Monday, July 16, 2012

OMG, Brownies.

So I have a weakness.


Guh, I love them. Any baked good with chocolate in it really but brownies in particular are a favorite treat. I can happily stuff them into my face till I pass out in a diabetic coma. Imagine my surprise then when I came home and found a box of these on my doorstep.


I was pretty sure I'd died and gone to heaven. What wonderful person would do this? I lovingly ripped the box apart to get to the goodies inside and found a lovely card in there too. Turns out the director of the non-profit I work with had felt I deserved a pat on the back for my efforts so she sent me this wonderful and thoughtful gift. Isn't that awesome of her?

I ate one that night and oh, I can't even describe how amazing they are. Rich, chocolately, moist. In short, LOVE in chocolate form. Most people who are trying to lose weight or get in shape would have taken one look at those brownies and hissed at them as if they were the devil themselves. "How can you eat those?!" I can almost hear people shriek, "You'll undo all the hard work you've put in!"

Wrong. Here's the thing that so many people who are dieting just aren't hearing from society as a whole: Don't stop eating food you like, just eat in moderation. I'm not going to take a brownie with me to work every single day, that would indeed cause me to put on more weight than I want, but denying myself ALL brownies ALL the time is also just as detrimental to my efforts.

Let me explain. You see, if I allow myself a brownie here and there as a treat but limit it to just ONE of them and only once every other day or so, then I have something I can look forward to and I won't feel deprived. If I tell myself "no" and then toss the brownies out, not only will God kill kittens (because he totally does that when you waste awesome brownies), I will also set myself up for failure. I'll start to resent my diet or my working out. I'll hate the effort I'm putting in because it's keeping me from enjoying life.

This is what it looks like. It's pathtic.

Put up with that resentment toward my working out and being all healthy for long enough and eventually I'd snap. Next thing you know, I'm laying in my livingroom floor with a stomach full of Hagen Daas and a soul full of guilt. Lots of people go through this. It's an ugly cycle. It's also one you can stop.

First, you have to change how you think about working out. Dieting and working out are often seen or used as a punishment against ourselves. Why else would it hurt? We yell at ourselves, tell ourselves we're fat, treat ourselves like garbage and deny ourselves food. We would never let someone else do that to us, why are we doing it to ourselves? Stop it.

Working out is about doing something GOOD for yourself. It's about being kind to you by trying to treat your body like the amazing machine it is. You don't scream at your car and deny it gas when the tire goes flat, do you? Why would you do that to your body? Working out is just taking your body in for a tune up. It's a lot of work, it can hurt, sure, I'll even concede it sucks. Do it long enough though and you'll start seeing some major benefits. You'll have more energy, you'll get sick less, you'll breathe easier and ache less.

In short, working out is something you do because you LIKE yourself, or at least that's why you should do it, and if you like yourself, then why would you be so mean to you? Don't NOT eat brownies at all, just eat them intelligently. Have one here and there, not more than one a day, and try to use them as treats for yourself. Save them like the special moments they are. You'll find that they suddenly mean more and you enjoy them more. They will taste all the better because you don't have them every single day.

All that said, I've been keeping up with my regular work outs (weights on Mondays and Thursdays, Tabatas on Tuesdays and Fridays, with lots of bellydance and jogs thrown in) and I'm feeling pretty proud of myself. Tonight, I have my weight lifting again. I think when it's over, I'll go take a long shower, relax back with a good book, and have myself a brownie. :)

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