The last time I wrote about why my dogs are my fitness heroes, I talked about how they’re always motivated, and exercise for joy, not for calorie-burning.
This time I want to talk about their adorable yet irritating tendency to beg food from anyone they meet. This includes their ability to deploy their beseeching eyes and convince almost anyone that they’re on the brink of starvation.
But my poor dog training skills aside, one new lesson I am trying to learn from these beasts is that hunger is not a reason for celebration (though they do admittedly often see it as an emergency). There’s this trap that I fall into entirely too often, particularly when I’m busy (though the frequency of this state of busy is itself an issue for discussion), which is to eat far less than I know I should, mostly because of poor time management. Now, this is a pretty common problem, and here’s some ways that people like me talk about it:
“I know I should have, I just didn’t have time to eat lunch today.”
“There just wasn’t a break between classes and things just had to get done, so I just couldn’t eat before training.”
The problem, though, isn’t just the skipped meals. It’s the fact that secretly, humblebraggily, I’m proud of having skipped them. This pride is a holdover from a mentality that calories are bad (they aren’t). But being secretly proud of your skipped lunch should make as little sense as being secretly proud of your skipped workout, because both types of activity (eating and exercising) are important.
For one, the quality of my training definitely goes down when I haven’t eaten enough. Though I don’t get hangry like lots of people – it’s more like… hinconsolable. And in case you haven’t tried sobbing your way through a circuit, I can assure you it’s not recommended. Especially given that said sobbing usually takes place in front of my partner, who works in the fitness industry, and can’t stand calorie-counting, weight loss based approaches to exercise, or his girlfriend tearfully attempting to wall ball.
Food is great. We don’t function well when we’re lacking in it. And we probably shouldn’t take pride (even secret pride) in things that are hurting our overall well-being. Especially if the only reason we’re taking pride in these things is because of an unhealthy relationship to food and eating.
So here’s the official recommendation from the canine fitness coaches I live with.
Don’t skip meals if you can help it. And if you can’t help it, don’t view it as somehow beneficial or a bonus calorie deficit. Oh, and if you forgot to pack lunch, maybe there’s a friend who might be persuaded to share.
5 thoughts on “Canine Fitness Coach: Don’t Celebrate Your Skipped Meals (Guest Post)”
Great post. I used to know skipping meals was said to be bad, but until I got into health and fitness I didn’t know WHY. It had never occurred to me that some people may claim it as a badge of honor having skipped meals. But I can see how the thought process could work – “yay for me, I got through my day on less food. I’m a step ahead!”
I relate heavily to this post. I have been struggling in the return to school/work routine to remember/have time/organize myself to eat. I’m happy to say this is distressing me more than it used to, if that makes sense. Also, dogs. . .:)
I used to think that when I got old (like 50!) I would be so over the diet mentality. So many women have lost the ability to listen to their bodies–to honor their bodies by eating well. I make an effort to be aware of my hunger (or lack of it) but in a busy world it can, indeed, be a struggle.
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