Nov 042015

I read an article recently,  If You Find Joy in Exercise, You’re Less Likely to Look for Joy in Food, and the title really stuck out for me. There was quote that I found really spot on and I wanted to share it here:

It concluded that those who perceived exercise as a fun activity (and not just a ton of effort) were less inclined to compensate with junk food after their workouts.

These findings appear to support something that Precision Nutrition refers to as “hedonic compensation,” wherein if people feel like they’ve been deprived of pleasure in one place they will compensate by seeking it elsewhere (i.e. “I had a tough week, I deserve to relax and have a beer.”)

I agree! I found that once I started eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis, I didn’t want to “ruin” it with junk food. My taste buds changed. My cravings changed. Instead of wanting a king-sized candy bar, I was leaning towards fruits and vegetables. It was a slow shift in my brain, it surely did not happen overnight, but once I started to FEEL BETTER, I started to make BETTER CHOICES. (Body Love Week: Structure, Perfectionism, and Authentic Living)


Then I came to a point where I looked at junk food as what it was: junk. It wasn’t fuel for my body. It didn’t help me in the gym. It didn’t make my body feel good. (Read this post: Healing Your Body.) And the more candy I ate, the more I craved it. But when I cut it out, those cravings went away. Is there anything better than fresh fruit in season? Yum, I want those raspberries!


The above quote talks about “hedonic compensation” — if you deprive yourself something you seek it elsewhere, you want it more. While I was cutting out junk food from diet, I wasn’t DENYING myself treats entirely. Like I’ve written about many times before, living a life in moderation is what helped me STAY SANE while I lost 110 pounds. I never felt like I was denying myself things I wanted because I ate certain things in moderation. After I lost the weight I continued with that method and it worked. For 7 years I kept the weight off.


Now let’s talk about exercise. So many people have told me that they wished they could lose weight but they hate exercising. (5% of Americans Exercise Daily) I think if you rename it and not look at exercise as a punishment you won’t dread it. Here are a few posts I wrote awhile ago about this topic:

I Hate Going to the Gym

How to Exercise Regularly

Learn To Love It

Overcoming Exercise Obstacles

Too Busy to Exercise

I think the biggest mistake people make when starting to work out is this: they pick something they don’t inherently enjoy. If you pick an activity you don’t enjoy, force yourself to do it, hate every minute of the activity, you start to think “I’ll reward myself for this workout with ____!” Pizza, ice cream, whatever! Fill in the blank. It’s easy to sabotage your efforts with a “I deserve this! I worked out!”

If you hate running, don’t run. Start with walking. If you hate the treadmill, join a running group at a local running store–they are usually free and super fun! And running outside is so much better than being stuck running in place.


Try the elliptical. If you have aches and pains in your body and it hurts to work out, try swimming. Trust me, when you are overweight or obese and your body hurts, swimming is AMAZING.

If you hate the gym–don’t join one! There are SO many options out there. Get a bike trainer and ride your bike in front of your TV in the comfort of your home. Read this post by Michael: How to Watch More TV! :)

Try hiking. There are hiking groups you can join. Meetup is a great place to find new friends, join activity groups and I know in my area there are TONS of hiking groups!

Do you have a dog? Join a local dog training group that includes fitness! A friend of mine posted about a group here in Portland that I’d love to try someday. A quick google search has shown that there are a ton of groups like this all over the country. See if there’s one in your area.


This is not to say that you CAN’T find joy in food. There is so much joy in food. I love baking and am learning to love to cook. There is nothing more rewarding than trying a new recipe and it’s a success. I love cooking for other people and throwing dinner parties. I like creating appetizers. Don’t we all love going to a nice, new restaurant with a group of friends and sharing good food and a bottle of wine? But is it really JUST about the food? Isn’t more about the process? The people? The socializing? For me, the joy in food is sharing it.


What do you think? How do you balance the joy in food with healthy eating? Have you figured out a fitness method that brings you joy?

Jun 232015


 “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh


Recently I read an article that I posted to my Facebook group, and I wanted to write a little bit about it here, too. Here is that link: 5 Words to Heal Your Relationship with Your Body.

“I am enough.”

There’s a difference between striving to improve yourself, and beating yourself up for not being perfect. I fall into this trap sometimes. Sure I want to better myself, I want to lose weight, I want to be fitter and stronger and so on and so on…but at what point is it enough to just BE?

In the past 6 months I’ve been trying to lose some weight that I gained, was a little successful and had some setbacks, and numerous times I’ve had people ask me “what if this is just where your body is naturally?” I’ve pondered this and while I am not discounting that, I do think I can lose a little bit more. The hard part is trying to decide when to stop criticizing myself and when to accept that this is it.


I am definitely NOT compassionate to myself. Others, yes, myself, rarely. Over the years I’ve learned to back off with the gym if my body isn’t feel right. 7 years ago? I would have powered through whatever I was feeling and ignored the cues my body was giving me and beat myself up if I had to take a break. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s having enough injuries over the years that I’ve gotten better at taking an unplanned day (or week) off if my body needs it. It’s hard having compassion for yourself.

The other component of being compassionate is to silence that negative voice in your head (we all have it). Some days that voice in my head is a lot louder than other days. Recently that negative voice was very loud when I was trying on my summer clothes from last year. Having to buy a bunch of new clothes was discouraging and I beat myself up about it for days. Was that helpful? No. But turning that voice off can be such a struggle sometimes.

Positive reinforcement word Compassion engrained in a rock

Positive reinforcement word Compassion engrained in a rock


This was a hard lesson to learn but I’ve learned it. I think what really taught me this lesson was injury. I used to take my fitness level for granted. I’d forgotten how hard I’d worked to get there. It’s not like I went from 250+ to athlete overnight — IT TOOK TIME and EFFORT. And yet I still forgot how hard I worked to get there.

When I suffered from Runner’s Knee it changed my life and my outlook on things. It was very discouraging and depressing and it was the longest injury I’ve ever had. Two years. Two years of specialists, physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, X-rays and MRIs. Nothing sucks more than not knowing from day to day, or even hour to hour, if your body was going to work right. What helped heal me was going to the Warrior Room. It got me back to running and I was never more grateful or happy in my life. I worked hard to get back to being able to run without pain and I do NOT take running for granted anymore. Even if I can only run 1 mile, it’s something and it’s better than nothing and I am glad for it.



At some point, life needs to be about more than the number on the scale. It should be about living life, spending time with loved ones and enjoying things every day.

A friend was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer and the first thing I thought about with the news was that nothing else really matters in the big picture: just relationships and loving life. Not measuring your food religiously every day, or going to the gym to slog through a workout you aren’t feeling, or stressing about stupid shit…

Going on a road trip with a friend and sharing the memories; sharing an amazing dessert with your spouse on your anniversary; cuddling with your fur-babies on a lazy Sunday morning; sitting on the deck on a hot summer night listening to the frogs chirp and just relaxing. These are the things that matter, not being a size 6 in jeans. It’s a shame it often takes something serious or tragic to remind ourselves of what really matters.

This is work I need to do on myself. Love myself more. Be more kind to myself. Be more understanding. Accept where I currently am. It’s okay to want more and to want to be better, but not okay to belittle myself because I’m not there yet.

Hope everyone read the article and found something in it that spoke to them, too.