Do you calculate your exercise effort to offset your eating habits?

Posted 01/02/2015 | By HealthCorps

There’s a fine line between committing to a healthy exercise program, and obsessively thinking about exercising every time you overeat or eat a treat.  If thinking about the calories during a tempting moment inspires you to ponder just how much effort it would take to burn the calories, then exercise thoughts can be helpful.  If however, every time you want a treat or snack you think about it in terms of “exercise payback,” the process can lead you to abandon exercise completely.  It can become a very negative process to assess pleasurable eating constantly with a must exercise now mentality.  So how do you balance the formula sensibly?

If you’re on a diet, occasional treats will allow you to avoid boredom and deprivation, two emotions that can instigate behaviors that will likely sabotage your eating plan. If you do incorporate an indulgence or two into a week’s worth of dieting, then using portion control and enjoying them on days that you commit to exercise, can help to create the energy balance necessary for weight management.  Most of us should be exercising most days of the week.  One or two small treats will not undo regular exercise efforts.  If small food indulgences lead to a binge or multiple treats, then yes, that will intercept weight loss efforts.  An isolated week of extra treats should nudge you to increase your exercise effort.  But allowing that unique week to morph into a regular behavior pattern of payback with exercise will backfire.

Your best diet formula?  Eat mostly healthy food choices, with portion control, most days of the week and commit to regular exercise.  Then position a treat or two weekly into your eating program.

-Amy Hendel, PA/HealthCoach

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