Thursday, January 16, 2014

Come Over Here and Gimme Some Suga!

Happy New Year and all that, I've made some resolutions.  They're very flexible this year, and so far they've been great at guiding me.  One is to do something every day to improve myself (physically, spiritually, financially... just in some way something out of the ordinary).  The other is to consciously serve someone (go out of my way to do something selfless for someone) every day.  It's really made me examine my life, and it's been great so far:)

On the same track as resolutions... since I got braces, I've been a little more conscious about how much sugar I eat. I have always been a sweets kinda girl, not so much a potato chips, or even soda, thank goodness. I just love treats! I've been aware that I should be more public health:) and stop eating so much sugar, because it's not healthy for me, but despite previous attempts, I've never really cut back.  My weight's never been an issue, and it's hard to motivate myself just by "knowing" it's healthier.  I thought I'd be better about it now having braces, but I really haven't been.  The last few days though, I've been testing my willpower.  When I reach for a sugary treat, I've stopped myself a few times.  When ever I think to myself, "This is the last one..." I stop and don't eat it.  It's been really exciting!  To actually see that I can exercise my willpower and make improvements.  I mean, it's only been a few days, and I know I'll never get to the point when I no longer eat sugar, but it's already boosted my feelings of self-efficacy.


I think one reason it's been easier for me to decrease my sugar intake is getting a gym pass because I've been working out a lot more lately.  I studied public health, and my area of interest is everything to do with weight, eating, body dismorphia, society's stigmatism, etc.  

People sometimes ask me, which is more important, eating healthy or working out?  The answer isn't what they want to hear, but it's really "Both."  They are two wings of the health airplane.  Neither is sufficient.  Together, neither has do work as hard.  

But.  If we're talking about weight and it's strictly math, then I'll tell you: diet is more important.  I say this because it's far, far easier to control calorie intake than to work out.  Eat one chocolate chip cookie, it takes 20 seconds.  But it takes about 30 minutes on the treadmill to burn those calories off.  Wow, right?  Daily caloric intake can vary by literally thousands of calories, but we can (sustainably) only change how many calories we use up by a few hundred by working out.

But human beings aren't that mathematical.  We don't eat for math.  We eat for emotion, pleasure, society. And working out helps control the appetite.  Some say they're hungrier when they work out.  True.  BUT they have fewer cravings.  Because while hunger, or the physiological need to eat is increased, appetite, or the psychological desire to eat is decreased.  So you might eat more at meals, but you won't be binging or eating as many treats. And your higher muscle mass will burn more calories.

Exercise bathes the brain in healthy and happy neurotransmitters.  That is why exercise is always encouraged for people dealing with psychological issues.  When you get that stimulation, you need it less from other sources.

So, maybe a better way of saying it is that intake is more important than output when it comes to weight. However, intake is best managed by a) proper intake habits and balances b) working out. So, yeah, both are essential, their's just no getting around it:)

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