Reasons why you don't NEED to go to the gym on Black Friday

Two weeks ago, I talked about how I got "tricked"into buying a gym membership during the holidays.

I"ve also talked about motivation for going to the gym. If your goal is weight loss, you're just not likely to go. That's behavioral psychology, bitches.

Hey, the holidays can be a great time to hit the gym. It's an awesome way to get away if you're having a frustrating time. It's something to do when you're feeling lonely or stir-crazy. Exercise also releases endorphins. It's literally a way to feel better if you're angry about how your Aunt burned the Brussels sprouts.

BUT........Thanksgiving is  just one of those times when it's too easy for trainers to talk about "burning off" your food. It's just a hot mess of "fat talk" and "preventing weight gain."

In case you are feeling anxious about the Black Friday gym rush, here are some reasons that you can take a break. 

1. Gyms make money off you not going. 

In 2014, All Things Considered revealed how gyms need the people who don't go to subsidize people who do. For example, Planet Fitness has 6500 members, but if all 6500 of those members actually showed up, they would likely be breaking fire code. 

If you're not likely to go anyway, subsidize your self-care, not the diet industry. 

2. Built-in breaks are good for you. 

My old swim coach used to say that you could ramp up your training for up to 12 weeks. After that, however, you might be hurting yourself rather than helping. 

Since this was over a decade ago, the best source I could find to corroborate this was Bodybuilders do what they call a "deloading week." This actually enhances their performance. 

Maybe Thanksgiving & Christmas could be your "deloading" weeks. 

3. Health is not just about EXERCISE.

Arianna Huffington wrote a whole book about this. In her book Thrive (and on other places on the internet) she explains the importance of rest. She points out that Americans leave "175 million vacation days unused." She writes, "61 percent of Americans confess to working while on vacation."

Not only are Americans not taking their vacation, but they're also working on vacation. And vacations are good for you. 

Sleep and rest and love and family are good for you, too. So, if your gym routine is getting in the way of those healthy pieces of your life, it's okay to skip it. 

4. Diet and exercise are not preventing weight gain in the long run. 

People often talk about spiraling out of control whenever they're off their normal "routine." 

Weight gain after periods of "routine" might be a signal that you are restricting too much. There's actually more correlation between dieting and weight gain than dieting and weight loss. 

5. If you're not restricting, set point theory will protect you from ballooning. 

Genetics play a big role in determining your weight.  You might have noticed that your weight doesn't fluctuate too much even when you diet. I know I've gained and lost the same pounds over and over again.

I've talked about set point theory a lot.

But if you still don't believe me, listen to this scientist explain it

Set point theory means that your body has a certain weight it wants to be at. If you eat extra stuffing, your set point will keep your body at homeostasis within a certain range. 

6. Gaining a little weight might keep you warm in the winter. 

If you're into seasonal foods, why not be into seasonal weight gain? Our ancestors  wanted a little extra to keep them warm during cold winter cave nights. Winter foods tend to be heavier. They tend to be more "caloric" and lower in fiber. You might even find yourself craving something with extra fat when it's a really cold day. 

If you were a caveman living in Scandinavia, you'd be hella grateful for that extra turkey fat. Maybe you can save a little money on not buying cashmere this year. 


 I can't emphasize this enough. Your weight is not an indicator of health

So what if you're not getting swipes to the right because you gained a free sweater's worth of weight? That person doesn't understand economics and they're shallow. 

So, put on your sweater, skip the guilt, and skip the gym if you want to. 

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Don't be "tricked" into joining a gym

I hope you all had a happy and haunting Halloween. 

Speaking of Halloween hauntings, the upcoming holidays that follow Halloween often spook us. 

A candy overload on Halloween leads into a turkey explosion on Thanksgiving. We latke and Christmas cookie our way into a Chrismahakwanzakah feast. Just in case that wasn't enough, we top it all off with a night of drinking champagne before we ring in the new year. 

Once we finish wearing sexy ghost costumes, our "healthy lifestyles" fly into a tailspin. 

