Monday, November 24, 2014

Don't Choose Macros Over Memories

Okay I'm going to try my best to not make this sound like a rant. But...this was really bothering me. Pretty much the couple days right before Halloween and then all day on Halloween, I kept seeing all these little charts about what kind of exercises you'd have to do to burn off a single little mini piece of candy like the twix or snickers. People even started talking on the radio about it. This is what they said, "You might want to think twice about reaching for a mini twix once you know how many burpees you'd need to do to burn it off." And then everyone would groan and grumble because they wanted to eat the candy but felt like they shouldn't.

Honestly, it all made me mad.

And I'll tell you why.

This is exactly the type of mentality that should not be promoted towards food. I'll tell you what, on Halloween night I ate a Reese's pumpkin, mini twix, mini snickers, and hot apple cider. And it fit my macros. Which means, it was all perfectly fine that I ate that. Even if it didn't fit my macros, it's only one night! I was going to enjoy a piece of candy.

It doesn't matter if you follow macros or not, you're allowed to have a treat every once in awhile. Eat the stinkin' candy! I do not want to look back and realize I was worrying about macros over making memories.

This is why I'm trying to get myself better. I work hard every day to get myself to that point where I could go somewhere and enjoy myself with my friends and family. I don't want to be analyzing every bite that goes into my mouth, worrying if it fits my macros or not, trying to calculate how many burpees I'd need to do to burn it off. Yes, I'm not there yet but I'm so much farther along than compared to last year.

If there comes a time where I have to choose between my macros or my family, I don't want to give a flying hoot about those numbers! There are times where we are allowed to let go and just enjoy being alive. At the end of my life am I really going to say "Wow, I wish I hadn't eaten that piece of candy 25 years ago. It really messed everything up."

In 10 years, God-willing that I have kids, I don't want them to see me stressing over food. If I have little ones in my life, I don't want them thinking "Well, Mommy doesn't eat the candy so maybe I shouldn't either." No, I want to set a healthy role-model because I don't want them growing up thinking that they constantly have to be worrying about food or how their bodies look. I want to show them balance, and the peace that it brings.

It just really made me mad because thinking twice over food like that leads to feelings of guilt. Guilt leads to fear, and fear gives power to food that it shouldn't even have in the first place.

I've been in that place where I gave food ALL THE POWER. And it sucked. It sucked big time.

Okay, yeah, you probably don't want to eat like 30 pieces all at once but enjoying a few pieces here and there isn't going to harm anyone. It's not going to completely derail all of your hard work. If you have a few more than planned, don't sweat it. Tomorrow is a new day and you can get back on track.

I just hated the idea that somewhere out there, someone saw that chart, and ended up feeling guilty because they ate a piece of candy. Then, they felt the need to work it off by doing extra exercises or depriving themselves. They grew afraid of the terrible horrible things that the candy was going to do to them. Make them gain weight, bloat up like a balloon, wreck their entire progress etc.. This whole process led to fear of that candy so that next year when Halloween comes around, they'll be terrified to eat it. So they won't, and they'll be stressed and miserable because food is controlling their decisions.

How do I know this? I was there. This is the type of cycle that got me exactly to where I shouldn't have been two years ago. I'm not saying that it will happen to everyone or that a chart like the ones I saw is exactly how it starts, but the point of this post is that thought process is not healthy.

Food is fuel. It only becomes something more than that if we make it something more than that. If we make it out to be the enemy, the bad guy, the root of all our problems.

Well, let me tell you that it's not. Food is our body's best friend and what we need to survive. It's only when we give it the power of fear that food starts to become seen as the enemy.

And don't even get me started on the whole working it off thing. Working out SHOULD NOT be a punishment for your body! Again, I've been there. I completely lost my passion for running and working out when I was restricting because it became a punishment. It was the absolute worst so don't force yourself to do burpees if you have one mini snickers! If you hate burpess for crying out loud, don't do them. Do. what. makes. you. happy!! Whether that's running, lifting, yoga, pilates, kickboxing, swimming, ultimate frisbee. It's about you and what you enjoy to do.

I just couldn't believe my ears when people were trying to guilt-trip me over the radio. I understand that they thought they were doing some good, but coming from the standpoint of a past history of unhealthy eating habits, I only saw the damage it could do. As soon as I heard that a little red flag popped up and I thought "no, no, no please tell me you're not trying to make people feel guilty for eating one piece of candy."

That's the thing. The whole debacle was over a single piece of candy. Just one piece.
Let me take that thought one step further.

Here are some examples:
1 mini snickers has 5.5g carbs, 2g fat, and <1g protein
1 mini twix has 6.7g carbs, 2.3g fat, and <1g protein
1 mini milky way has 6g carbs, 1.4g fat, and <1g protein

In terms of macros, going over 5-6g on one day is practically negligible in the big picture. There are some days where I don't hit my grams spot on and I might be a little over on carbs or under on fats. It happens and a variance of about 5g is fine. Which means, who cares how many jump squats it takes to burn off a mini reese's cup?

And if you don't want to go over on your macros or just don't even count macros in the first place? It's totally fine to plan ahead, knowing that you'll be having candy later, and say to yourself "I know that I'll be having some candy later or a treat so maybe I should eat lighter during the day". I do this every time that I know I'm going to have a small cheat meal or a guesstimating day. I keep my protein high, carbs moderate, and lower on the fats. I don't feel deprived at all but rather if I know I'm going to have a cheat, all I do is skip my morning peanut butter (yes, I have peanut butter multiple times a day) and substitute one of my more carb-heavy snacks with a higher protein one. That's what I did on Halloween and look at all the fun foods I still got to eat guilt-free!

Planning for cheats or guesstimating is easier said than done so I'll probably do a post on it in the near future but the point is, it's totally possible! It's also totally fine to just say heck to guesstimating and know that you want to count that treat as a cheat. Fyi cheats and guesstimates are two different things in my opinion, again I'll do a post on that.

Okay, so I totally failed at not making this a rant but it's something I wanted to get out there. I also understand that there are people who may not be at the point where they can enjoy a piece of candy or can't stop at just one piece. You might still be finding your balance and aren't yet to a point where you can enjoy a day free from the numbers or stress. Don't worry, loves, I was there last year. That mental process takes a lot of time to heal, and even now there are days where I struggle with keeping that balance. This was the first Halloween in three years where I actually allowed myself to enjoy a couple pieces of candy!

So I'm not saying that you have to go out and force yourself to enjoy that piece of candy. I know better than anyone that you can't do it until you're ready. All I'm trying to say is that fear promotion of certain foods is not healthy or that you have to "work off" what you eat. I know I sound like a broken record and you're all probably all at the point of "SAM PLEASE STOP" since I say it 4059028904 times a day in my posts's about balance.

With the end of my giant rant, please do me a favor guys. The next time you're eating a mini snickers just go ahead and enjoy yourself. Oh, and don't you dare do a single burpee :)

...unless of course you like burpees. But let's be honest, who does?!

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