking it would give them an excuse to not work out. But your take on it is so true, and I know from experience. Remember when I was spinning every day? Yes, I loved it, but I also felt so much pressure to get there at 6:30 every day and I would stress out if I couldn’t. I *had* to burn a certain number of calories and I made sure I reached that each time. My knee injury was like a slap in the face. I was forced to stop spinning so I could heal and over these months I learned the following:

I don’t need to do intense cardio every day to be thin. In fact, I lost a lot of weight once I stopped.

Doing high intensity cardio evey day reduces the effectiveness of the workout. When I took spin again last month it was HARD! I got much more out of it.

Getting in some type of activity each day is exercise — and I feel great no matter what I do, as long as I am moving!

Eating cleanly will keep me feeling great and keep my weight completely stabilized.

And so much more. Even though I still love spin and take a class whenever I can, I have no intention of starting up a gym membership again and feeling the pressure to “get my money’s worth.” If I spin, great. If I don’t, great. And now I am starting to love running, so I was able to try new things!

sonia August 16, 2009 at 7:12 pm

I agree 100%. There are so many people I know that exercise just so they feel like they’re allowed to indulge after. idulging is fine every now and then, but not when it’s a stack of pancakes drowned in syrup!
Also, when I exercised excessively I was more hungry than when I cut back on my workouts. I have a slimmer physique now because my calves aren’t Hulk-like like they used to be when i ran for an hour, 7x a week.
& as a plus, I’m (my dad more like haha) spending less money on food because I’m not eating as much simply because I’m not as hungry!

Erika August 16, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Great post! Seems like such logic and yet I know so many people who think because they work out they can eat whatever they want – yet wonder why the pants stay tight! :)

Jules August 16, 2009 at 8:54 pm

I agree with what YOU said, but not what the article said. It seemed to me like the article was saying exercise is almost a bad thing…which is simply not the case! I was also annoyed that it made all Americans out to be self-indulgent pigs with no self-control. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but the article made it seem like all anyone does after they exercise is pig out on unhealthy food that negates all the exercise they did. However, you talked about properly fueling our bodies with healthy foods our bodies can use properly! Another thing that annoyed me about the article was that it didn’t talk much about properly fueling yourself to maintain your weight after exercise. Not everyone exercises to lose weight, yet that seemed to be all the article talked about. I’ll admit, I feel more like I earned my big bowl of oatmeal after running, but in my opinion, that’s okay because oatmeal helps fuel me and keep me going after I used so much energy. The key to exercise is to do it in moderation and refuel properly, something you summed up very well :) Thanks for such a great post, and I agree with Holly when she said you should’ve written the article!
P.S. Sorry for such a long rant.

chasingblue August 16, 2009 at 9:28 pm

I’m excited to see how CD does it!

I’m a runner and I know that sometimes I do sneak a little more of something yummy if I had a great run as a reward but I know that I negate all of the calories burned when I binge afterwards!

I think the article is spot on for a lot of people. I really don’t think enough people actually know how much junk they are putting in their bodies on a daily basis.

Steph August 16, 2009 at 10:08 pm

thanks for the insight. I tend to agree that many people use exercise as an excuse to eat unhealthy food. In reality, however, balance and real food is so much more vital to one’s well being! the stir-fry looks very satisfying by the way :)

buffmuffy August 16, 2009 at 10:34 pm

omg I hear you about the exercise and carb reloading. it is totally unnatural! if we want to exercise that much fine, but refuel with some natural homeade fruit smoothie with greens and protein, not some crappy artificial… crap. lol ! a 200/300 cal smoothie like i make is plenty for me if i so choose to do that, but normally it is a meal also! i just make sure I time my meals in with my workouts so that i’m not eating EXTRA when unneeded.
now i am guilty of eating a clif bar here and there, but I don’t add it in just bc i worked out, i eat it when im in a hurry or dont have much time or just plain want one :)
either way, great post girly. I totally agree.
-muffy

WholeBodyLove August 16, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Amen sista! I hate to see people refueling with processed, sugary crap. My freshman year of college I had friends who would run for an hour every day so that they could consume processed, packaged desserts OR massive amounts of alcohol at night. No thanks. Balance is key! Thanks for a great post. Your salad looks rocking awesome.

