I commonly talk about food, eating healthy, and filling your body up with nutrient-dense foods while still taking time to indulge every once and a while. Occasionally, you will catch me talking about exercise or sharing some things that I like to do to keep myself physically active. One thing I want to emphasize a little today is why it is so important to have balance with these two concepts: healthy eating and regular physical activity.
Sometimes I see people fall into the fitness slump where all they are focused on is burning calories. While there are many people that do spend hours upon hours in the gym and have the body to show it, high fitness level doesn’t necessarily equal good health. Also, most people don’t have 2-3 hours to spend at the gym or exercising daily. Many of the people I see on a daily basis struggle with getting in 20 minutes of exercise 2 times per week. In terms of weight loss, physical activity actually doesn’t have as much of an impact on losing weight as does one’s diet. Don’t take this the wrong way… I’m not saying don’t exercise. Exercise is crucial to maintaining not only good health, but it can help regulate your mood, stress levels, and keep you at a weight that you feel comfortable. Exercise is definitely effective in weight maintenance. (If you don’t believe me… look it up! There is actually research done on this topic.)
Let’s switch gears. I am a Registered Dietitian. It is my job to help people connect what they are putting into their bodies with their overall health or health conditions. It is no secret that “eating healthy” is something that people want to do (for the most part). I don’t think anyone wakes up thinking “I really hope the 3 sodas I drink today lead me to have high blood sugars.”
While I try to help people learn to eat a balanced diet and focus on whole foods rather that processed and packaged foods, I don’t believe that eating healthy and spending the entire day being sedentary is good either. What good is eating salads and lean proteins if you spend the whole day sitting on the couch or at a work desk. I know sometimes it is hard to find balance between eating healthy and getting in the recommended 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity per week, but this is something I feel is so important to maintaining good health. Whether you are trying to lose a few pounds or just maintain a healthy body, physical activity and making healthy food decisions together can provide optimal success.
Think about food as fuel to your day AND to your ability to have a good and successful workout. Without proper fuel, your body might not react to your workouts the way you hope. If you spend 30 minutes doing ab work 4 times per week but go home and eat 3 cups of ice cream each night, those abs might not pop the way you want then to! On the other side of the spectrum, think about exercise as a way to keep yourself motivated to make good food choices. I don’t know about you, but after I go on a 3 hour hike, the last thing I am thinking about is sitting down to a burger and french fries. Often times, the more consistently we exercise, the clearer we think and the easier it is to differentiate a healthy food choice from one that maybe isn’t as great!
I hope that this information sparked interest in thinking about the way you look at your own diet and physical activity regimen (or maybe I just babbled for nothing!). I have always been a believer in balance within my life, whether that be balancing diet and exercise or school work with my desire to have a little relaxation time on the weekends. As always, message me with questions if you have them! Happy Tuesday!