- » Don’t Respond Emotionally to Health and Fitness Slip-Ups SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 by NIA SHANKS
- » THE PLAYING FIELD DOESN’T DEFINE THE ATHLETE, THE CHARACTERISTICS DO
- » OP-ED: AN ODE TO BEING A BEGINNER
- » Need to Perform at Your Best? Learn to Adapt Quickly
- » A day in the life of a gluten-free guru We chat to sports nutritionist, Stephanie Lowe about her gluten-free life.
Don’t Respond Emotionally to Health and Fitness Slip-Ups
SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 by NIA SHANKS
Being consumed with guilt after overindulging, and then making extra restrictions with food for the next two days.
Feeling like you didn’t work hard enough in your workout because you were unable to improve your performance, so you squeeze in an extra workout to “make up” for it.
Feeling discouraged when the scale doesn’t budge for a week straight, so you add extra cardio to your weekly routine, and make food restrictions.
What do all of these scenarios have in common?
An emotional response.
You’ve done it. I’ve done it. Damn near every woman has done it — responded to a day of less than ideal eating and drinking choices, or a lackluster workout, with guilt or frustration. Then we make an emotionally-fueled response to those events.
“What’s wrong with having an emotional response to such situations?” you may be wondering. Well, to be blunt — a lot.
Let’s explore a real-life example of what can happen when a “bad” food choice or missed workout or stagnant scale weight is treated with an emotional response.
The Problem With Responding Emotionally
A trainee made great changes to her eating habits a few weeks ago. She decided it was time to start eating mostly real, minimally processed foods. In order to get even better results, she vowed to not simply eat mostly real foods, she was going to eat nothing but real foods. After all, if eating real food most of the time (and enjoying not-super-healthy foods occasionally and in moderate amounts) was good, then eating them exclusively was much better. (For sake of the example, we’ll call this eating “clean.”)
She managed to turn down “dirty” foods for a few weeks, and was proud of her discipline and willpower. But then, she just couldn’t take it anymore. She was craving the Girl Scout cookies that had been in the pantry for weeks, so she decided to have a few. After eating a few she rationalized, “Well, I screwed up and ate something ‘dirty,’ so what does it matter if I eat more?”
And eat more she did. She devoured the whole sleeve of delectable cookie-goodness.
Immediately she was stricken with guilt. “I was doing so well. How can I make up for this slip-up?” was her response. Her choice for an appropriate course of action was to make tomorrow’s workout tougher, and longer. And eat less tomorrow, too, to compound the damage control efforts.
You can, hopefully, see the problem; but it doesn’t stop there. This emotion-based response will soon become habit — anytime she “slips-up” or doesn’t have a good workout, her proceeding actions will be determined by emotion, not objectivity.
These emotion-based responses accumulate over time and could lead to obsessive eating habits, binge eating, and basically revolving your life around food and the gym. I know, because I’ve experienced it. Revolving your life around food, the gym, and chasing a specific body image causes the ugly side of health and fitness to rear its grotesque head. But this can be prevented if we remove emotion from how we view our eating choices, our workouts, and things like the number on the bathroom scale.
Let’s replay that scenario, but instead respond objectively, with no emotional component.
The Power of Responding Objectively
Our trainee decides to start eating mostly real, minimally processed foods. She ruins something good by taking it to an extreme when she vows to eat “clean” exclusively. After a few weeks her willpower vanishes and she puts down a whole sleeve of Girl Scout cookies. Rather than getting upset she stops, looks at what happened, and figures out why it occurred.
Here’s what she discovers:
She ended up eating a whole sleeve of cookies because she set a rigid, restrictive rule: eat nothing but “clean” foods. She realizes this was silly because there’s no way she could follow such a rule long-term. Problem successfully identified.
Discovering what led to her eating a whole sleeve of cookies, she remedies the issue. Going forward she’s not going to use the clean/dirty food labels and will instead choose to eat mostly real, minimally processed foods most of the time and will enjoy her favorite foods, like Girl Scout cookies, on occasion in moderate amounts (i.e., the diet that has no name).
