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You Can't Out-Exercise a Bad Diet

Friday, September 06, 2013

The BLC Challenge is on a between-round hiatus and my team not done well for the last three weigh-ins. It has occurred to me that many people still experience a disconnect between what we are trying to achieve here on SparkPeople and "real life". Ideally after a member completes the Spark stages, he or she should have the tools to successfully lose weight by following a healthy lifestyle of sensible food and some sort of daily exercise. Many of us have trouble sticking to this plan and seek out organized challenges. Spark has offered several wonderfully motivating seasonal challenges but their size sometimes makes it difficult to really connect with others. I was lucky enough to find the Biggest Loser Challenge where members are divided into teams that compete against each other. I have established close ties with many of my team mates and feel a great responsibility to the team to actively participate during each round. At first, like many, I viewed the interim between rounds as a free-for-all, going right back to my old eating habits. I finally made the connection that when I ate with abandon my health problems would all flare up and it took weeks for the arthritis, IBS, skin break-outs, etc. to clear up...let alone how much work it was to re-lose the pounds gained. My family is really active...I get my burn in even on vacation or when we gather for holidays so it's all about healthy eating for me.

I think that in a way, I am lucky to have all the food sensitivities that I do. Now I don't consider ever eating many of the temptations that you all face. As I was reading how some of you were going to family picnics over the holiday, I was imagining the potato salad, cole slaw, hot dogs etc. and how foreign those foods are to me now and how much I don't even want them! I've been active with the BLC for several rounds and I finally "get" that this is the way I'll be living my life going forward. Sure there are splurge meals here and there but it's to the point where I don't feel good for several days when I eat (and drink) like that. Our bodies are made to only handle so much food at once; our systems can compensate for an occasional overindulgence but not an extended one. We are actually poisoning ourselves when we go all out for several meals in a row. That's why you can't out-exercise a poor diet. You might lose the weight but eventually you will pay the piper with poor health, G.I. problems or an injury that won't heal due to inflammatory response, to name a few. That's what happened to me and why my body is a wreck now. I continued to smoke and eat whatever I wanted while training for marathons but I was thin, performed well and looked great so I didn't realize the internal damage.

To be clear, I am not writing this to chastise folks...just wanting to share what I've learned: binging can set your health and weight loss efforts back by weeks while your body tries to repair itself. Try to find a nutrition and exercise program that you can live with 24/7/365!
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