Fitness Is Not a Punishment

By Neghar Fonooni
Neghar Fonooni
Neghar Fonooni
November 23, 2016 Updated: November 23, 2016

“I have to work off all the food I ate yesterday at Thanksgiving dinner!”

(Please, no.)

Indulging around the holidays is quite common, and while I do encourage intelligent and mindful indulgences, we don’t always stay aligned with those intentions, do we? Sometimes, we overindulge. Sometimes we feel (gasp!) guilty over what we’ve consumed. Sometimes we end up with a hefty dose of holiday bloat. 

It happens. To all of us.

We can have a holiday feast without feeling guilty about it.

And, of course, I will continue to encourage awareness around consumption, and avoidance of indulgence to the point of discomfort and detriment. But I will also discourage the urge to rush to the gym and “work off” said indulgences. In fact, I will strongly caution against this type of behavior, because ultimately, it’s destructive.

Because the truth is, we can have a holiday feast without feeling guilty about it, and one or two days of nutritional debauchery aren’t going to magically ruin weeks or months of intentional and mindful eating.

Because fitness is not a punishment—it’s a privilege. Bodies are meant to move. Life is meant to be fully lived. And food is meant to be enjoyed.

We absolutely should go to the gym, of course. You know how I love to smash sweats, attempt feats of strength, and get as sweaty as possible. I will never, ever tell you not to work out.

(Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images)
Move and move and move, because it’s what you’re meant to do. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images)

But let’s workout because we love our bodies and we love to move. Because we are grateful for the ability to do so and vow not to squander that gift. Because we want to be our strongest, most physically independent and capable selves. Because fitness makes us feel powerful and purposeful–not because we’re punishing ourselves for our food choices.

Movement is not a punishment; it’s what makes us feel alive. Remember this as we enter deeper into this festive season. Hold it in your heart and feel it in your bones–and move and move and move, because it’s what you’re meant to do.

*Neghar Fonooni, fitness & lifestyle coach, entrepreneur *Founder: Eat, Lift, & be Happy