As someone with 20 plus years deep in the game of “physique transformation” and health, I can speak to the crazy that ensues in the minds of fitness enthusients during the Holidays, namely Thanksgiving. Over-exercising to compensate for increased intake, negative narratives about gaining fat due to enjoying oneself, punishing behaviors such as limiting intake the days around increased intake. All of this energy is negative and self sabotaging, as it sends the signal to your brain that enjoying food and swaying from your regime is unhealthy. The truth is flexability with food and celebrating abundance and deliciousness is entirely healthy and needed to earn trust of your body and respect of its needs.
A day of showing gratitude, celebrating abundance of love and food, and family, can cause anxiety within those that have struggled with mind-body wellness. <cough>, writer raises hand. At 42, thank God, I can say that I am over this struggle, but I spent my 20’s and some of my 30’s dealing with an overwhelming sense of anxiety and worry around Thanksgiving, or any event where food was prolific. I am grateful for Intuitive Eating and the trust and respect I have gained for my body and its needs. Keep reading to hear how I have outgrown this negative relationship with food and the principles I employ to help my clients do the same.
Our body needs and longs for homeostasis. When you consume nutrient dense foods MOST of the time, have healthy thoughts and emotional wellbeing, and respond accordingly and healthfully to your bodies cues (i.e; days off of training when drained, staying away from foods that bloat and disrupt digestion) your body WILL BE a self healing organism. Any post Tday swelling will dissapate in a day or two, as your body has a set point and craves homeostasis. It always wants to move towards wellness. One day of enjoyment around food will not sabotage your efforts. What will is compensating behaviors that create stress and overthinking that throws you off your healthy rhythm and turns into a multi-day or week tailspin.
Stress has a negative physiological reaction with the release of hormones that will cause all that you are working against…a sluggish metabolism, adrenal fatigue, and holding onto fat. You are better off to relax and enjoy than deprive and stress as the impact of relaxing and enjoying is lesser in the long run. For you numbers people a pound of fat is 3500 calories, you are my absolute hero if you can eat your needs plus that amount in excess. You will not gain fat from enjoying Thanksgiving people. You will likely be more apt to gain fat by disrupting your healthy state with negative thoughts, compensating behaviors, and not listening to your physical cues. This also means respecting your fullness!! No need to binge or feel like you are sitting at your final meal. That is unhealthy and not respecting your bodies needs. A healthy digestive system is a sign of health and the most important thing to prioritize when wanting to become and stay lean. Clogging it up will only work against your efforts. The food will always be there. Relax and enjoy. The gut and digestive system have over 500 million neurons that are directly connected to your brain. Eatimg under stress, clogging your digestive system, overeating sugar, heavy fats, and hyper-palatable foods send the wrong signals to your brain. When you feel out of control with eating, addicted to sugar, and stressed over food it is likely the result of the messages your gut signals to your brain. It can also work in reverse, when you are stressed and anxious, your brain sends signals to your gut resulting in bloat, disease, digestive dysfunction, and fat gain. As you can see, a healthy relationship with food and your body is a must if you want sustainable wellbeing.
Prioritizing your gut health with live enzyme foods (raw fruits and veggies), healing fats, probiotic foods and enzymes, and healthy behaviors, thoughts, and activities will give you your biggest return on investment with your looks, health, and relationship with food. Employ the intuitive eating strategies of:
- rejecting diet culture and narrative
- honor your hunger
- make peace with food
- challenge the food police
- respect your fullness
- discover the satisfaction factor
- honor your feelings without using food
- respect your body
- exercise for the feeling
- honor your health
Also exercise on Turkey day because you are celebrating your abilities, wanting to cash in on some endorphins, and will be resting and enjoying and need a sense of accomplishment to balance out the day. The following day, use that energy to sculpt and create beautiful curves or thicker muscles by strength training!! Cardio will not cash in that stored energy as effectively and beautifully as strength training will, due to the energy pathway tapped into when you lift weights. Excess food is stored as glycogen in your muscle. Repeated contractions of heavy weight will reduce your glycogen storages by 25-40%. Leaving you more room to enjoy and store up for a better workout tomorrow. 🙂
First Pic: Stress, Deprivation, Compensating Behaviors, and Meal Plans. Second Pic: Intuitive Eating Baby