Sunday, September 11, 2016

Chicken and Egg

So, my wife and I were getting food and, while we were eating/heading home, I had a revelatory moment. It hit me that many of us have the perception of the relationship between Diet and Exercise backwards.

Instead of dieting comparative to our daily level of exercise, we often seek to exercise comparative to our dietary intake.

The more I think about it, the more backwards it sounds. That's like saying "I put two extra gallons of gas in the car this week, so I need to drive it more."

As long as we use exercise as a means to try and undo our bad dietary habits, we're never going to make any serious effect on our health. As long as we keep the attitude of "I'll just do an extra couple of laps to make up for [those] doughnut[s]," we will always be stuck in a losing battle. As a society, we are far too sedentary to eat the way we do.

____________________________________Side Note_____________________________________
Now, I need to pause here. I must admit that I am exhibiting a clear example of "Do what I say; not what I do," because, remember the food I was eating in the car - it was Taco Bell (not to mention the regrettable number of doughnuts eaten at a conference this morning). So, keep in mind that I need to work on this myself.

So, instead of viewing exercise as a tool to undo bad eating habits, how should we be eating?

Well, we should be eating like professional athletes

That may sound odd, especially for those like myself who are mostly too busy to fit a regular workout in, but it's true. When we think about how athletes eat, it becomes very clear that athletes eat to fuel their bodies. They make sure to eat enough proteins, carbs, and fats to meet the demands of their sport. After all, they are using up a lot of energy that has to come from somewhere. Similarly, for those who rarely see the inside of a gym or who don't set apart time for physical activity, we need to eat enough proteins, carbs, and fats to meet our metabolic demands. The difference is, our demands are far less.

And, let's face it: eating less is far easier than exercising more.

So, let me ask the burning questions:

  • Do I really need that 12oz ribeye or would a 6oz cut be better?
  • Do I really need that one/two/four (cough cough guilty cough) doughnuts?
  • Do I really need to pack my plate that full this Thanksgiving?
  • Do I really need that mid-afternoon snack?
If you're anything like me (rugby 2-4 hrs/week; gym 0-4 hrs/week), the answer might just be, "No," and, you know what, it's okay.

So, come join me as I re-evaluate my own dietary intake and tune it to match my output