It’s Ok To Eat

One of the things that has been keeping me so busy the past couple weeks is the start of a 3-month corporate fitness challenge that I’ve organized and am overseeing.

One of the most amazing things about these challenges is watching people who don’t normally incorporate fitness into their lives get excited about joining a team, working together, and setting goals for themselves. It’s seriously so inspiring and one of the things that makes me really love my job.

Another thing these challenges do is bring my attention towards an entire group of people that I don’t always encounter on a regular basis.

My days are typically filled with clients who are excited to work out with me as a personal trainer, classes where people regularly show up, and workouts with like-minded people who push themselves to do better than they did the last time. I understand that not everyone’s life revolves around fitness, but in my line of work that’s a majority of who I encounter day to day.

This challenge allows me to work with people who come from a different background. I forget sometimes that people need to start with the basics and work their way up. I forget that not everyone knows basic moves such as squats and push ups since a majority of the people who come to me for training already have some type of background in fitness.

Losing weight and getting back in shape is hard and exercise is only part of the equation. Nutrition plays such a huge role, which can be overwhelming to add into the mix if you already have to worry about increasing your activity level.

The other night, I had a talk with someone after a class which gave me the inspiration for this post.

She was concerned that she might have to double up on classes in a day because she wasn’t as dedicated as she was the previous year. She was now in a relationship and one thing they enjoy doing is going out to eat. She was afraid that because she wasn’t being as diligent with her eating habits, she was somehow failing herself in this challenge.

I’ve had my fair share of both exercise and eating issues. One of the reasons I became a personal trainer was so that I could use what I’ve gone through in that arena to help others find a more realistic view of health. When I hear people talk about their own issues and how they use food or exercise as a way to make themselves feel worse, I immediately tap into those feelings I can empathize with so well.

I get a little angry. I’m not angry at them; I’m angry at society. I’m angry that I went through the same cycles for nothing. I’m angry that this woman is in a happy relationship, yet derives unhappiness from an activity they enjoy doing together.

Here is my take on it. There is a constant push and pull battle for women when it comes to appearance, exercise, and food. Perhaps men too, but I can only speak from my experience. We think we need to look a certain way or that a certain weight will make us happy and socially acceptable.

We are told through both overt and covert messages that we can’t have too many desserts (or pizza or snacks or whatever). If we do, we should feel guilty about it. We should shame ourselves for a lack of self-control. WE WILL NEVER FIT INTO THAT DRESS IF WE HAVE ANOTHER COOKIE.

Food is delicious. Food should be celebrated. The only person that matters right now is you. Are you happy? Are you content with your life? If you’re not, figure out what you need to change and change it. The more confident you are and the more you learn to love yourself, the less those external messages can influence you.

Have a cookie. Have two cookies. Just be smart about the foods you eat. Don’t buy a dozen donuts every day, but certainly have one if it’s something you enjoy. We have one life and it’s too short to waste by telling ourselves we should have eaten broccoli instead of ice cream.

As I shared on Instagram the other day, I know it’s not a simple thing. It’s years of self-training that needs to be undone. For some, there’s a deeply emotional component involved with food. For me, I reached a point where I wore myself out with the constant back and forth. There was so much more living I needed to do without wasting time telling myself how many dried cranberries I was allowed to eat.

I hate that we need to be told that one workout a day is enough. I hate that we feel like we need permission to take a day off or enjoy a coworker’s birthday cake. I just want all of us to learn to be confident in our decisions and do what’s best for us in any given moment.

For any of you struggling with anything similar, PLEASE remember — it’s ok to eat.

Thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud.

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20 Comments

  1. March 23, 2017 / 5:47 am

    You are also dealing with people in a corporate setting–many might be very Type A, super driven, detail focused. They know balls-to-the-walls. They are going to need help finding the balance and moderation.
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…Currently: One Hell of A WeekMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 25, 2017 / 9:59 pm

      I knew you’d appreciate it!

  2. March 23, 2017 / 9:59 am

    I love this post and so timely for me as well. I went to see a nutritionist yesterday for the first time and couldn’t believe what an emotional experience it ended up being. She really reminded me of detaching the good/bad from foods and stop putting so many limiting factors on what I eat. It’s such a waste of mental space!

  3. March 23, 2017 / 10:53 am

    Man. Yeah. As I sit here and beat myself up for eating some chocolate AGAIN when I’m not working out like I would normally (even though I do work out at least 2x a week, plus physical therapy, and I know hobbling around on these crutches all day and dealing with all the things is actually burning a fair amount of calories)…….And I’m old. I’ve been around the block a few times. You’d think I’d be over it by now. Well, I CAN say that I’m close because the chocolate guilt only lasted for a sec because that ish was GOOD. But yeah, self-love is so important. And so is loving each other. Sharing messages like this and actually MEANING it, and LIVING it. Not sure those glossy photoshopped images in magazines are going to change anytime soon, and I’m fairly certain some sort of food is ALWAYS going to be considered taboo at any given moment, but if we show love to each other and lift each other up, instead of tearing each other down, it makes it easier to show ourselves that same love.

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 25, 2017 / 10:00 pm

      It can definitely take awhile to break those thought patterns. And yes – no guilt for delicious chocolate haha

  4. Ashley
    March 23, 2017 / 11:13 am

    I could not have read this at a better time. I was feeling so down on myself after seeing my weight at a doctor’s appointment this morning and immediately went to I can only eat veggies for lunch for the next few weeks to get this under control. It’s a constant struggle. Thank you for the reminder that it is okay to enjoy foods you love in moderation, and I need to remind myself that we are all more than a number on the scale.

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 25, 2017 / 10:02 pm

      Absolutely! The scale can be such a pain. I don’t ever weigh myself but had to for this challenge I just finished. I now weigh more than ever but have a lower body fat percentage bc I have more muscle. It’s all about how you look and feel in your body!

  5. Tammi Lewis
    March 23, 2017 / 11:32 am

    Nice post. Well said.

  6. March 23, 2017 / 12:01 pm

    Ah-mazing post!! I feel like it has taken me some time to just get over it. Get over how society pushes so many ideals on all of us. Get over the guilty feeling that comes from eating “what I shouldn’t be eating”. That feeling of enjoying myself when I want to but getting right back on the train of eating well and exercising.

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 25, 2017 / 10:02 pm

      Absolutely! Find that balance girl

  7. March 24, 2017 / 5:06 pm

    Great post! We have come a long ways in a lot of areas, but the societal pressures on women haven’t changed much. It’s okay to eat–YES! Great message!

  8. March 28, 2017 / 2:20 am

    I love the post really inspirational tips.I love to eat cookies and other sugary diet and I know this will really gonna increase my calories, but I do workout every day at my home and I have seen a great result in me.Thanks for the post.

  9. March 29, 2017 / 8:49 pm

    I am so late to comment, but I LOVE this post.

    I come from the Deep South where we plan our lunch at breakfast and discuss our dinner options at lunch! 😉 Food is a big part of my life and is something to be enjoyed. Do I feel better when I eat mostly nutritious foods? Of course, but I realize an extra cookie or a slice of birthday cake is not going to derail me.

    I still have moments of “I’m such a pig for eating all that candy” or “why did I have to eat a second helping of X?” but I try to talk myself out of the negative thoughts immediately. Thanks for sharing.
    Catherine @ A Cup of Catherine recently posted…Blissful Eats Chunky Monkey Waffles with 2-Ingredient Nutella SyrupMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 1, 2017 / 4:18 pm

      Thanks for sharing Catherine! I’m sure coming from that type of food culture can make it tough too w such a focus on what you eat. Good job on working to get rid of the negativity!

  10. March 31, 2017 / 10:37 am

    This couldnt have been more spot on. <3

  11. April 4, 2017 / 9:34 am

    Hey Erin, I really like what you wrote in this post. I always hear comments that you can’t be fit if you eat and that you need to eat very little to be fit. I agree with you that you need to chose your food and eat smart. And if you work out, there wouldn’t be a problem. Angel
    Angel recently posted…Best Inversion Tables 2017 – Buyer’s GuideMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      April 4, 2017 / 8:48 pm

      Thanks for reading angel!!

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