Amanda @ Panda Lunch August 16, 2009 at 11:06 pm

What a great post Heather!! I have recently cut back on the amount of cardio I was doing because I just didn’t feel like it was necessary I am learning to listen to my body more regarding food and exercise, and I am much happier that way! I would much rather take a nice long walk outside than run for 30 minutes on the treadmill. And I would much rather have a healthy balanced meal than a protein bar any day!

Emily August 17, 2009 at 1:35 am

This is such a good post ~ very well communicated. I always hear Natalia Rose saying “You can’t burn waste” whenever I come across fellow runners eating faux food. I’d rather have a banana any day of the week (slightly mushed as it sometimes gets, ha ha).

Hanna M. August 17, 2009 at 3:17 am

Yes, yes, YES! Exactly! :D
When I started doing aikido my body finally found its balance point- I never achieved that with multiple cardio classes and heavy carb “replenishing” (nor with a low carb high protein diet…). Totally agree with you on the do-what’s-best-for-YOU mentality!

~Jessica~ August 17, 2009 at 3:22 am

Another interesting post, both thoughtfully written and thought-provoking in content. I read the article myself, and don’t believe that the tone of the writer was necessarily objective enough. I was also highly skeptical of the veracity of some of the information and facts presented, and personally see it as one of those inflammatory, controversial articles that magazines like to throw in periodically…also, I think there was an element of telling people ‘what they want to hear’ about exercise.

This is an issue I struggle with a lot myself, but I think the main point is not to see food as a reward, and not to neutralize your good work by refuelling with something that possesses little to no nutritional value. You’ll never, ever see an olymic athlete chugging Lucozade unless it’s for some unscrupulous advertising campaign, and I think it’s a point you put across very well. However, running has so many psychological benefits for me that I wouldn’t want to stop on the basis that it might not be effective in weight control. I have a stupidly monstrous appetite anyway and exercise is the only factor in allowing me to stop rigidly counting every calorie for fear of gaining weight. In short, it’s a lot easier (for me) to do something (for example, run) than to not do something (i.e to stop stuffing my face). I’m not talking about eating unhealthy food, but I do get through HUGE portions of relatively good stuff. Why anyone would want to do something wonderful for their bodies and then abuse it with crap like fries or doughnuts I don’t know. The point is, exercise has become a punishment for many, and therefore it requires a ‘reward’. Really it’s just plain old-fashioned willpower and psychological fortitude as usual, and sadly for me I don’t possess the strength to go back to calorie counting…I’d rather run. I don’t have the iron willpower of people such as yourself, and also even the original article mentioned the benefits of exercise for those with chronic back pain (I have scoliosis and walking/yoga just doesn’t work in terms of alleviating the pain, which is worstened by sitting still for even an hour).

In the past you have mentioned that you envy CD for being able to eat more than you can but weigh less: this is partially because he’s a man but also because he runs so much. I do agree with you in the respect that it’s ridiculous to reward yourself with something that is actually going to damage your body, but I think the key is, as you say, to do what works for you and for many that will be running/intense training. I don’t think it’s as clear-cut or simple as ‘intense exercise = no fun & weight gain’, because in the case of CD and many others that simply isn’t true. 2 Hours on an elliptical would be horribly boring though ; )

Lara (Thinspired) August 17, 2009 at 5:14 am

Great food for thought here, Heather. Even good things can be bad is extremes. I have never been an extreme exerciser, but I am sadly family with the “run to eat” concept. I have found since backing off and dealing with food AND exercise moderately, I am so much happier and balanced :) The trick is finding the moderation!

Sarah (from See Sarah Eat) August 17, 2009 at 7:15 am

I love thie post!

After running my first half marathon in April 2008, I went by what I “believed” to be true — that I needed to refuel with a whole bunch of stuff regardless of whether or not I was hungry.

So I drank two Powerades (and water too), ate a huge blueberry bagel (definitely not whole grain) and a banana. Plus I drank a beer because it was free at the end of the race!