It doesn't help that everybody is repeating this too. I swear every local news story covers "holiday weight gain." It's usually right after they show you the "best" cranberry sauce recipe. 

When I was more disordered, this dread of food that I was going to lose control over was extremely intense. 

I remember one New York Sports Club (NYSC)  advertisement that was scarier to me than any zombie. I can't remember the exact words. It made it sound like failing to join their gym was sealing your fate for holiday weight gain. 

Frankly, it was brilliant advertising. It hit me in all the right places. It tapped into my innate fear at the time (gaining weight). It made me want to do something about it (join a gym).  More than anything, it celebrated the most eating disordered thought: 

 "I'm going to be better than everyone else."

That's fucked up, right? Well, it's at the heart of a lot of eating disorders. It's part of the reason that you can't hear it when people say, "Don't worry about it. I'm eating the apple pie."

Iliza Shlesinger talks about this in her comedy special on Netflix. She says, "It's not enough to be skinny is it? It's not enough to be thin. You have to be the thinnest out of your friends."

So, when your sweet and loving friend offers you a slice of pie, you think. "Well, sure you look good. But, I want to be thinner."

I'm pretty sure I bought a NYSC membership that year. And that sucks. 

Not just because they messed up my credit card on file (I ended up overpaying for my 3 months of membership). It sucks because people shouldn't be afraid of gaining weight (especially during the winter). People shouldn't want to be better than other people. 

If you want to go to the gym, that's fine. If you don't want to go to the gym, that's fine. 

You can still exercise without hating it

You can still EXERCISE without hating it. 

Last week I talked about why you hate going to the gym. Focusing on weight loss, turns out doesn't actually help you go to the gym. 

 Focusing on the process instead of the end goal can help a lot

"Being healthy" or "just feeling like you can walk a mile without getting winded," is still an end goal. 

Which is why "lifestyle change" doesn't necessarily work either.

Here are some tips:  

1. Think about what you ACTUALLY ENJOY doing. 

Go ahead make a list of 20 things you like doing. It can include Netflix. Or crafts.  I'll wait. 

*Pro-tip: Nobody is reading this list except for you so you don't have to write things that you think I want to see.

2. Does anything on the list include some form of movement? 

Movement doesn't have to be running, hiking, or swimming. Is it stretching? Is it standing? Is it having sex? 

Boom. You like exercise! You're welcome. 


3. Is there anything you like about "exercise?"

Making the switch from going to crossfit 4x/wk to just gardening and going for walks can be scary. 

Especially since we feel like we SHOULD exercise. 

So, let's say you're one of those people that thinks you're going to literally die if you don't go to the gym.  

There's also hope for you. Just because you HAVE to go doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. It doesn't have to be a torturous experience. 

Now write down a list of things you like about going to the gym. 

Again, I'll wait. 

Does it clear your head? Does it change your mood? Do your muscles feel all juicy and awesome? Do you see your friends? Do you get the runner's high? Do you finally get some time to listen to your favorite podcast or Discover Spotify playlist? 

For example, I like ellipticals. They are silly and I can usually comfortably watch television while on one. 

So, there you go. 

Instead of exercise. Have a ball.

Has being an athlete made you love your body or hate it?

Has being an athlete made you love your body or hate it?

If you've been reading this blog the past two weeks, you might be thinking, "Noel, you're crazy. How can being an athlete be both good and bad? You are saying opposite things." 

Well, silly, like most things in life, context matters. 


Why being an athlete is good for your body image

Why being an athlete is good for your body image

Athletes are the best. 

To quote Drake: 

"You know a lot of girls be thinking my [blog's] about them, but...{athletes], this one's for you" 

You've heard me talk about how water polo has been awesome for my body. I also think that athletes have a good shot at a healthy relationship with their bodies in general. 

Even though, being an athlete can cause a few other issues with your body, it can also be really great. 

Here's why being an athlete makes you good at being body positive. 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin