Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness, Wellness and Lifestyle Blog | Emtalks


Sunday 28 October 2018

Healthy Eating + Exercise Addiction

Hello hello hello! Today I wanted to talk/ramble about a pretty important topic. I really wanted to talk about exercise/healthy food addiction. Before I begin, I'm not an expert on this topic but these are just my personal thoughts on something I'm seeing increasingly on social media at the moment, I also listened to a podcast recently about orthorexia, which is defined as an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy. I've most definitely seen some obsessive behaviour with fitness and food in people and whilst I think this new health and fitness movement we've seen over the last few years on social media is incredible (it's COOL to nourish your body and move more), I also think many people feel shame and guilt if they don't work out, or if they - god forbid, eat pizza or fries (for the record, I have fries at least twice per week). I've always been very open with what I eat and have discussed the facts: you can most definitely have abs and eat pizza too. Obviously, abs are not the be all and end all and are certainly not a signifier of health, but we shouldn't be feeling guilty for enjoying food. Over the last week, I've had numerous messages from people saying they feel bad if they haven't worked out 6x per week and I've also seen influencers saying they feel guilty for posting photos of junk food. Whilst it's SO important that we nourish our bodies and move more (there's so much evidence that working out and eating well is so so good for us), it's important not to let this turn into an obsession. I'm gonna talk about this today.

Nourishing your body is important - I want to start by saying I am the biggest advocate for working out, nourishing your body and moving more. I am the biggest lover of working out, trying new health foods and I love the endorphins I get from eating well and moving my body. There are so many benefits of eating well and moving more, but, it doesn't have to consume our lives, I am a big believer in making healthy eating and exercise a part of your lifestyle, rather than a chore. For me, moving and eating well is something I try to do daily, without too much thought. I think a great way to start with this is to clear your cupboards out and ensure you're only stocking them with 'healthier' options, this means when you are grabbing snacks etc, they're generally nutritious snacks. I also get myself into a workout routine (tough when I'm here, there and everywhere) but it means it feels like an integral part of my week to work out or move my body. Read about my gym routine and circuit training ideas

Life is for living - First and foremost and my take on this, life is for living. You only live once and life is short, enjoy the pizza and enjoy the cake. This doesn't mean you should eat it every day (moderation is your friend) but equally if you're out for dinner and you fancy chips, don't beat yourself up about it. I know this is morbid but when you're on your death bed, are you gonna say: I'm so glad I didn't eat that pizza? No! Like I say, I really do try to be healthy the majority of the time but I love crisps and pizza and no-one is going to take that away from me, I just don't eat them every day.

Exercise and calorie counting shouldn't take over your life - I personally don't count calories but I know it works for some people and it really is about what works for you. However, exercising and calorie counting shouldn't take over your life, I've seen people get themselves into stressed states because they missed one gym session or because they missed a certain time to eat. In my opinion, if you have an alarm going off for every hour you should be eating and are leaving work/classes/avoiding social events because you need to eat at certain times etc, that isn't a normal way to live. Working out and eating well should fit seamlessly into your daily routine, rather than making you feel on edge and anxious. I'm all for meal prep if it keeps you on track and organised but don't let it consume your life. I once met with someone who said he felt he probably couldn't have a normal relationship with a partner because he needed someone who also counted calories and ate at specific times every day. When eating and exercising is getting in the way of your life, you may need to take a step back. Food is there to be enjoyed and to nourish our bodies, don't let it become an obsession. I know it's easier said than done though. My brother went from a gym bunny working out 5x day per week to doing nothing because of his illness, he eats well and walks a little bit and he's looking for alternatives to give him the endorphin boost exercise did, eg, yoga and eating well. I think a lot of people forget that some people physically cannot work out so for them, they focus more on their diet.

Balance is key - If you've read any of my fitness blog posts you'll know that I truly believe balance is key. I do live by the 80/20 rule loosely, meaning I eat 'well' 80% of the time and then I let myself go a little bit the other 20% of the time, I've always lived my life this way. It then means I don't binge and I don't deprive myself. I find a lot of people cut 'naughty' foods out (in my opinion we shouldn't call foods naughty, just see it all as food with some being more nutritious than others), by cutting out the things you love, you are depriving yourself. I'm more than happy to admit that I'm a total gym bunny, adore everything about sweating and the endorphins afterwards but equally, I won't feel ashamed of saying I love McDonalds too. It's actually better to have a little bit of what you fancy when you fancy it, then you won't binge and go overboard. You can add some more fruit and veggies to your diet, drink more water and make a few little tweaks. It is much easier to eat healthily now, so many packets of crisps taste DELICIOUS and are way better for you nutrients wise than they used to be and many brands are moving away from adding sugar which is great. When I'm in a supermarket or on the go looking for a snack, I quickly look at saturated fats and sugars to make a sensible choice. I personally eat out at least once per week as I work away a lot, I think it's just about making sensible choices with your food if you're trying to be 'healthier'.
One thing I see all the time too is people cutting everything out of their diet, please do not do this unless a health professional has told you to.

Little and often - small things - I think people think workouts have to be brutal, at all times, this really isn't the case. In a recent podcast I was listening to (highly recommend TheFoodMedic podcasts, I am learning so much) and actually, recent studies appaently show 10 minutes of brisk walking is really good for you. In my opinion, and trust me, I'm someone who REALLY likes to sweat, it's just about moving more when you can. The little things such as taking the stairs rather than elevator really add up. If I can't work out, I'll walk to my meetings instead. I get a lot of messages from people saying they work out 5-6x per week, I mean if that works for you that's fine but I was always told 3x days per week is a good way to maintain and then just walk in-between days. I love using the health app on my iphone, it monitors my steps.

Rest is key - A lot of people don't factor in the importance of rest days, I even see huge influencers talking about how they work out 7x days in a row, this then sets the example to their audience that you must workout 7x per week to get your dream body. I get a massive kick and an endorphin rush after going to my David Lloyd Blaze classes but it wouldn't be right to do them 7x per week, it would be too intense on my body. We all have a different body ideal and neither is right or wrong but resting your body is a necessity. I'm currently studying for my personal training qualification with TrainFitness (it means I'll be qualified to give you guys more fitness videos and advice) and something I've learnt pretty quickly is the importance of rest and recovery for your muscles. It's better to work out 3x days and have top quality workouts than 6x days per week and your body gets injured or be too tired to repair. If you work your muscles into the ground with no recovery and get injured you definitely can't work out then. It's okay to take time off. Your body, mind and soul need rest. I'm really bad at sleeping and have realised there's no point dragging myself to the gym if I've had a bad nights sleep, it's only going to be detrimental to my health rather than make me feel better. We are all different, Sally might be able to do 5x workouts per week but you may work better on 3x, listen to your body.

Guilt - I see people feeling guilty for eating certain things and for not working out enough and I sadly do think social media plays a part in this. Whilst I love seeing influencers in their gym kit, working out and inspiring me to get up and get there, I truly prefer the influencers who have off days and show the fries and Five Guys they're eating on a Friday. I want to see more reality, yes I smash the gym hard but I also ate Nandos, Chinese and a pizza last weekend and you know what? It's okay, you can still enjoy food, enjoy a balanced life and have a healthy body. I love cake and whilst I wouldn't cut sugar out of my diet all together, I do conciously make the effort to ensure I know how to bake certain, delicious recipes in a healthier manner, such as my Healthy Banana Bread and 3 healthy pancakes. I'm all about healthier options of my fave foods. Equally, I'm someone who's been working out since the age of 16, so genetics and muscle memory probably plays a role too, it's important to remember that when you're scrolling on Instagram. It really is a balancing act. It's crazy that we feel guilty for putting a certain food in our mouths all because we have an ideal of how our bodies should look, who is giving you that ideal? Is it Instagram? Is it your partner? Is it yourself? I personally workout for my mind and my body rather than for aesthetics and how it looks. I do feel amazing when I'm eating well and working out but I will not let that consume my life. I want to be healthy and fit but equally, I want to enjoy my life, that's not to say you can't enjoy your life by eating clean all the time but I personally don't think that's attainable or healthy. Remember: it's okay to have a day off, you can get back on it tomorrow. Don't let anyone tell you how your body should look. It's about how you feel personally.

Good health - You're working out and eating well for good health I assume? Well, it isn't good for your health to feel anxious and on edge. This is actually negative for your health so try not to beat yourself up and feel guilty (again, easier said than done, I know - this is coming from someone who runs like a mad woman when doing HIIT on the treadmill). Instead, get a diary and see how hard you've worked all month, I tick off the days I've worked out now and once I've hit 3x workouts per week, anything extra is a bonus for me and if I don't manage anymore? That's more than okay! Ultimately, you don't have to sweat 7 days per week or live on leaves to have a healthy diet. I truly believe that eating well and working out can be like medicine for your mind and it's been proven to prevent/help with so many things, but as I say, don't let it take over your life. We are all human.

So there we have it, a little look at my thoughts when it comes to exercise addiction/healthy living. I hope this helps you and do comment with any thoughts!

You might also like:

8 Ways I Motivate Myself To Work Out 

Lots of love, Em x

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