Not to mention, I ate some of those “sport beans” around mile 10. Ick.

Needless to say, when I got home, I was SICK. Not from the race but from the crap I ate and drank during and after it. Ugh. Never again.

Lesa August 17, 2009 at 8:11 am

I also enjoyed your post and the article. However, I think there was one important thing missing in both. I am a runner, running about 30 miles a week while not training for a marathon. I have NEVER once thought about my running as a way to burn calories, it honestly has never crossed my mind. I run with a group of wonderful women and I can honestly say that “burning what we’ve eaten or about to eat” isn’t even on our radar. We run because it is a forum for wonderful and real friendship. We run because it feeds our souls. We run because it gives us a feeling of independence, free from being a mom, sister, daughter, employee, etc. We run because running forces us to be REAL, no faking allowed:) I just think it’s important to recognize that there are people out there who run a lot, but for “good” reason and again to see that everyone has to decide what works for them.

Thanks again for a great post and for allowing us to have this great discussion!

Amanda August 17, 2009 at 8:21 am

Heather,

Thank you so much for this post. Your attitude shift in the past 8 months has been truly inspiring. I remember reading your article when you were debating yoga vs. running, and I felt the same way. While you went the yoga route, I do not yet have the courage to abandon heart-pumping cardio. I DO enjoy running and breaking a sweat and being out of breath. I also LOVE yoga. My problem is allowing myself to be content with moderate amounts of the cardio. Ever since purchasing a heart monitor (initially for running), I find myself wearing it with all exercise and setting “calorie burning goals”. While I don’t refuel with empty calories, I do allow myself large portions of healthy foods, and snack a lot at night. I think I am afraid that if I cut back on the exercise, I will not be able to break the eating cycle, and then I will gain. Any additional insight/tips?

Thank you,
Amanda

Heather Eats Almond Butter August 17, 2009 at 9:13 am

Amanda,
I had your same fears. Basically, it comes down to trust. Our bodies were made for balance, and you simply have to trust…AND listen.

Susan August 17, 2009 at 8:58 am

I USED to work out to eat more, but ever since deciding to do a triathlon, my perception of it changed. I actually love running, cycling, even lifting weights, and the goals I can reach doing it. There is nothing more thrilling to me that sprinting through the last part of my run. I’m with you on the manufactured smoothies though. I try to fuel with REAL food as often as I can. I mean, making a tuna sandwich is just as easy as making a protein shake after a weights session.

Cindy August 17, 2009 at 9:46 am

WOW Heabs! Great food for thought!
I actually couln’t finish that article…. it was driving me bonkers!

WAAAAAH. It doesn’t sound to me like that author enjoys exercise…. we need to ENJOY what we do and if not… we need to ask ourselves WHY NOT?

Cardio comes in many different forms.
I SIT all day at a desk. I NEED to move. I NEED to breath. I was very sedintary for too many years and now that I am getting back to regular exercise I can’t imagine life without it. I like Avery’s comments… I too would go NUTS if I can’t get some movement in.

I am new to running… (should say jogging) and I love it. It’s a challenge. I have flat feet and I had childhood asthma. I used to have running dreams…you know…a recurring dream where I was just running… it didn’t hurt to breath…just running… I feel now I am getting there and I love it.

I won’t be running marathons I am sure but I feel SO great after…and I treat myself to a Zico Coconut water afterwards. 60 calories…TONS of potassium and NO sugar. (except what is naturally occuring)

I have, however, noticed a BIGGER appetite and am a little un nerved by it. I am trying to lose my last 10-15 lbs of my goal and having to buckle down… so I am struggling with that juggling act!

so many great points you make, and I am glad you made them. It’s good to reflect and ask yourself why are you running? or hitting the gym.

we just bought a treadmill and it shows up today!!! yipeee

I can get a bit addicted to cardio, and yes weight loss is one of the pay offs… but NOT to go mow down a cheese burger!

what’s that saying? Nothing tastes as good as thin (or FIT) feels!

