You are What You Eat, But Don’t Stop Exercising…Exercise Has Its Benefits Too!

 In Awesome

Life is a series of ups and downs—in dress sizes.

Well, if you are like me, that’s definitely the case. So, with that in mind, I’m inviting you on my wellness journey. Follow me and learn why it’s not all about food or fitness. It’s about both.

It all started when I was a young girl. First, it was finish everything on your plate. If you were over for dinner, you’d find that the portions in the Vitola household of 5 were of epic size, the ones you’d see on The Flintstones when Fred would be eating something like a Brontosaurus Burger. The next key indicator that I was doomed emerged when I got a little older. My Mother cooked every night, but for my family it was never enough. When we all sat down, it was a land grab for food. We all piled mountainous amounts of food on our plates—and quickly. We didn’t leave a kernel for the taking. If you thought you might want an extra helping of mashed potatoes, you’d better take it before someone else did. The result: We put food on our plates that just couldn’t fit in our stomachs. And because we had to eat everything on our plates, I was condemned to consume it all. My stomach just grew and grew.

Sure I can throw shade and blame my food problems on others, namely my parents, but there comes a time in life to stand up and take responsibility.

That’s what I’m writing about. An athlete my entire life and a huge fan of fitness and exercise, being outdoors and just moving has been the counterbalance to my enormous appetite. It worked when I was a teenager and into my early 20s. But I soon figured out that formula was flawed. Unfortunately, being active is only one small part of the equation.

I sought some advice – some of which wasn’t so helpful. Basically what I heard was, eat fewer calories. Or, it was eat fewer calories than you burn. Burn? But do we really burn enough calories during exercise to aid in weight loss?

Herein the problem. The answer…no, not really. As research makes clear, trimming calories from your diet is the most direct route to a smaller dress size. “It’s much easier to cut 500 calories than to spend an hour in the gym burning 500 calories every day,” says Timothy Church, M.D., Ph.D., director of preventive medicine research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University.

Truth is, you are what you eat and you’re not what you produce in the gym, at fitness class or hiking up a mountain on the weekend. According to mountains of research, the gym is not the place to lose weight. In fact, some say exercise can sabotage weight loss goals. It can make you hungry and in some cases it can lead to a slower metabolism. But, exercise is great and has amazing paybacks as well. It can aid in improvement for musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, pulmonary diseases, neurological diseases and depression.

According to Aaron E. Carroll of The New York Times, “Exercise has many benefits, but there are problems with relying on it to control weight. First, it’s just not true that Americans, in general, aren’t listening to calls for more activity. From 2001 to 2009, the percentage of people who were sufficiently physically active increased. But so did the percentage of Americans who were obese. The former did not prevent the latter.” The New York Times

However, it’s also worth noting and another point for exercise is, according to Women’s Health, nearly 10 million American women have diabetes. Achieving a healthy weight through diet and exercise is the strongest defense against the disease, but physical activity has a slight edge. Active muscles gobble up glucose from the blood for fuel, which helps keep blood-sugar levels stable.

While eating less seems to be the answer to losing weight, exercising has some profound benefits. In order to achieve overall wellness, you need both! What I learned through some very hard lessons, eating right goes hand in hand with exercise. I have achieved my best results focusing on both at the same time with an equal amount of commitment.

The point is; people need to focus on holistic health. Although being overweight is a major issue and people do need to focus on losing weight, wellness is much more than what you see on the scale. You need to focus on inner and outer health. Fueling your body with good, clean food, will make you feel better. For example, omitting sugar and carbs from your diet could improve your stamina, skin and even the way your digestive system functions.

Don’t just eat well, be well and live well. Top to bottom, inside and out and all around. I know it is not easy. I am right there with you, but once you’re on the journey, you will feel proud.

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist and certainly not a doctor. I am just someone, like you, on a wellness journey for life, helping everyone I can be the healthiest and happiest person they can be. If any of the stories I share or the advice I give helps even one person, I am glad.

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