She needn’t do an extra, or harder, workout to punish herself for eating too many cookies. Rather, she’s going to move forward making food choices that make her feel great, and she’s going to get stronger in the gym.
Our trainee objectively observed the scenario, what caused it to happen, and chose a simple solution going forward to prevent it from happening again. No guilt, shame, remorse, or frustration required.
Better yet, when she faces another challenge, she’ll be equipped to handle it with the same positive attitude. For example, if she hops on the bathroom scale and it reveals a two-pound increase, she won’t respond with an emotion-fueled attitude: “What the hell, I gained two pounds! Now I’m going to do an extra workout and eat less today. I must get this off as quickly as possible.”
Instead, she’ll be objective: “So I gained two pounds. It makes sense because I have skipped several strength training sessions this month and my eating habits haven’t been great. Instead of packing a lunch for work I’ve been getting fast food multiple times per week. I’ll start packing my lunch again and keep the kitchen at home stocked with minimally processed foods I enjoy, and I’ll take a protein-rich snack to work so I have energy to go to the gym after. I’ll get back into the habits that make me feel great, and I know I’ll be moving in the right direction.”
How you eat, how you work out, and the number on the scale shouldn’t have the power to affect your mood for the day. When things don’t go as planned or you get off track, don’t respond to the situation emotionally. Choose instead to do something that can help you in the short- and long-term — be objective.
As I’ve experienced my adult life, I’ve held a few different jobs and also started my own coaching and consulting business. I have worked on teams, led teams, and been mentored and managed. While “adulting,” I’ve realized that many of my most valuable assets and characteristics have come from my childhood – from my time [...]
Society teaches women to aspire for perfection or nothing at all. The solution? Graciousness and bravery.My freshman year of college, a boy with floppy hair down the hall convinced me to buy a cheap snowboard off of Craigslist, promising he would teach me how to shred. After one of the most painful days on snow [...]
IN BALANCE NEED TO PERFORM AT YOUR BEST? LEARN TO ADAPT QUICKLYOctober 27, 2016For athletes, carefully crafted daily routine and proper timing is essential for performance. Nothing is left to chance. This is why athletes need to adapt quickly to changing time zones and other external circumstances. What can office workers learn from this?by Markus Raab [...]
A day in the life of a gluten-free guru We chat to sports nutritionist, Stephanie Lowe about her gluten-free life.
As a sports nutritionist, triathlete and self-confessed cashew butter addict from Melbourne, Stephanie Lowe is passionate about the health benefits of going gluten free. Her blog offers written posts and podcasts about everything from gut health to fat loss. It also offers delicious GF recipes and Lowe’s ebooks, including Free From Gluten and Real Food [...]
If you believe sport makes you feel better, enjoy life more, helps you meet new people and form valuing communities – then sport and its role in society is not only important for us to understand but for us to explore, shape and grow.“Sport used to be something you would have on your to-do list [...]
HOW TO PREVENT ACL INJURIES AND KEEP YOUR CLIENTS ON THE COURT THROUGH CORRECTIVE EXERCISE PROGRAMMING
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are one of the most common among young female athletes occurring at a conservative estimate of 38,000 incidences per year. (1) With the cost of a surgical repair ranging between $17,000-$25,000 (2), the economic impact is significant, not to mention the long term sequela to the athlete which includes a [...]
Why Should Foam Rolling Be Used In Group Training? The Therapeutic Benefits of Self-Myofascial BY KYLE STULL, MS
Foam rolling, also known as self-myofascial release (SMR), is based on a hands-on technique therapists have been using for years. To achieve this release, a therapist would apply a low load, long duration dragging force across layers of soft tissue. After a period of time (between 90–120 sec. in most cases), through different mechanisms in [...]
With the holidays approaching, November and December are notoriously hectic months; needless to say, staying sane isn't always easy. You already know the physical and mental benefits of yoga—be it a quiet Yin session or an all-out Bikram sweat fest. And when the season has you ailing in very specific ways, yoga can again come [...]
Plyometrics training is part of any athlete’s core training regimen – jump training is what helps basketball players reach the rim, football players make it into the end zone and soccer players successfully head the ball into the goal. Not just for the athletes you train, plyometrics build up leg strength and explosive power without [...]