sorry for rambling..that article is frustrating to read!
Happy Monday

Chelsea August 17, 2009 at 9:51 am

This is a great post. Even though I still run, I consider myself a recovering cardio-holic. However, I feel so so so so so much better now that I’ve committed myself to eating healthy food and worrying less about exercise. I absolutely love my morning runs, but whereas before it didn’t “count” unless it was at least 6 miles, now I can be very happy with a 3 miler if that’s what my body or my schedule dictates. I’ve also been able to break the connection between hard exercise and deserving junk food. I don’t have to have done a long run to have an ice cream cone, and doing a long run doesn’t entitle me to the largest sundae they make. Sure I still struggle with the “Oh man, I ate so much last night I need to add miles to my run” thoughts, but I feel much more at peace trying to change my body through diet rather than exercise.

Pam August 17, 2009 at 10:07 am

I found this article really interesting! The only part that really gets me is that they don’t mention at all the benefits of exercise. She makes it out to be like torture, when in fact a lot people enjoy it! I know that’s not the point of the article but I still think it should have been pointed out…

April August 17, 2009 at 10:09 am

So many people workout and wonder why they can’t lose or don’t look like they work out. I see numereous people jogging while i’m walking pass them. I always think to myself they’re going to Taco Bell in an hour. I know that’s mean but it’s the truth.

Great post!

RunToFinish August 17, 2009 at 10:12 am

I agree that it is just silly to refuel with most of the things that I see people doing. I mean especially after a 2 miler.. you aren’t that’ depleted. Now I do truly love my runnning, so i have no desire to stop my cardio…but I agree that I used to spend X time on X machine for X calories..no more my friend

Clare (Clare's Two Steps Forward) August 17, 2009 at 10:57 am

I used to exercise just so I could eat that extra cookie, or that slice of cheesecake. Perhaps that’s okay for some people. It’s not for me. I can’t think about exercise and food that way. I can’t think “Oh I can’t have that today because I didn’t run.” My ED fixated brain goes into a vicious cycle when I treat myself that way. Thank you for addressing this topic. Living in a dorm with 1000 girls does not mix well with my recovery and maintenace. I’m glad I can find other bloggers who are a little closer to earth!

Marissa August 17, 2009 at 11:07 am

Yup, been there! Used to log in an hour at the gym 5 days a week…and have a sugar packed clif builder bar pre-workout, and a sugar packed whey protein shake after…because I listened to my friend’s trainer and thought it would be best for “muscle building”. What utter hogwash. I ended my gym membership 3 months ago, and I am still dealing with some guilt because of the lack of weight training. BUT I started yoga and that seems like a much better fit for me. It uses the whole body, not just silly isolations. I am actually enjoying my walks, and while I do have my bad days where I feel like I *should* be doing more exercise, I get real and realize that even though I eat my nuts and oils…my diet is very very good and my clothes are not getting tighter.

I feel sorry for those who are wasting money on gyms and feel like they have to kill themselves with exercise. I used to be there, and it was not fun!

Diana (Soap & Chocolate) August 17, 2009 at 11:41 am

I can always count on HEAB for words of wisdom! Thanks for this post–I haven’t read the article in question yet, but your thoughts resonate with me becuase I’m only just recently learning to let go and trust my body to do its job. Turns out it works! And it’s not rocket science, either. We should stop trying to make it so. :)

trish (girlatgym) August 17, 2009 at 12:08 pm

I agree – a little exercise is good. There’s no need to do excessive amounts. Anytime in the past that I have done too much hasn’t done me any good. In fact, now that I do less, I think it’s worked out better for me.

I also know a girl who runs on the treadmill as if she is being chased by a crazy person – she knocks herself out. Then she goes right next door to order tons of Chinese food. What?!?!? She only runs so that she can go stuff her face. It’s just not good. And I know she isn’t the only person doing that sort of thing.

broccolihut August 17, 2009 at 12:19 pm

I read that article too. Very interesting, but I am like you–I exercise just before mealtime (breakfast), so I have no need for energy bars or sports drinks, just real food.

runeatrepeat August 17, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I thought of you when I heard about this article. Thanks for the info :)

Jesse August 17, 2009 at 1:33 pm

That’s a great post Heather. I have struggled with exercise addicion, and am now at a point where I don’t want to run for miles and miles anymore because I ate something, or even run 8 miles and then starve all day if I have to go out to dinner with someone. I am slowly learning that moderation is important too…I used to wake up everyday and the first thing on my mind was “I have to work out!” I am 26, and I want to live life, and wake up thinking “What a lovely day I have to look forward too…” :)

Another thing I think about is if you look at all of the centarians-people that live to 100, or even well in to their 90′s, they were NOT marathon runners. Most of the time, their sectret is…moderation…and having lots of love and laughter int their life. That is what I want.

I have a question for you though…when you thought that you “had” to exercise to burn calories because of what you ate or were going to eat in the past, what did you tell yourself to calm down so you wouldn’t do it? What helped you the most with the anxiety? Thanks! And your hikes look awesome too-to be in nature is to be in the presence of all that is sacred :)

Andrea August 17, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I have that TIME at home waiting to be read. But, even before I read the article, I know I’ll probably agree with most of it, just based on my history with exercise (or lack thereof). Reading that article is going to be first on my “to-do” list when I get home!

my year without August 17, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Perfect. I could not have said these things better myself.

It’s AMAZING how many “sports” centered food and drinks have unnecessary calories in the form of sugar. It’s a big marketing gimmick in my opinion. There’s nothing like a piece of fruit and water after exercising. Anything bottled/packaged with a list of ingredients is man made and the man just wants us to spend money!

Rebecca August 17, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Thanks for the awesome post, Heather! This is right up there with the “Say No to Sugar” post, for me.

Deb August 17, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Thanks for linking that article, Heabers. I admire you for taking the plunge and trusting your body by cutting out the cardio-queen mentality and simply doing yoga and walking. If I’m not mistaken you said that your calories decreased when you did that- was it because you weren’t as hungry? Or was it a conscious effort on your part?

I know that when I did only cardio for hours and hours a week, and ate healthfully, but plentifully, I was chubby. When I replaced some of the time doing cardio with strength training, among other eating changes, my body changed and I dropped 20+ pounds.

I may post on this subject myself in the future as I had some problems with the article (does the author really think that fat turns to muscle if you work out??! c’mon dude, it’s not 1960 anymore!). But I do believe the bottom line that exercise alone cannot solve the weight issues that many people face. I’ve read about the 80/20 rule in weight maintenance – 80% diet; 20% exercise, and I do believe that it’s true.

Beth @ CrossBorderCravings August 17, 2009 at 3:25 pm

This is a great post and I totally agree with you! I have been debating with myself for a while now about this since I read “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” The author talks about how silly it is that American women spend hours at the gym and then eat some dense energy bar to refuel. She says to skip the gym, skip the bar and just take a nice walk! It was a totally new idea to me but it makes complete sense. I haven’t given up the gym yet but I admire your attitude towards an active lifestyle :O)

Lainie August 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Awesome post, Heather! I completely agree with everything you said. I too struggled with – and still sometimes struggle with – exercising too much; it’s hard to know when it’s too much or too little, but I finally decided if it feels like a chore, then it isn’t worth it. Plus, with every minute clocked on the treadmill, I’m getting hungrier and hungrier only to run in the house and negate everything I just did. I think you set a wonderful example of fueling your body in a wholesome way ….I need to learn a few things from you :)

M August 17, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Your post really hit me. What a wake-up call.

You know what’s strange? I completely agree with you, Heather, but I completely disagree with the article. I think the distinction is that you’re concerned about health, getting “natural” exercise through active lifestyles, and finding balance. You’re concerned about overdoing it, and your thoughts are more directed at an audience of women who are generally healthy and active, but may suffer from overdoing it. The article, however, is directed at the nation of overweight or obese individuals who do not need to hear that less exercise is the answer. The real point of the article is that overeating leads to weight gain, period. But it’s sensationalized to make exercise look bad, which is something with which you obviously do not agree.

Marycela August 17, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Thank you for sharing Heather, as always- very insightful

Deb August 17, 2009 at 9:42 pm

PS. If this was part I, I can’t wait for Part II! :-D

Have a great evening friend!

Deb

michelle August 18, 2009 at 3:16 am

hi heather, thanks for answering my question about the sun warrior protein, the unflavored stuff that i have is a bitter pill to take and i need something else.when i was reading up on it(the sun warrior) i think it said that it was raw also?thats an added incentive. is jay robb vegan? about the sugars in jamba juice, i have never gotten anything there but ALL fruit mixtures, do they ADD sugar to there fruit? i guess i just never thought of that, or did you mean all the sorbet and other mix ins?

Robin August 18, 2009 at 5:56 am

I totally agree with you on your post about exercise. You can still lose weight without exercising 6 days/week at the gym. But exercise is great for the mental aspect of weight loss and to build muscle. But too much of anything is no good! Balance is key. Great post!

hmmm August 18, 2009 at 10:38 am

Sorry if this sounds bitchy, but I think your tone is a bit condescending, whether or not you intended it or not.

As a marathoner (who runs to run FASTER…not due to weight, etc), you don’t always have a choice of what you can take in on the course in a race. And by saying OMGZ GATORADE IS BADDDDDD you’re actually missing the fact that while its unfortunately laden with HFCS, if you’re in a state where you NEED electrolytes, if gatorade is what is on the course…you take a far bigger risk NOT taking it. And runners who do this aren’t somehow less healthy for doing so. I’m sure you’re familiar with hyponatremia. Running a marathon – particularly in hot weather – puts you at a real risk for it without intaking any sort of eletrolyte. Is fear of watered down HFCS worth risking the cramping and potential crashes that could come as a result of it? NO. And I think by taking the tone you are taking, you can steer inexperienced runners in the wrong direction.

Don’t get me wrong – I try and avoid sugars where I can. But I think this sugar fear is just as absurd as this cardio fear you appear to have. While you acknowledge that things are personal, the fact is there are times when the need to balance electrolytes IS more important than getting a bit of unhealthy sugar. (And if you’re running a marathon, you’re burning the sugar off anyhow! And while its not an excuse, people ought not to be concerned about the sugar content of gatorade when you’re in a position where calories help you.)

I will give you this though: I think some people DO try and “reward” themselves or thing things don’t matter because they did X. That’s patently untrue. However, going on and on about how you should NEVER EVER EVER have any sugar and NEVER EVER EVER “over” exercise is just as absurd. The fact is balance points are different for everyone and the best thing is to be aware of what you actually need when working out. You don’t have to “fuel up” for short workouts, and you don’t need to do it for longer, easy workouts either…people need to find out what they really need.

But I also don’t think there should be SO MUCH FEAR of sugar, HFCS, fats, etc. Yes, you need to watch things…but the need to be perfect and ALWAYS AVOID is troubling to me.

-Sam

Marissa August 18, 2009 at 11:39 am

I think that there are some people who are missing the point, but that might also be due to a lack of information on the article’s part as well. The article focuses on food eaten as being the “problem” and not that the exercise being the problem. Ultimately though BOTH are problematic. If you enjoy excess cardio, excess exercise, etc…fine…but don’t kid yourself into thinking that it is healthier or doing your body “good”. Exercise and moving IS healthy, and mandatory for health. but EXCESS is NOT good. It causes physical and mental stress which can lead to damage of the body. Too much cardio leads to an increase in cortisol which will cause you to RETAIN fat. The reason why long distance runners HAVE to resort to eating high carb diets is because the body is not made to sustain that kind of cardio exercise for long periods of time. No matter how much exercise you do Gator-ade, sugar packed energy bars, and the like are NOT health foods. Just because you burn off the calories of a slice of cake doesn’t mean the cake did your body any good. There are things that cause harm without putting fat on your body.

http://www.fitnessspotlight.com/2009/03/18/cardio-priority-fat-loss/

Holly August 18, 2009 at 11:54 am

Heather,

I really needed to read this today! I struggle EVERY.SINGLE.DAY with not being able to run right now. I’m so worried about gaining any weight back, yet I tell myself over and over that it’s been 3 months and I haven’t yet.

