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A Closer Look at Our Link Between Exercise and Diet

By Sandy Schroeder

Do you automatically note how much workout time will be needed when you reach for a slice of pie? This can become an ingrained habit if you are always fighting a few extra pounds.

I have lost and gained 10-15 pounds in an up-and-down routine that has been going on for years. In the process, I boost my exercise as I modify my eating to drop the extra pounds. A whole ritual has developed, which tends to muffle the natural urge to exercise.

Where the Danger Lies

The inevitable connection between exercise and diet may rob us of the joy of exercising just for the sheer fun of being out there. When exercise is seen as a way to drop pounds, it may become a must-do assignment. If you remember dancing, biking, or running just for the enjoyment of it, you know how much of a change it can be when it becomes tied to weight loss.

A 2018 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found almost half of American adults were trying to lose weight between 2013 and 2016 and over 60 percent of those people were using exercise linked with diet to make it happen.

At the same time, the fitness industry continues to promote the idea that exercise reshapes the body. This can lead to eating disorders, exercise addiction and compulsive gym routines. 

How to Break the Link

If you catch yourself automatically linking diet and exercise, it may be time to take another look at everything.

Start by Eating Better

You might begin by redoing your shopping list to emphasize your favorite healthy foods. Nutritionists tell us true maintainable healthy weights often happen when we simply eat healthy meals without detailed calorie counts. Gradually moderate eating wins out and healthy weight becomes easier to maintain. Striving to eat whole foods with fewer ultraprocessed foods could make meals more delicious and less fattening too. Cooking from scratch may take a little more time and cost a bit more, but the results should be a lot more rewarding in taste and weight control.

Rethink Your Exercise Routine

The best next step might be giving some thought to the exercise that you actually enjoy. Instead of automatically plugging in regular gym workouts, you might really enjoy changing things around to run more, try a new yoga class or sample a dance class. When fitness centers around things we actually like, exercise feels entirely different. Then we might look forward to daily walks with a buddy or a special weekly yoga or tai chi class. When our choices are actually fun, they are a lot more likely to happen.

Wherever you are with weight, exercise and food, give some thought to separating them and benefitting a lot more.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Atlanta, Ga.

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