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  • Writer's pictureMindy Roth

Embracing a New Perspective: Food, Exercise, and Self-Care

How to rethink the relationship between food, exercise, and self-care.


In the pursuit of better health and longevity, we often find ourselves in a delicate balancing act between food and exercise. For years, I too fell into the trap of viewing them as a transaction, believing I needed to earn my treats through workouts or balance indulgences with extra sweat sessions. But as I've come to realize, this mindset is not only flawed but potentially harmful.


a happy woman in exercise outfit eating food.

 

Food: More Than just Fuel


Food is undoubtedly fuel for our bodies, but it's also much more than that. It's the building blocks of our cells, the sustenance for our brains, and the foundation of our overall well-being. Similarly, exercise is not a punishment to be endured but a celebration of movement and vitality. We don't need to hit the gym or follow the latest diet trends; all we need is to find joy in moving our bodies and eating in ways that feel good to us.


The Fallacy of "Earning" Indulgences


The notion of "earning" or "working off" our food is deeply ingrained in our culture, but it's time to challenge this belief. Indulgences should not be seen as rewards for good behavior, nor should they be followed by feelings of guilt or the need to compensate through exercise.


Research shows that this mindset can lead to unhealthy relationships with food and exercise. Labeling foods as "good" or "bad" can increase feelings of guilt and shame, which may contribute to disordered eating patterns. We can also pass on this mindset to our children.


Breaking free from these labels when it comes to food choices is liberating. Eating a certain food doesn't make us virtuous or sinful; it's simply nourishment. Similarly, engaging in physical activity doesn't make us inherently "good"; it's merely a way to honor our bodies and enhance our well-being.


Shifting Our Mindset Towards Holistic Health


Shifting our mindset away from the transactional approach to food and exercise requires conscious effort. We must learn to appreciate the intrinsic value of both, independent of each other. Food nourishes not only our bodies but also our souls, while exercise is a form of self-expression and self-care. Weather we are eating, exercising, or relaxing, we need to nourish our mind and body.


Conclusion: Embracing Self-Compassion & Holistic Well-Being


In the end, it's not about running the extra mile or restricting our intakes until it hurts. It's about treating our bodies with kindness and respect, honoring their innate wisdom and embracing a holistic approach to health and happiness. So, let's ditch the notion of transactions and instead focus on nourishing our bodies, moving with joy, and living life to the fullest. After all, the way we treat our bodies is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves, and we all deserve love and compassion.


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