I definitely was a “run to eat” gal. And the scary thing is, I didn’t see anything wrong with that. But now that I’m forced to lay low, it’s made me see how unhealthy that was. Why should I feel like I have to run 10 miles to eat a bowl of ice cream or enjoy some nut butter in my life? I shouldn’t.

I think exercise is very, very important – but it is just too easy to get into the pattern of “working out to eat,” and then it is really hard emotionally when we’re unable to exercise.

Thanks, HEAB. You are like my free therapist! :-)

Holly

Michal Mymo August 18, 2009 at 1:28 pm

There seems to be a huge amount of talk about this article all over the blog world. I totally agree with you. Personally I work out knowing that it is great for my body, and I dont understand why people want to over excersise then gorge on horrible foods. If they could just learn to like and love good healthful foods (almond butter!) then they could find a happy balance between two extremes. I have been on both ends of the weight spectrum. Overweight and way underweight and everyday for me is a chance to learn and decide whats best for me and my body. I think that if you give your body the good stuff and work out just enough your body will balance itself out.

Excellent post as always heather :)

Hayley August 19, 2009 at 11:49 am

I’m so glad you brought this up Heather! Sorry it’s taken me this long to respond. I think you and the article make so many great points. I think most people don’t understand that exercising so that they can eat whatever and/or however much they want does not work. It takes so much longer than 30 minutes on the elliptical or whatever to burn off mounds of food. If people are made more aware of that then maybe they’ll pay more attention to what they put in their mouths and not how many calories they burn on the treadmill. I’m kind of the opposite though – it’s days that I don’t do any kind of exercise that I find myself feeling sluggest and making poor food choices. When I get in a good workout, sweat a bit, etc I always feel more motivated to eat better because I don’t want to negate all that hard work.

I do still feel like I’m trying to find a balance with exercise, but right now I love that I’m able to run 6 hilly miles without stopping. I’m so grateful to my body for what I can do and right now I enjoy it. What I DON’T like is when I wake up in the morning feeling horribly because I ate crap the day before. Then instead of working out because I WANT to I end up feeling like I HAVE to work out to burn off some of what I ate the night before. I think that’s when exercise becomes more of a chore rather than something good for our bodies.

It’s all about balance and it truly seems as though you’ve found that. I do agree with Sam on her post about how we have become so paranoid about “bad” foods and fear HFCS and sugar, etc (I think I’d rather have the latter). I truly believe that we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of completely everything, but sometimes when we have the choice to eat something that does have HFCS and/or sugar it’s not BAD to have it but it’s important to stop and think, “How is this going to make me feel?” as opposed to, “How are my jeans going to fit?” It’s more about health than vanity.

I’m sorry I rabbited on like this! I got carried away…

Amy August 19, 2009 at 2:21 pm

This is a really great post and it is making me want to go back a read your older posts (new reader here). :) Just yesterday, I skipped my planned after work run because I was supremely tired, yet it was really hard for me to think that I was making a good decision, not being lazy.
I’m just starting up my own blog to complement my marathon training, so I’ll be keeping up with your blog!

mandyrd August 28, 2009 at 6:46 am

Thank you for your well-written response to this article! I will enjoy reading your blog in the future. Anyway, I agreed with most of your points, other than the post-exercise recovery foods. Of course, food choice is an individual thing. For me, the recovery drinks have been a lifesaver for my heavy training. If you are willing to spend more money, you can buy drinks without HFCS. (I, myself, avoid HFCS.) After 3 hours of triathlon training, the last thing I want to eat is a savory meal. The recovery drink allows me to get calories quickly along with fluid. The drink is roughly 150 calories, which I then follow with a healthy breakfast afterwards. I completely agree with you about people who use exercise to indulge on junk. If they want to indulge, then they should just indulge and not use exercise as an excuse (and then claim that they can’t lose weight when exercising.)

Gena January 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Great post, Heaths. I always find your perspective on exercise so unbelievably balanced, refreshing, and kind. Thank you!

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