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Exercise as Pleasure not Punishment

Monday, December 27, 2010

Exercise as Pleasure not Punishment

With so many holiday treats within my reach these past few weeks, I started to think in terms of how much exercise I need to do in order to eat one (or more) of these treats. As I thought about it more, I decided that if I did this too often, I would come to HATE exercise eventually. And that wasn’t something I want do. I want to LOVE exercise because it helps me feel good and stay healthy. Not because I want to punish myself for eating more than I planned or wanted to eat. It would be a cycle that I have fallen into in the past. A mistake I really don’t want to continue to make.

So I went searching for some information.

Information on ‘how NOT to use exercise as punishment.’

I found something that really puts it into proper perspective, at least for me.

Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat is a book by Michelle May, MD
She also has a Blog @ www.eatwhatyoulovelovewhatyoue .

Here’s a piece about negative eating and exercising from there:

If I want to eat 2 chocolate truffles, I have to bike for 20 minutes.

Exercise is for health and vitality, not for earning the right to eat or punishing yourself for eating.

This kind of message often has the opposite effect. Instead of causing people to decide that the food isn't worth it, they decide that the exercise isn't worth it.

Subconsciously, the message people hear is, "If you eat _______ (fill in the blank with something you love), you have to do X minutes of _______ (fill in the blank with some dreaded exercise). No wonder so many people say they hate to exercise!

To illustrate this kind of approach to eating, just imagine if it were the other way around:

If I want to bike for 20 minutes, I have to eat two chocolate truffles.

Why do we think it makes sense the other way around?

Doesn’t that make YOU stop and think too? It made me stop and now I am thinking.

Do you ever punish yourself with exercise for eating more than you planned?

Or do you ever make yourself exercise so that you can eat something?

From now on, I am going to make exercise a pleasurable experience in it’s own rite.

No food attached.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I find it interesting how people view things differently.

    I haven't been exercising so much lately due to the stress and busyness of the holidays. But haven't we all heard or read the exercise helps keep stress under control? I keep thinking that if I had just done a little more exercising, my stress level would have been lower AND the extra eating & snacking that I did wouldn't have mattered as much! Since I really wanted to enjoy some of the treats of the season, I wish I HAD used a REWARD (not punishment) system! For me, it would have been a win-win situation! Now I have to work harder--regardless of how I view the exercise.

    Well, we are all different, so each of us needs to use the methods and mindsets that work best for us! Maybe someone should write a book about loving your exercise, because while I don't hate it, I really don't love it. But I do I love to eat! :-)

    Happy New Year to everyone, and happy exercising!
    2630 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/2/2011 3:34:42 PM
    Even the Wii machine has the Wii Fit Plus and you pick how many calories you want to burn off with it. They pick food as an incentive for you. For example to burn off 115 calories you would burn off that piece of flan you just ate and with each exercise they show how much you burned. I have read articles where exercising releases endoprphins, seratonin and certain neurotransmitters in the brain that alleviate pain, both physical and mental. The more I do -especially when I go out and walk and enjoy nature while doing it- the more I look forward to it! And that is saying something coming from an ex-couch potato! emoticon

    By the way, we love the Wii, if you really want to enjoy exercise --buy it and get the Wii Fit Plus!
    2631 days ago
    Very interesting! I have never used exercise as a punishment, and I never think of "burning off" bad things I ate. But -- what an eye opener that eating 2 truffles =20 minutes of biking. And it also is interesting to me when you say "If I want to bike for 20 minutes, I have to eat 2 truffles." Ha! Makes me not want to eat those truffles so much anymore. Thanks for posting. I hope you begin to enjoy your exercise!
    2632 days ago
    I think we should all strive for the mindset that we should exersise simply because it makes us feel healthy and strong...wouldn't that be great? Otherwise it gets too depressing. I remember reading once that if you eat something like ONE APPLE too much over your daily calorie limit, you will gain weight. What's up with that? ONE APPLE? Of course, this was probably in something like Cosmopolitan which is not the greatest health source.....
    2634 days ago
  • SHELLEY147
    makes a whole lot of sense, Maria. I am quilty of that type of thinking in the past....haven't done it lately, and now, don't think I will in the future either. I want to exercise because I feel better when I do :)
    2635 days ago
    I just know that when I exercise, I FEEL better! I know I'm burning calories...& that helps keep my weight down! I exercise for GOOD health!

    Doing this emoticon is healthy! Keep doing it! emoticon
    And you'll be emoticon !

    emoticon Rose
    2636 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/28/2010 8:37:35 AM
  • SHRINK71
    Really smart! ... and very true. Thanks!
    2636 days ago
    Great way to approach it!
    2636 days ago
    Years ago I heard that to burn off one M&M you have to walk the length of a football field. One M&M!!!

    I was reading a book (won't recommend it. I got it at a book fair for a buck. It is an older book.) The author did have some good points I made a note of but he was more into exercise than changing eating habits. He said you can lose 25 pounds in one year if you eat the same way you have been but walk 2 miles a day. (I have lost approximately 30 lbs. per years since I started but I credit it more with eating right. I will admit I do devote a lot more time to exercise, too! I did jumping jacks today! I can't believe it.) Dr. David A. Kessler, the author of The End of Overeating says we have to stop eating the way we do as Americans with the high fat, high sugar, and high salt food. I ate Panda Express last night after a movie and I am feeling the salt today. I didn't eat anything deep fried, had steamed rice, and chicken and beef with hot spices and vegetables but still I know that the sodium they put in restaurant food is just too much! I don't usually eat out that much but I made an exception and tried to be good!
    2636 days ago
    I love the way the logic is flipped -- that is an ideal way to look at things. Thanks so much for sharing this -- it really helps a lot.

    As for me, I have to push and prod and cajole myself into exercise -- and then when I start, I generally love it. If I don't, I promise myself if I hate it after 10 minutes, I'll stop. Of course by then I'm into it.

    Thanks so much again for posting this. You GO girl! Nikki

    2636 days ago
  • POPOF4
    I actually like to exercise unless it's distance running. I would love to workout so hard that I need to eat 2000 calories just because it's fun to push myself.
    2636 days ago
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