Exercise is Not a License to Overeat

Maruchy Lachance is president of Running Ninja!, a lifestyle brand for runners by runners. Running Ninja! offers a wide variety of apparel and gifts for runners to keep you happy and inspired while you’re on the run.

A couple of years ago I noticed that I had put on a few pounds. The 10-pound weight gain snuck up on me and I only noticed it when I could no longer wear my jeans comfortably. In spite of my commitment to health and fitness, I had somehow fallen off the wagon. So, I had to retrace my steps and see where I picked up these extra annoying pounds.

The first thing I looked at was my exercise routine. Not only was I still on track, I had actually added a mile to my weekly run, so it was not for lack of exercise. I then looked at my meal choices and, for the most part, I was still on track there. So where did these pounds come from? I got my answer a few days later at the office.

It was around three o’clock when a co-worker walked in handing out plates with slices of birthday cake. I automatically reached for the cake and made a mental comment to myself, “I am running more so I can afford this indulgence.” It was at that moment that I realized I had not just indulged on this particular day, but I had been using the exercise excuse for weeks.

Exercise is not a license to eat whatever you want, and those extra 10 pounds were proof that my hard work was being undermined by my unconscious eating habit. The experience allowed me to retool my thinking when it came to adding more exercise and food to my routine. Although the body would require more food to fuel my extra physical activity I needed to get those calories from grains, fruits, vegetables and proteins – not cake!

I assure you that I still indulge on frivolous foods now and then, but now I only do it in moderation and not to supplement an extra mile on the road.

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