5 healing wordy images in loving memory of my beautiful little Neko-chan.
Calories in < Calories Out = weight loss
How many times have you heard this grim equation?
Look, you can’t argue with physics – it’s true, you need to consume less calories than you burn in order to lose weight. But the Calories In & Out debate is only a small part of the overall health equation.
Protein > Fat > Carbs
In the weight loss equation, protein fares slightly better than fat which fares slightly better than carbs. ie – people who got the majority of their calories from protein were able to lose & maintain more weight than those on fat or carb rich diets.
But don’t fall into the trap of thinking carbs are evil. In his fantastic book, In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan shows that historically each main component of food has been vilified at some point. While these days everyone seems to be terrified of carbs, in the 90s it was fat, and in the 50s it was protein.
You do need all three macronutrients in your diet. Your brain requires glucose (from carbs) to function; some vitamins are only fat soluble (so you need fat in your diet to absorb them); and protein helps build muscle (so you don’t shrivel down to a skeleton).
Eating X calories ≠ Y hours of exercise
I bet you’ve seen a ton of calories vs exercise equations. They go something like “eat a Mars Bar and run on the treadmill for 3 hours”. The only thing these equations are good for is understanding calorie density. Food manufacturers have managed to condense massive amounts of calories into tiny tasty morsels.
From an evolutionary perspective, to get the same amount of calories from a Mars Bar you probably would have had to eat the entire wildebeest yourself.
So understanding calorie density is important.
But to then think the only way you could eat anything is to hold a mental (or physical) calculation of how much exercise you need to do in order to burn it off is a waste of your time.
Your body is an incredibly complex organisation of 50 trillion cells all working together to keep you alive, conscious, safe and content.
The amount of body mass (which includes organs & bones), the amount of lean muscle mass, your hormones and your genetics all play a part in how many calories your burn just by sitting reading this blog. Let alone how many you burn while you’re exercising.
Exercise = BIG PICTURE
Ya gotta look at the big picture.
Exercise gives you a TON of benefits that far outweigh just burning off your food. Increasing lung capacity, cardio endurance, and building lean muscle mass are all obvious and long touted ones.
Moreover, it helps you be able to run for the bus, carry the heavy shopping up the stairs, pick up a child, play in the park with them, it gives you emotional resilience so you can comfort a friend, increases your libido (wink wink nudge nudge) and lifts your mood.
In fact exercise was the Number 1 factor in improving wellbeing across a huge cross section of studies. Check out this amazing animation called 23 and 1/2 hours by Dr Mike Evans.
Food + Do + Positive Attitude = Good Mood
Personally, I prefer this equation for sustainable health.
Eat wholesome, nutritious food that brings you joy.
Do a type of exercise / form of movement every day that brings you joy.
Have an attitude of gratitude.
Over to you? Do you have any health equations? What do you think of counting calories?
A very special welcome to The Attitude Revolution if you are visiting from Destination Wellness & Wellbeing.
This site is dedicated to helping you change your mind about your body with heartfelt and practical strategies, so you can start loving who you are and the body you’re in.
Everyone is totally unique and no-one except for you truly understands what is best for you, and your highest good. So these strategies are designed for you to connect to your inner truth, unlock understanding and help you do a 180 degree turn towards love and joy.
I hope you enjoy your time here and that you’ll join the Attitude Revolution. You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. And so you never miss an update, subscribe for weekly transmissions delivered straight to your inbox.
ps - Thank you Dani Pepper for your amazing website and your beautiful post.
This isn’t a real post. It is complete navel gazing. But I needed to write from the heart.
Today I am grieving. Today I am heartbroken. Today I lost my beautiful cat.
Compared to the many greivances and suffering in this world, the death of a pet seems small. But my partner and I loved her, and I know she loved us. We all had a very special bond. She was our furbaby.
She possessed many qualities which I aspire to. She was intensely curious, actively playful, very gentle, and lovingly affectionate.
We named her Neko-chan (which is Japanese for kitty-cat). We rescued her from the RSPCA when she was 11 months old in February last year. So I know that for at least half her life she was loved and taken care of. I think she was grateful to us for that, and I am grateful for the joy she brought to our daily lives.
These are the very small ways I am trying to cope with the very sudden loss.
This pain has very much triggered my desire to binge like crazy and numb myself with sugary sweetness. I’m trying hard to find other ways to comfort myself. If you have any other tips or strategies on how to cope with loss, I’d love to hear them.
Again, apologies for the self-indulgent post. I will write a real one soon.
Thank you for understanding.
An Attitude Revolution original inspired by the movie “HappyThankYouMorePlease”
Whipped into shape. Ripped. Cut. Chisled. Sculpted. Smashed.
Think about all those words for a second and imagine that this was really happening to your body.
Horrible thought. Let’s get rid of it immediately.
So why is this kind of terminology, this vernacular so rife in the health & fitness industry?
I, for one am sick of it!
Exercise is NOT punishment for eating “bad” food. It is not the antidote to laziness. You do not need to be whipped into shape.
Intense exercise is fine. Feeling a litle tired or a bit sore after a workout is fine.
Using vicious language to motivate yourself or others to exercise is not fine.
“What? No way! If I do that I’d never go to the gym and then I’d be fat and lazy”.
Yep, I’ve heard that voice too and guess what? That voice is a liar and I’ll tell you why.
When you use fear and anger to motivate yourself, after a while one of two things happen:
i.You become demoralised and stop trying anyway. Hello self-fulfilling prophecy.
ii.You rebel and quit. Dammit, you’ve become a prophet again.
Fear and anger take away your power. And the second you’ve lost your power is the second the countdown begins to resentment or apathy.
Both are absolute joy-suckers and neither sustain motivation.
So how do you do the 180 on motivation for workouts so you can feel good, face them with joy, and keep at them forever?
1. Get clear about your purpose for exercise. Ensure that it is for your highest good and nothing else. So ask yourself, how do you want to feel because of exercise?
The conversation might go a little something like this…
Q. Why are you doing this workout?
A. To lose weight.
Q. Why do you want to lose weight?
A. So I can fit into that skirt I like
Q. Why do you want to fit into that skirt you like?
A. Because it’s a relief to wear something that fits.
BINGO! You want to feel relief. This workout will bring you relief.
Q. Why are you doing this workout?
A. To tone my abs
Q. Why do you want to tone your abs?
A. So I look hot in a bikini
Q. Why do you want to look hot in a bikini?
A. So feel at ease when I’m lounging by the pool.
HUZZAH! You want to feel ease. This workout will bring you ease.
2. Make that mood your mantra.
“I workout to feel at ease” “I workout to feel at ease” “I workout to feel at ease”
3. Use kindness, delight & gratitude.
Drop the horrible language. Now. Find a word that is completely opposite to your favourite workout word. For example, if you want to “look cut”, flip it to “looking defined”.
Just before your workout, think of a place that brings you utter delight. That beach from your honeymoon. That cosy chair by a roaring fire on a chilly winter’s night. That amazing holiday. Breathe into that memory and embody that delight.
During your workout, use gratitude. Rather than look at your legs with disgust while you try to chisel them into perfection, be thankful that your legs are able to carry you with strength and dignity wherever you go.
After your workout, thank yourself for taking time to bring fresh oxygen to your brain, lungs and muscles. Thank your 50 trillion cells for working together for your highest good – to keep you alive and kicking.
These 3 steps have helped me immensely to transform my workouts into a pleasurable time for me to nurture my body and move with joy. I hope these steps have helped you too.
Let me know, is “whipping yourself into shape” something you’ve struggled with? Do you have any other tips to share about making workouts enjoyable? How funny is that photo?!
Yes, beginning to ride a bike is tricky. It’s wobbly and slightly terrifying and you are relying on someone much larger than yourself to hold you steady while you learn.
But you’re not really learning to ride a bike. You’re transitioning between not knowing how to ride a bike (really easy) to knowing exactly how to ride a bike (also really easy).
My trainer once told me “Strength is a skill”.
When I’m showing a client how to do an exercise for the first time, the first response is usually “What?! I can’t do that!”
make them do it they give it a go.
Their form is terrible; there are usually a few wobbles and a furrowed brow; and one particular client of mine had a very cute habit of poking the tip of her tongue out while she was concentrating. As a trainer, I’ll have to make some adjustments, coach them through while correcting their form, and reminding them how to breathe while they do it. And after a while, lo, behold – they manage to squeeze out a few reps of fantastic form, and prove to themselves they can do it after all. Ta da!
While the client is integrating all this complex information of movement, form, breath, balance and control, their brains are wiring together new neural pathways. With repetition the pathways become stronger and thicker, making it easier to recall exactly how to perform the exercise next time. (That’s why you never forget how to ride a bike).
And the more I think about that statement “Strength is a skill” I realise that I can apply that to so many areas of my life. Everything is a skill and I can choose to unlearn old ways and form new pathways.
I can create the patterns of my desire through mindful repetition.
Choosing to eat wholesome food that I like can be tricky at first. I’ve built up patterns of either eating
a) food that does not serve my highest purpose but tastes amazing;
b) food that does serve me but tastes like shredded cardboard.
So as I transition to my new pattern, I need to consciously choose and reinforce this message “I choose food that tastes good AND feels good”.
There is a coffee shop near my work that sells amazing banana bread and delicious gluten free bread. When I go to get my mid-morning coffee, I have a choice. Do I choose the squishy, oh-so-tasty high GI banana bread laden with gluten (of which I am intolerant) and that’ll I burn through in an hour? Or do I choose the delicious gluten free pumpkin bread, lightly toasted with fresh avocado and a sprinkling of salt and pepper that will fill me with sustained energy?
Each choice is equally delicious. One choice will bring me pleasure, but not joy.
Each time I consciously choose the food that tastes good AND feels good (it’s the gluten free bread with avocado btw) I strengthen a pattern of my desire.
Over time, this pattern becomes easier and easier.
And after a while, lo behold – I’m choosing yummy nutritious food without
obsessing over it even thinking about it and I can go about my day. Ta da!
What new pattern will you choose? Got any mindfulness tips? Do you have a cute concentration habit? Share in the comments below.
I highly recommend you watch the short video because it’s hilarious!
If you’re reading this in a place where a blaring video might not be so appropriate, this is it in a nutshell.
It’s a clip from “What about Bob?” and Bill Murray is chanting “I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful” whilst looking completely petrified.
Positive thinking is great – no doubt about it. But lying to yourself or trying to force something that you just ain’t feeling, is foolish.
At the end of the day, if you feel like sh*t, just chanting repetitively isn’t going to bring the revolution you’re really hoping for.
The answer lies in your emotions. When your head (thinking mind) and your heart (feeling mind) are in sync, magic happens. Seriously.
Of course our thoughts influence our feelings, but feelings also influence our thoughts. Luckily for us, our thinking minds and feeling minds are intrinsically linked through memory.
So if you’re feeling stuck in Wah-Wah land and you want out, here’s a simple tool to help you do a 180 to get you the hell outta there and get you thinking, feeling and doing great things.
Roll up, Roll up to see The Magnificent, Delightful, Mind-Bending Magic Trick!*
1. Breathe. Deeply.
2. Think back to that time when you felt absolute delight.
3. Notice where you feel it in your body (For me it’s a spine-tingling energy-zinging-between-my-heart-and-eyes kinda feeling)
4. Let the memory dissolve but keep that feeling spinning around in your body.
5. Focus on the one body part that feels the most energised or refreshed (for me it’s my eyes)
6. Breathe a sigh of relief and say “thank you”.
You have just internalised delight and you can conjure that feeling at will just by focusing back onto that body part that holds the feeling of delight.
*Impress people at parties with it, or just use it whenever you want to feel good
The Attitude Revolution Decree is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Spread the message, but please, link back to us so more comrades can join!
This is our decree. This is what the revolution is all about.
Taking the first step of love. Not the squishy, sparkly, gooey, doe-eyed love. The love that says, “I’m worth it”. The love that picks you up, gives you comfort and strength. The love that only you can give yourself, and then go change the world with.
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