You Can’t Out-Run A Bad Diet

Hi friends, happy Friday!

How was the week that went by? Hope all is good at your end. 

The covid cases are soaring again with a new variant, though thankfully, the symptoms are much milder now for everyone. Hope the numbers would start declining soon and this pandemic would disappear, forever! 

Today’s post is about a myth so prevalent in the society and more so, in fitness-conscious people (because they at least do some form of regular exercise regularly!) that it would take hundreds of posts like this, to even change the mindset just a bit.

And the fact is – One can’t outrun or out-exercise a bad diet!

Many of us make this mistake and in past, I used to do it too…workout to burn calories. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a bad thing necessarily. It is important to keep a tab on our daily (or weekly) calorie intake as well as creating a calorie deficit to maintain or lose weight. So, burning calories to stay in a negative, is crucial.

The problem starts when:

  • We try to create the deficit through unhealthy dietary choices
  • We eat unhealthy and then try to take our regular exercise routine ONLY as a mean to burn calories

The thing is, for optimum health and a normal blood report, one needs to eat well. One just can’t NOT eat healthy and think that they will burn all the bad/excess diet through the workouts next day and stay fit or even, healthy. Doesn’t work like that!

Why? 3 reasons why.

  1. We need to work a lot to burn calories from junk food. The exercise-cost (exercise needed to burn junk-calories) is pretty steep and bluntly put, not many can achieve it easily, on a consistent basis.

Do you know that a burger with fries and cola (even diet cola) would be around 1200 calories and to burn that off, one would require more than 208 minutes of walking?? Can you?

A plate of 8 fried momos with mayo…more than 1000 calories…just run for about 104 minutes, to “burn it off”, would you?

  • Exercise should be a consistent, gradual process. One that is enjoyable at least to some degree…to stay healthy and to be able to move. It is not a punishment for eating food.

In the whole weight-management or weight loss game, the contribution of exercise is quite low – about 20%. Rest 80% is your diet.

Exercise should be a non-negotiable part of our daily lifestyle no doubt, but for countless other reasons (strength, functionality, moods, joints, healthy aging, better sleep etc.) and not just burning calories. That 20% can be the game-changer for various reasons!

  • This ‘exercise-cost’ mindset destroys our relationship with food and our own body/mind 

It is a risky attitude to develop. It can result into eating disorders or excessive exercising which are both huge complications, on their own. It can become a psychological trap for the person.

Food is all about essential nutrients, fuel for our body and even enjoyment. Punishing ourselves for it, is never a great idea!

Also, it would be worth keeping in mind that though fitness is the next ladder to health…it necessarily doesn’t mean one and the same thing. The blood-work and mobility are the ultimate judges!

Now, that we have some hard facts on hand, how about we start trying to keep both the two things separate? Food is food, nourishment for our body and exercise is super-important for mobility, functional strength (strength for carrying day to day activities) and of course, burning that stubborn fat!

Hope the post today resonates with you and helps you understand that finding exercise cost of the junk food that we eat frequently (not once in a week kind) is not going to work at all!

Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace

Intuitive Eating: The Key To Good Health

Hi friends, happy Friday! How was the week that went by?

My blog last Friday was part 3 of the Weight Loss series and the third tool that I shared with you was Diet Composition. Am happy that so many of you found the whole series useful.

When I was writing it, I was not sure what I should write. I did not want to talk about food in terms of protein, carbs and fats. Everybody’s requirement is different…and each nutrient is super-important!

Always counting these macronutrients is not necessary unless you have a specific goal or seek disease management. Food is way more than these macronutrients. If you are eating clean and mostly whole foods…with a lot of variety in your diet in terms of grains, veggies and fruits, you are sorted for life.

And am glad that no one asked me about how much protein to consume every day and how much fats. There are general guidelines for that too, yes. But am glad that some of you asked me to write more about intuitive eating instead. I mentioned intuitive eating in my last blog and if you missed the post, you can read it here.

You can also join me on Instagram here, if you wish so:

Now, coming back to today’s post and intuitive eating, let’s see what it is.

