“This holiday season (actually, all seasons) I ask you NOT to work out to punish yourself for what you ate.”
During the holidays, it may seem impossible to avoid toxic messages about “working on” the festive food you ate or “cutting off calories” in the new year. But these feelings can often lead to disordered thoughts and habits around food and body image.
If you are tired of hearing these harmful holiday beliefs, Anna Victoria is launching the script this year. In a recent Instagram post, the founder of the Fit Body app encouraged her followers to adopt post-holiday workouts as a way to feel “strong and energized” rather than a way to “punish” your body.
Victoria said her post-holiday exercise regime is about using the “fuel” of her festive indulgences “to have a killer workout” – and she is reminding her followers to approach their own workouts with the same positive and flexible perspective.
“Exercise because you love how exercising makes your body feel,” she wrote in her post.
Victoria’s motivational message comes just weeks after a scientific review published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggested adding PACE labels to foods to show how much you would have to exercise to “burn” what are you eating. After reviewing 15 existing studies comparing the use of PACE labels in menus or food packaging with the use of other labels or without labels, the researchers found that, on average, people tend to choose low-calorie options when faced with food. PACE labels instead of traditional calorie labels or no food labels.
While the intent behind PACE labeling is to help people better understand calories, deciding whether a “worth” food is not just a matter of counting calories. “It’s possible that two different foods have the same amount of calories and contain varying amounts of the essential nutrients your body needs to function properly day after day,” said Emily Kyle, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N. “If we’re just focusing on calories, we’re losing the nutrients that matter most.”
Also, thinking of food as something that should be “earned” or “canceled” by a workout can be detrimental to your overall relationship with food and exercise, Christy Harrison RD, CDN, author of the upcoming Anti Diet book, told us. a recent interview. “Labeling food as something that needs to be tackled through exercise creates a dangerously instrumental view of food and physical activity that is a hallmark of eating disorder,” she explained. “… In my clinical experience, and as I have seen in the scientific literature, dividing food into calories to be denied by exercise puts many people on a detrimental path to compulsive exercise, dietary restriction and compensatory binge eating.”
These proposed food labels, as well as the food and exercise messages you will surely find on holidays, “reinforce the idea that exercise is simply a counterweight to calorie intake or that someone should feel guilty about eating,” Kristin Wilson, MA, LPC, vice president of clinical extension at Newport Academy, told us earlier. “This can lead to increased anxiety about nutrition and health and may contribute to disordered thinking about diet and exercise. It may result in the manifestation of an eating disorder, exercise compulsion and mood disorders.”
So if you have extra time off during the holiday season when you “should” go to the gym, remember Anna Victoria’s message: “Think about how amazing you’ll feel AFTER your workout – how strong, energized and empowered you are.” ‘ I will feel. “