26 July 2012

Looking at things differently

Sometimes you just have to stop. Take a step back. Then change the way you look at something. You can ask my students, I am the queen of looking at things from a different perspective. I am always pointing out other ways to look at things. Yet, I don't do this in my own life. I have one point of view and I stick with it. Sometimes I don't even realize it's my point of view and yet I stick with it anyway. Let me explain.

I started working out years ago. Years and years ago. I was 19ish, that would put it in 1978 or so. My first workout routine was on a record. A vinyl record. There was a booklet that described the moves. It was an hour long. Looking back now I realize that some of those moves were unbelievably bad but that's another story. The point is - it was an hour long. That made an impression on me that I didn't recognize at the time. That created an idea in my mind that workouts had to be an hour. It took me years and years to break that idea. Around that time, now remember I was 19 this will be important, I discovered that if I worked out - for an hour - I lost weight. I didn't change my eating just added in a workout. As I said, I was 19. With the metabolism of a 19 year old I could have done anything at all and I would have lost weight. Stopped drinking soda. Stopped eating lunch. Stopped eating dinner. Anything at all and I would have lost weight. That is just how a 19 year old is built. But what happened in my mind is that working out - for an hour - and losing weight became inexorably connected. Clearly I could not do one without the other.

Fast forward a couple of decades and it starts to dawn on me that working out is not necessarily about burning calories but setting me up to eat right. I discover that if I work out in the morning I am more likely to eat better during the day. Still, that idea of an hour is hard to shake and now I want all my workouts to be a sweat fest. Hmmmmm... Recently though, I've been reading a lot of articles about food and exercise. Studies are finding that working out is not all it's cracked up to be. You can not outrun or out sweat overeating. Diet is much, much more important in losing weight then working out. Unless of course you are on the Biggest Loser in which case you spend 7-10 hours a day working out and that will help you out sweat a lousy diet. But they have to change their diet before they leave because in the real world, no one has 7-10 hours a day to workout.

So here is my new perspective. I'm not going to kill myself with workouts. I'm going to do what I like - biking, running, weights. I'm going to work on getting stronger and healthier and I'm going to spend more energy on my eating then my workouts. It's kind of a catch 22 situation. If I eat better, I'll feel better and want to do more. If I do more, I'll feel better and want to eat better. Win-win....

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