In my opinion, it is a part of staying mindful package. Mindfulness about when we feel hungry and when to stop eating is intuitive eating. It sounds super simple, isn’t it? Unfortunately, most of us struggle with this part the hardest. However once achieved, it stays lifelong because our body refuses to accept it any other way once it gets used to mindful eating, or mindful consumption in general.

In my experience as a Nutritionist and a Health Coach, intuitive eating is a very hard part to reach but it’s the key to everything that we want. It is easy for me to tell you how much protein and how much fats and how many calories to take…and you would be able to apply it immediately. The hardest part is staying mindful about eating and that needs to come from within us.

What Is Intuitive Eating?

It is basically a philosophy that asks us to listen to our body and the hunger signals it sends. The body knows the whole process very well (it is a very, very complicated process, trust me) and as a baby it is very common to see. A baby cries when she/he is hungry and is happy when her/his tummy is full. Simple, isn’t it?

As we grow up and in the whole process of growing up, we start faltering and sometimes get too busy to be mindful of our own body.

Intuitive eating is also known as “anti-diet eating” as we are not restricting ourselves from eating anything but eating ONLY WHEN our body asks us to…by sending hunger cues.

I often also get my cues in terms of cravings. Last month, for 7-8 days what I kept craving is buttermilk! I like buttermilk but I am not crazy about it. That week I went crazy for buttermilk….I had almost a litre of buttermilk everyday! I didn’t think about it much. If my body is telling me to have buttermilk then I shall have buttermilk !

Is It Easy?

For many of us, it is not. It is a whole re-learning process and we need to understand how to listen to our body and trust it.

We need to trust our body…and the body needs to trust us back that we are not going to starve it or deprive it of nutrients (even carbs and fats), when it needs.

Getting this whole equation in place is a delicate job and requires effort on our part. It isn’t easy.

How To Work Towards Intuitive Eating?

First we need to understand that when our body craves a particular food, it can be:

  1. Physical Hunger – The body has a very neat system in place for almost everything. When it needs nutrients for replenishment or energy-requirement, it tells us explicitly to eat. Our stomach growls, we become irritable when we do not eat soon and we feel weak. Internally, lot of things happen too.
  2. Emotional hunger – Many of us eat when we feel anxious or because our favorite foods bring us comfort. The whole reward system that our brain creates, to feel happy and release happy hormones…brings momentary happiness often followed by varying degrees of guilt or even more anxiety!
  3. Lack of certain nutrients – We crave sweets when we cut carbs too much. We might also are low in certain vitamins when we crave sweets or chocolates. Many a times, it is our brain reward system in action too, so we need to know it’s not that, first.

There are a few principles of intuitive eating as the concept is very old. Various books have been written and researches have been done in past, since early 1970s. The key principles of this approach to food are simple but require a good effort on our part:

  1. Not being scared of food
  2. Eating as per our health requirements without being scared of eating. One day eating healthy and next day eating pizza, won’t change anything. It needs consistency but to know that one meal won’t make a difference any which ways
  3. No cutting of entire food groups from diet
  4. Choosing cleaner and healthier versions of food
  5. Do not go on fad-diets or starve yourself
  6. Eat when the body tells to without much delay
  7. Stop as soon as you are full. A very important part is to understand the comfortable fullness when eating
  8. Enjoy the food. Sit down to eat, eat without distractions and chew slowly enjoying every bite
  9. Learning to separate our feelings from food. The hardest part in my opinion! This can be achieved by channelling our brain to other activities that bring the same pleasure that we otherwise tend to derive from food
  10. Staying physically active. This helps in so many ways and it is sad to see it so underrated
  11. Loving oneself. If something worries us, we can take corrective action. However, we need to be proud of this great gift, this great miracle called a healthy body, given to us. It is so precise, so well-made that it inspires awe and definitely not shame. It is not the body’s fault if we ignore its health, for any reason.

It is important to eat intuitively for our physical health and mental/psychological health, both. It is a sustainable lifestyle habit and it improves our self-esteem. Not that it is easy but then which good thing in life, comes easy?

Hope you found today’s post interesting and useful.

Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace